Tom Martin Q&A: Focusing on the future of Lexmark

LexMark VP Marty Canning in the lobby at Lexmark in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, November 13, 2013. Photo by Matt Goins
LexMark VP Marty Canning in the lobby at Lexmark in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, November 13, 2013. Photo by Matt Goins Herald-Leader

Marty Canning is an executive vice president of Lexmark International, Inc., and president of the company's Imaging Solutions and Services division, a position he has held since 2010. Prior to that, he led Lexmark's former Printing Solutions and Services Division. Much has changed since those days.

Tom Martin spoke with Canning about the transition of Lexmark's business focus and the company's relationship with its headquarters community.

Tom Martin: Tell us how Lexmark has evolved into what it is today.

Marty Canning: The business is really aligned into two business units. One is the Imaging Solutions and Services business and the other one is the Perceptive Software business. I am the president of the Imaging Solutions and Services business. That is the historical Lexmark business that started here in Lexington as a typewriter factory, then went into printers and on to managed print services, and so on. That's our imaging business and it makes up the lion's share of our revenue and profits today.

Martin: Lexmark acquired Perceptive Software three years ago. How has this transition away from hardware and the printer business into managed print services and solutions changed things inside the complex that we all pass by on Newtown Pike, day to day?

Canning: If you go all the way back 20, 25 years since the beginning of the company, we were a manufacturing facility here. That was the typewriter factory which transitioned into a laser printing organization and went on to inkjet printing, including research and development and manufacturing. Now it's much more of a professional site, so we don't have the manufacturing here. We manufacture globally, around the world either directly or through partners.

But what we do have here is research and development for both hardware and for software business. We have the professional aspects of the organization like marketing, the sales leadership, supply-chain and things like that. So we've seen a significant shift in terms of the average pay per individual here in the Lexington area over that time period. But very different in terms of the roles that people play.

Martin: How has that shift changed the employee mix or the environment in Lexington?

Canning: It's changed it pretty significantly. Not necessarily in the last 5 to 10 years, but if you go back further, there was more head count probably, but lower in salary per person. Now higher paid, more professional services; a lot of marketing, a lot of research and development, a lot of the executive team and sales leadership.

Martin: What types of people do you oversee? What kinds of professionals are we standing in line with at the grocery store and probably unaware of it?

Canning: Hopefully, like us. I moved here 15 years ago and we just absolutely love Lexington. Many of these executives have been with Lexmark in Lexington for their whole careers. Others have joined us as industry experts that have come in from other places. It's a team that I'm extremely proud to go to the market with; very diverse in terms of skills and capabilities, very diverse in terms of types of responsibilities that they've had with Lexmark.

Martin: Are you finding that Lexington is the kind of place that encourages professionals to stay long and raise their children and perhaps even retire?

Canning: I'd say there's a sweet spot for that. Certainly my wife and I hit it dead on. So when I had the opportunity to come to Lexington like so many of these professionals, I had young kids that were here and what a great community to raise a family in, what a great community to have your kids go to school in or grown up in.

So here we are, 15 years later, and this is home for my family and this is all my kids have known. And it's just been a fantastic place for them to grow up. Our challenge often is going to be to get the young, high potential professional to come here. It's not so much the challenge to keep them here because Lexington has so much to offer. It's such a great community. And we're very focused on that challenge every day — the things that we can do to open our arms as a Lexington business community to get more of these professionals in here because keeping them is a little bit easier.

Martin: Do you find that there are obstacles that you have to overcome to attract them in the first place?

Canning: I would say we just need to do a better job as a community of marketing ourselves and the strengths that Lexington has to offer. It's not well known. We have to do a lot of that education as a recruiting organization. And we'd love to get more help, more focus on that as a community.

Martin: The Perceptive division recently acquired PACSGEAR, a medical information company. Do you interact in some way and if so, how?

Canning: Well, think of it this way. Any time the organization that I'm responsible for is engaged with a customer to sell them managed print services, my partners with Perceptive are arm in arm with me. I want to get them into that conversation with the customer because I want that customer to see me not just as their managed print services provider, that's half of Lexmark, but as their end-to-end unstructured information partner.

We're there to help them deal with an unstructured information problem that is both hardcopy and digital. And when we make these acquisitions and we continue to expand our software, it's strengthening that value proposition.

Martin: What does success look like to you and what challenges lie in a path between now and achieving that success?

Canning: Our CEO Paul Rooke, has described that. We see success as an evolution in the mix of our revenues as we grow our business. We want more than 50 percent of our revenues to come from solutions, if you will. So, not just a standalone printer, but a managed print service with business process software attached to it.

That's a broader, deeper relationship with our customers and it really changes the way the world will look at us. And that, in fact, is the challenge: When you mention Lexmark in two years, three years, four years, what comes to people's minds is the world's greatest end-to-end solution provider from the hardcopy to the digital end of the spectrum and we're the one that they think of.

Tom Martin's Q&A

Tom Martin's Q&A appears every two weeks in the Herald-Leader's Business Monday section. This is an edited version of the interview. To listen to the interview, find the podcast on The interview also will air on WEKU-88.9 FM on Mondays at 7:35 a.m. during Morning Edition and at 5:45 p.m. during All Things Considered.