Emerson Roberts, the newly-appointed MD at Bowens International has pledged to invest heavily in new product development and expand the photo-lighting equipment manufacturer’s global market share with a raft of new strategic initiatives in coming months.
Roberts, 40, formerly sales and marketing director at the hugely successful west-London based Brompton Bicycle company - on his seven year watch exports increased 80%, sales tripled and profits quadrupled – has been headhunted by the Essex-based lighting company that has set its sights on both domestic and international expansion.
Research and development will be key elements of the new MD’s plans for a new-look Bowens and its Limelite videography subdivision.
Since his official appointment two months ago Roberts has already implemented an exclusive distribution deal with the influential MAC Group in the USA, ‘to help bring Bowens products to market more efficiently’.
Now he plans a 2014 launch of a brand new range of highly advanced ‘radio-tech’ monoblocs and promises to expand the ‘highly talented’ R&D team at the company’s UK HQ.
He said: "It’s time for a sea change in the way we do things at Bowens. We need to have a sharper focus on product inventory and expansion rather than be permanently obsessed with cost reduction tactics. Just look at this company’s outstanding heritage. Bowens is nothing if it isn’t doing something important with technology. Frankly, it’s what is expected of us.
There are dozens of ‘me too’ manufacturers in the Far East who can just copy what is out there and push down on price. What we offer are far more compelling workflow solutions for our photographer customers."
He added: "There is no reason why we can’t operate very successfully as a two-location business, taking advantage of lower manufacturing costs abroad and still retain the core of our expert team here in the UK.
But now we must drive on and rebuild. R&D will be my priority, alongside freeing up our gifted and award-winning marketing team to create and fulfil exciting new campaigns and promotions to exploit our growing portfolio. We do not need to concede on price. We build premium products."
The new MAC Group arrangement will be the template for future Bowens’ distribution policy.
Said Roberts: "I believe this new distribution muscle will help us grow our business dramatically in the USA in coming months and years – and also in other challenging global markets, including Italy, France, Spain and Korea."
Roberts, a rugby-loving family man has three sons aged 7, 4 and 1 and lives in Colchester. He still keeps his folding Brompton bicycle in the boot of his car.
He takes over from former MD Mike Taylor who spent 35 years with the Bowens Group.