Tuesday, March 18, 2014

ROWE Launches in U.S. in Partnership with Heavey Group

ROWE, a German manufacturer of large-format printers, scanners, and other equipment, is entering the U.S. market in partnership with The Heavey Group.

Information about Rowe’s entry into the U.S. market appeared yesterday on IRgA Today(Ed Avis is doing a fantastic job of finding news of relevance to the reprographics community!)

When I read about this on IRgA Today, my very first thought was, “wow, big balls.”  A small company, The Heavey Group, is going to go head-to-head with OCE and KIP.  (Note: I still think of OCE as OCE and not as Canon; some old habits are hard to break.)

But, as that old saying goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”  Good luck to The Heavey Group team on their launch of Rowe in the U.S.  While I hate to criticize anyone, I do think they’ve made a slight marketing faux-pas - - I think they should have called the new U.S. business – ROWE USA.

Evidently, the CEO of The Heavey Group is well experienced, having previously worked with both OCE and Xerox. Bob began his sales career during his college years working for his father’s real estate firm, JB Heavey & Co.  Upon graduating, Bob landed a sales position working for a major oil company, Atlantic Richfield.  Bob entered the engineering print industry and has over 26 years of experience working as a Major Account Representative and a Dealer Channel Manager.  The majority of his career was spent working for Oce and Xerox Engineering Systems.”

This morning, I e-mailed one of my ex-partners, from years ago, to ask him if “this Rowe” is the same Rowe that entered the U.S. diazo-equipment market back in the mid 1980’s.  Back then, a high-quality, German diazo-equipment manufacturer, and I think the name of that company was Rowe, but it could have been “Ruwe”, a different company from “Rowe”, entered the U.S. market with Budden Graphics, a well respected U.S. distributor / dealer of engineering photographics equipment and supplies.  I don’t recall what happened with Budden’s Rowe (or Ruwe) business.  I do know that Budden Graphics is no longer in business.  (Note:  Richard Budden, the CEO and owner, is, today, one of the top Realtors in the U.S.)  My ex-partner said his memory is “rusty”; he doesn’t recall the brand-name of the equipment Budden Graphics was distributing.  (If his memory is rustY, mine is rustED!)

Rowe is not an unknown.  Many of us who’ve attended IRgA Conventions in the past, have seen Rowe equipment before.  A bit more than two years ago, interested at the time in knowing more about Rowe and knowing that Rowe had a distributor in India, I sent the following e-mail to Rowe in Germany:

From: joel salus
Subject: ROWE equipment in the U.S.?
Date: January 26, 2012 1:30:24 PM EST
To: sandra.ruiz@rowe.de

Hello Sandra,

I'd like to know if Rowe sells (its large-format multifunction and printer-only) equipment into the U.S.A market.

I found a company that sells Rowe equipment in India, but I have not yet found one that sells Rowe equipment in the U.S.A.

Please advise.

I did not receive a response from Rowe (at least I don’t recall receiving a response.)

At the same time I sent that e-mail, I sent an e-mail to a friend who is the Managing Director of the largest reprographics enterprise in Central / Eastern Europe – to ask him what he knew about Rowe.  His response:

I am afraid I will not be much help here. I have never heard of Rowe and neither did Jakub. I am also not aware of anyone else using this equipment, but that probably means nothing else other than me being uninformed.
Anyway, if I find anything out, I will let you know.
One remarkable point I should mention.  My friend Roman’s company is based in The Czech Republic. Those of you who are not geographically-challenged know that the CZR is right next door to Germany.  If Roman was not aware of Rowe, that means that Rowe must do a lousy job of marketing its company and products, for how could an extraordinarily smart, savvy guy like Roman not know about Rowe?

Which leads me to “highly suggest” to The Heavey Group team that it take steps to create a pervasive, high-profile marketing program to “introduce” the Rowe brand and line of equipment to the U.S. market.  I’m certain that Bob Heavey does not want Rowe to end up being “the best kept secret.”

Competition among large-format equipment manufacturers is good for U.S. reprographers (and good for reprographers wherever they are in the world.)  Again, best of luck to Bob Heavey and his team!

Here's a link to the article on IRgA Today about Rowe:


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