Collaboration 1 + 1 = 11

Equipment Technology Group is a young company formed at the end of 2018. It manufactures laser marking and engraving machines under the GrosseMARK brand. CEO Alexander Gusev and CTO Alexander Pinchukov told how the company is actively winning Russian and foreign markets thanks to the ambitious and result-oriented young team.
Alexander Gusev
"Developing with the customer based on market demand"
- How was the company founded? Why laser machines?

- In 2017, we saw that there was a demand for laser marking of products. We relied mainly on the experience of Western companies. We visited trade fairs, studied the market, and realized that this trend was still developing in Russia. There were few offers primarily for engraving on various products, applying labels and logos.

Large companies used always to do it, but in the old-fashioned way: barcode sticker, ink jet print. Everyone is currently counting finances, every penny. Printing on a printer is not profitable: it costs a lot of money for ink per year. It is the same as buying one laser machine which you can put and forget about: it consumes only electricity, and even less than an electric kettle.

As a result, we found manufacturers of laser machines from Germany, America, and China. We carried out several deals with them: we delivered equipment as official representatives of factories, provided service support. Then we decided to go further - in our price segment (machines up to RUB 1 m), we organized the assembly of such machines in Moscow.

- Describe the production process.

- We assemble the machines like a construction set of different modules: laser source, emitter, scanner, which is responsible for the speed of information application, and - most importantly - the controller, it is responsible for efficiency - operation without bugs. This is the brain of the control board.

Before buying, the customer comes, looks at the machine live or sends test samples for marking, then we send them back. After that, we start discussing the machine configuration. We always keep seven to ten machines of different modifications in stock, so that we can assemble the right one for the customer.

- You have the top-of-the-line G-MARK1000. What is the reason for its popularity?

- With equal quality of the machine itself, software and marking applied to the products, our price is half as much as that of European manufacturers. All other models are based on the G-MARK 1000. They can be a controlled table version, can be integrated into a conveyor, or have a portable version for large items. The G-MARK 1000 is also very compact. Similar units on the market usually weigh 150-200 kg. Ours is 70kg, can be carried by one person and fits in the trunk of a car.
- Who are your main customers?

- Companies that require uninterrupted operation. For them, a laser engraver is a one-time purchase. If the device is of good quality, like ours, it can run for 100,000 hours, which is more than 10 years. And only 2-3% fail before the end of the warranty period.

One of our customers is the FBU Rostest-Moscow Russian state enterprise. So, industrial and food products are currently certified there with our laser. Quite large companies with European equity capital also have our machines. For example, they have their main office in Germany or in Austria, the share capital is abroad, but the production site - in Russia. And all these subsidiaries turn to us. These are such well-known companies as HAS Elevator, Leitz, RMA Rus, IMP PUMPS.

As for unusual clients, we are currently making a deal with a distillery. Its production capacity is several thousand bottles an hour, dozens of thousands a month. And every bottle needs to be dated. Can you imagine how fast that is? Everything has to be automated, there's no time to stop, so that's where we'll be integrating our metal laser engraver into the conveyor belt. This direction by the way is gaining momentum - the demand is growing before our eyes.

In general, there are a lot of interesting projects, we are not sitting still. Large customers want a complete solution, they want more than just marking. For example, to be integrated with the IRP system (accounting, complete analytics). That's why we add new features to our core model - the G-MARK 1000 every month.
Alexander Pinchukov
"Our difference from the competition is openness"
- Are there any competitors? What makes you different from them?

- Of course, there are. Unlike most competitors, we only rely on laser markers. There is always a temptation to expand and to put into the product line more laser machines for cutting, soldering, welding , etc. But that's how you lose expertise in every position. You can't be good experts in all machines. And we have a responsibility to our customers including customer service. If something happens to a machine, the speed of replacing parts is very important, because a day of downtime is a big loss and the costs go up.

We go the long way with our clients, reputation is key for us in this regard. A simple example: we are currently working with Quant from Zelenograd. It bought, installed and commissioned one machine. Two months later, we took another machine from the manufacturer in Voronezh. Another month later, we got a phone call asking to put an auxiliary machine in a simpler configuration. And we do that a lot.

Another difference between us and our competitors is openness. We send our portfolio to all customers. A new customer can call the current customer and ask how the warranty case was handled. We don't hide the fact that any equipment can break down, no matter how much it costs, because it's machinery. And ours is breaking down as well. But the question is how we react to it: three days and the customer forgets that it ever happened to him.
- Where do you supply your products?

- If you take Russia, the most popular cities are Moscow, the Moscow Region and 300 km away: Nizhny Novgorod, Belgorod, Yekaterinburg. Less commonly - south- or westwards. Generally speaking, the extreme point in the west where our machines operate is Kaliningrad, and in the east - Vladivostok. We work 24/7.

As for export, we only managed to supply a machine to Alicante (Spain). The owners of this souvenir company are Slavs. They left an application on our website, then they came and checked the quality of our products. Within two weeks, we got a contract with them. Europeans pay in general a lot of attention to quality. They will not pay if the equipment does not meet their requirements even in one parameter. Price is the last thing they look at.

In order to reach the next level, we used the support of ANO Mosprom and went to Munich to Productronica 2019, the international trade fair for electronics components and manufacturing technologies. It was a great opportunity to make ourselves known!

We signed a letter of intent with a British company to supply G-MARK 1000 laser systems. The contract is non-standard: it requires automated marking of electronic components and printed circuit boards. The customer has already sent in samples. We'll work them out. This company used to buy the laser from another manufacturer, but ours is cheaper and performs the same functions.

We have also signed such agreements with three German customers. The situation is similar to the British 'story'. The first project is connected with marking of car spare parts including car windows (QR-coding). So, we are waiting for samples. The second one is about marking printed circuit boards. And the third non-standard project is on cutting micro-holes in very thin copper plates.
- What are your impressions of the trade fair in Germany?

- It's a very rewarding experience. We were able not only to meet final customers, but also to learn from other companies how to interact with potential customers. By the way, none of our competitors signed any more letters of intent than we did! And no one knew us at the trade fair and we did not advertise ourselves, but our competitors already had some awareness.

- What are your plans for the future?

- We have a three-year development plan. Europe in general is interesting: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey. We are already working on a number of deals in these areas.

The Asian region is less interesting, as there is a whole pool of competitors whose products are not of high quality, but everyone is happy with them.

- What is the secret of such a rapid and successful development of your business?

- Not all of our competitors can boast that their executives are tightly involved in the company as we are. The founder may not be operationally related to the business at all. And we know our market and our product inside out. We approach business with soul, we do the negotiations ourselves. We're on the front lines, and that's the payoff. We have a collaboration of 1 + 1 = 11! Because customers don't buy from the company, they buy from the people.

And it's a good example to the staff. We have a very friendly team: young professionals, friendly and cheerful, who hate the second rate and sub-standard work. We practice an open-door policy, we are happy to receive feedback and to change dynamically.
Audience: 16+