Interview with Gerardo Cerros – CEO of CMA Imaging
I met Gerardo at his amazing new offices just a few miles south of Brussels. He was pleased to show me around and tell us his story of the development of CMA Imaging and to share a few thoughts and ideas about his life, creativity, innovation and change.
Gerardo – what is your background, where do you come from and do you think that this has an influence on the way you see the world today?
I was born in El Salvador and we travelled a lot as a family. My father was a lecturer of Philosophy and was forced to leave El Salvador in the early 80’s during the civil war. We ended up in Belgium and he was lucky enough to start working for the EU in politics. We returned to El Salvador when things settled down and I began my first business when I was around 17 years old. It was using HP 3050c design jet for using to draw CAD diagrams for architecture. I then decided to return to Belgium and began working for a proofing company – Perfect Proofing and decided to take my MBA at the same time through a distance learning programme at the Open University..
How did your study impact on your thinking about work?
I really liked the learning around business innovation and change. One topic that fascinated me was the area of disruptive ideas – I consider myself a disruptive entrepreneur. I was particularly interested in the phrase – WHAT IF? and how this can be used to turn convention on its head.
At the time software companies in the proofing world were using closed systems for proofing – locked systems. To me this didn’t work for the consumer, it worked for the supplier. So I thought if we could come up with a universal solution that covered all and was really flexible and open, then surely this would be good for consumers?
This is when I started to think about creating a business, which became CMA imaging. With our first product a universal proofing paper being launched around 2006.
So recently you have built a new impressive office –
Yes, we have a 7000 sqm plot, with room for an 800 sqm office and 2500 sqm warehouse. This will easily accommodate 30 people. Plus a warehouse in the US, where we have a lot of business.
This really enables us to grow and develop our product lines. And not just in Colour management, but in other areas of Print – such as Industrial Print .
You talked about being a disruptor, what sort of vision do you have for your business?
Today, the challenge is to add value and make a difference by being innovative with new technology and solutions. We offer Colour management solutions – but it is about offering the customer a bespoke solution that matches expectations and needs. Not forcing the customer to accept a pre-ordained approach. I think the challenge of closed systems versus open systems has always fascinated me.
But I don’t want to compete with the big boys – the HP and Fujifilms of this world, they have deep pockets and clear goals, I want to solve niche problems that make a big difference.
What is your personal view of the Print industry and where it is heading?
I really believe that the print industry will start to ‘totally get’ the value of digital and that this will combine with other technologies to create more hybrid solutions. I can also see a shift towards Print 4.0, where print embraces the strength, the advantages and technological shifts of Industry 4.0.
This all points towards a work environment that is truly interconnected!
Using cloud technology ( we are already with proofing software ) , full automation with print at the heart, with mass customisation ( using digital print ) responding to on demand need.
I believe we have to design our products now to respond to this inevitable shift.
Contact Gerardo at :
NEW OFFICE: 13b, Avenue de l'industrie I B-1420 Braine l’Alleud I Belgium
T +32 2 899 89 80 I D +32 2 899 89 81 I M +32 487 613 110
Skype gerardocerros I Facebook I Twitter I Linkedin
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.cmaimaging.com
Thanks to Tim Jagenburg for the colourful image