International hardware and software supplier to the global packaging and label industries, Esko has confirmed it is committed to remaining in the home of graphic arts, Gent, having announced the relocation of its headquarters to the new prestigious Tower Two at The Loop, a Banimmo project.
Mattias Byström, President of Esko and sister companies Pantone and X-Rite, was interviewed on the company’s investment.
How has Esko fared during the Covid-19 pandemic?
It’s clearly been a challenging year for organizations around the world and the graphic arts industry has been no different. In our core packaging and label markets, a number of consumer trends have emerged driving shifts in demand for our prepress and printer converter customers. For example, more stay-at-home consumption has increased retail packaging sales, while the hospitality sector (restaurants and corporate cafeteria) demand for packaging has fallen away. The accelerated use of online shopping and e-commerce has challenged supply chains, and we’ve also seen lots of startup companies entering the market, as well as large incumbent brands seeking new innovative pack designs to protect sales. All of these changes have resulted in increased complexity, shorter production run lengths, and reduced efficiency for our customers, if they haven’t adopted strategies to adapt.
As a global leader in delivering integrated hardware and software solutions that digitize, automate and connect brands and their packaging supply chains, 2020 has ended up being a strong year. Companies have been waking up to their need for speed, flexibility and efficiency in managing these market shifts and 2021 is also continuing the trend as new customers come on board to secure the benefits of digitization.
What has driven your decision to relocate?
We have used the past year of change and disruption to really think about our future. Digitization was happening at a fast pace even before Covid, but now it is no longer an option for companies to ignore it, if they want to retain a competitive edge. Esko has the people, the capacity, and the solutions to help our customers accelerate their digital transformation.
We’ve talked extensively to our employees in the past few months, who have been home office working during the pandemic. It’s clear that many will continue to seek flexibility of working hours and location as we begin to return to some sort of normality. Work life balance is also becoming incredibly important as the pace of business accelerates. As such, we need to create a new engaging, dynamic and flexible working environment, where our teams can connect and collaborate when needed to allow creativity to flourish.
Why are you moving now?
As we now begin to carefully plan a gradual return to office working, it is the ideal opportunity to do something new. To realize our ambition of a dynamic and modern office environment we actually had the choice: either reorganize and renovate our current offices or move to a brand-new building. As with anything, both options have advantages and disadvantages, and so we decided to move to a new office building on The Loop. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Louis Lannoo, Managing Director of Liberty Invest, for a wonderful partnership over the past fifteen years as our landlord.
Esko will remain in Gent, why have you made that decision?
Esko is historically rooted in the area. The location has tremendous strengths in terms of its geographical location, available talent pool and the number of digital and graphic arts companies in the region. We also have good collaboration with Gent University, which we value highly.
Importantly, we want to create a new modern office experience that is more than just a building. We’ve found that in The Loop, which is conveniently located close to our current site and important in retaining our valuable employees. Our people are our greatest asset, and we attach great importance to their wellbeing and job satisfaction. This new location will have a welcoming interior design based on our employees’ feedback and a state-of-the-art environment that will be highly attractive to our talent, both existing and future.
Esko is a truly international company that seeks diversity and where everyone has a place to succeed. Anyone who has a ‘can do’ attitude and wants to excel enjoys the Esko culture. We’re excited about having a blank sheet to design a superb new flexible working environment that meets the needs of our business and employees, today and into the future.