Investment climate, Tech

Lithuanians will be part of Hewlett-Packard’s revolutionary transformation of the footwear industry

October 27, 2016

Elinvision, a Kaunas-based company that produces 3D scanners, and the major global IT corporation Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), jointly intend to revolutionize the global footwear industry in the next five to ten years. Other Lithuanian producers are also taking part in the project.

“The idea came from HP, which is at the centre of a project developing new, soon-to-be revealed solutions. Our scanner is a small part of an enormous project which covers production, maintenance and infrastructure. There are partners with whom we are developing production technologies and production lines,” says Donatas Valinčius, director of Elinvision, a subsidiary of Elinta.

Due to confidentiality restrictions it cannot be revealed who HP’s customers are; all that is known is that they are footwear producers.

Mr Valinčius tries to explain briefly what footwear sales will look like using their scanner in a few years’ time. Shopping for new shoes will begin with a foot scan at the shop, where foot pressure and other characteristics will be measured. The new custom-made pair of shoes will be ready within a couple of hours.

“This will disrupt the current system of production. We fully expect to see shops offering such footwear in Lithuania within five years,” says the director of Elinvision.

China a no-go

[quote text=”This will disrupt the current system of production. We fully expect to see shops offering such footwear in Lithuania within five years” name_surname=”Donatas Valinčius” description=”director of Elinvision” left=””]

Working with a large company like HP is a big challenge for a small company, not least because Elinvision must start to produce considerably more scanners. Various alternatives are being considered, from extensive cooperation with other companies in Lithuania to building new production facilities. Unfortunately, as Mr Valinčius says, Lithuanians sometimes lack a responsible business mentality; quality is overlooked, deadlines are missed and so on. Lithuania is perhaps not yet ready for such a large-scale project.

It would be easy for Elinvision to produce the scanners in China, but the company is not even considering this option.

“HP was ready to produce in China, but we disagreed. We want to have production in Lithuania,” explains Mr Valinčius.

We plan to triple Elinvision’s turnover in 2017.

Unpatented technology a winner

Vytautas Jokužis, head of the Elinta Group and its main shareholder, says that until now scanners were produced to order, and from this autumn they will be produced only under the Hewlett-Packard brand.

It took about ten years to develop the 3D scanner created by Elinvision. It was decided not to patent it in order to protect the know-how. This was one of the reasons why HP, after trying scanners from several other suppliers, chose to produce the scanner with Elinvision.

Mr Jokužis shares an interesting story of how HP learned about the Kaunas-based company. He says that about two years ago a company in the US bought a scanner from them. Most of their customers were from the US, but what was unusual about this purchase was that the customer did not explain why they needed a scanner; they didn’t even have a company website. The customer soon returned for a new scanner as the old one had broken. It was at that stage the customer informed Elinvision they were really visiting in order to propose future cooperation. Only then did the mysterious customer reveal itself to be none other than HP itself.

The agreement with HP foresees a tenfold annual growth in the production of scanners: in 2013 the company produced approximately 100 scanners per month; now production is at 1,000 units per month, with plans to increase to 10,000 a month.

At present it is only a pilot project. The agreement signed with HP is for three years; during that time the product has to be improved and the production process fully adjusted.

The experience Elinvision has gained from its cooperation with HP has been extremely advantageous. According to Mr Jokužis, despite the fact that the IT giant is slow to take decisions, his company can now benefit from working with the most talented developers in the US.

The company currently has 80 employees and an annual turnover of over EUR 6 million.

Source: Verslo žinios

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Aistė Žebrauskienė
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    Aistė Žebrauskienė Press Officer
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