Tilia Labs announces growth, North America expansion, new executive roles

Key appointments and new US Office reflect growing demand in digital printing and packaging

Tyler Thompson (left) joins Tilia Labs Inc as solutions director and George Folickman becomes director of sales, North America.

Tilia Labs, a leading developer of planning, imposition and AI automation software solutions for the graphic arts industries, has launched 2019 with two new executive roles and a new North American office to support global growth and expansion. The appointments will help meet rising demand for its AI-driven planning and imposition solutions across the entire printing and packaging industry, including labels, cartons, flexible packaging, corrugated, commercial print, signs and wide format.

Joining Tilia Labs are George Folickman and Tyler Thompson, who bring with them extensive experience in enterprise sales and technical consulting and support, particularly in relation to business systems integration and implementation.

With a track record in supplying solutions for packaging printers and converters, Folickman was most recently director of business development, Digital Finishing for Esko. In this role he focused on emerging technologies and opportunities to boost productivity and profitability across finishing processes in the printing and packaging supply chain. Joining Tilia Labs as director of sales covering North America, Folickman’s experience is a timely addition to the company as it continues to develop strategic industry partnerships and broaden its portfolio to include intelligent planning and decision-making for downstream finishing activities.

Folickman says the latest developments in tilia Phoenix 7.0 convinced him that he wanted to get involved. He said, “I’ve watched Tilia Labs with great interest for some time and have been blown away with their use of artificial intelligence combined with the open-API approach to planning and imposition – certainly, nothing can touch the speed of the Phoenix Imposition AI engine.”

“The new levels of integration and flexibility, and the intelligent ganging and estimation made me really excited. After working in the digital finishing space, I know the industry is facing several challenges with digital manufacturing and converting shorter runs. I’m convinced that Tilia AI technology has the power to tackle many of these challenges head-on,” added Folickman.

Thompson combines a deep knowledge of the printing and packaging industry and computer science with a focus on web application development, a direction Tilia Labs is moving in with its award-winning AI planning and nesting algorithms. Thompson holds an M.Sc. degree in Information and Communication Technology and has both taught and studied at Clemson University where he earned his B.Sc. degree in Printing and Packaging. Thompson’s extensive experience in developing tailored software solutions and services for a variety of printers and converters stems from his previous seven-year tenure with Esko in Applications Engineering and Sales Account Management roles. He joins Tilia Labs in the position of solutions director with special responsibility for North America.

Like Folickman, Thompson has been impressed over time with the development of Tilia Labs’ unique technology offering. “What I found most compelling about Tilia Labs was its ability to completely disrupt the market by pioneering best-in-class, AI-driven software that has become mission-critical for its customers. The Imposition AI engine’s plasticity and speed make Tilia Labs the undisputed leader in bringing AI technology to the printing and packaging industry. Phoenix is like a brain that you teach by modeling your unique production environment (presses, stocks, costing, finishing, etc.) so that it can make intelligent cost-based decisions to efficiently estimate and plan hundreds and thousands of orders. I look forward to helping take the company to the next level in its global dominance,” said Thompson.

According to Sagen de Jonge, chief executive officer of Tilia Labs, sales inquiries have risen sharply in the last year, as more and more print providers realize human planning is a bottleneck in the increasingly personalized and short-run print environment.

“North America continues to be a high growth market for Tilia Labs, so hiring key talent is essential to meeting our ambitious growth targets,” said de Jonge. “Tyler and George understand global sales, go-to-market strategies, and customer satisfaction profoundly, and they have a proven track record of driving efficiencies for customers through innovative technology. They both come on board with a wealth of specialist knowledge, they’re highly motivated, and very enthusiastic about the potential of our solutions to revolutionize the way companies work. More than anything, they share our passion for technology and our vision for the future of the industry with software automation. We are thrilled they have joined the team at the perfect time to help spearhead Tilia Labs’ international sales and operational expansion, and we know our customers and partners will benefit immensely.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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