10 November 2017

Yes, we can! How Barco became world leader thanks to a positive attitude and a clear action plan.

At Barco’s, nothing is impossible, that is obvious. On the same market as giants like Sony and Panasonic, the technology company from Kuurne developed to become a world leader in digital imaging. Eric Van Zele, former CEO of Barco: “In Belgium we tend to compromise too quickly. We dare not believe that it is it possible to become a world leader. Yet Barco’s story over the past seven years shows the opposite.” But how did Barco achieve this position? Find out how in this article.

5 focal points
"Success does not drop out of the sky"

“Success does not drop out of the sky” as Eric Van Zele likes to repeat when he describes the major transformations the company has undergone since he was appointed CEO in 2009. “First and foremost you must believe it is possible.”

When Eric Van Zele arrived, Barco was struggling. The market share and external investments in the company were declining and both market and shareholder confidence were at rock bottom. A thorough analysis showed that it was time to make fundamental changes. The problem was not the market or the customers. Barco was the problem! “We are our own enemy!” asserted Eric Van Zele at the time.

Finally, five focus points were defined:

Barco started by analysing its product portfolio. Based on a thorough analysis of its portfolio and new markets to explore, the company then defined a new strategy. The conclusion? The technology company now focuses on the medical world, digital movies, control centres, Defence and aeronautics. It is no accident that Barco is currently the world leader on the health care, control centre and digital movies markets.

To return to success the company was obliged to focus on customers. Barco managed to regain the confidence of its customers by emphasising on its main customers, investing in strategic marketing processes and managing its distribution channels more professionally.

The various departments of Barco operated separately, with their own reporting systems and reporting methods. This delayed the marketing of products and the speed of response to customer demands (in terms of after-sales service, spare part supply, etc.). A detailed analysis made it possible to replace the reporting systems and methods with more efficient solutions. The results speak for themselves: operational quality and efficiency are now core to all processes.

From the beginning of the transformation it became clear that corporate culture and leadership had to be Barco’s new cornerstones. Openness, cooperation, trust, positivism and a ‘Yes, we can” mindset had to become the driving forces behind the technology company. “An in-house survey showed that many intelligent people worked for Barco, but that they lacked true leadership”, Eric Van Zele recalls.

Consequently all the directors went on a course to stimulate them to become true leaders. “The role of directors is to help their organisation and team to implement difficult but necessary changes which do not occur naturally”, the former CEO says.

Barco’s ambition was the become the number 1 on the technological front. Its aim: to market the best possible projectors, with outstanding technological performances which are extremely reliable. Integrated multi-media systems, with user-friendly interfaces and management systems became the standard. That is how Barco became the undisputed leader in terms of image quality, performances and technological innovation.

The new Barco

One Campus, the brand-new head office of Barco in Courtrai which covers an area of 230,000 m², incorporates the company’s new thinking.

The main building is a glass spherical construction, surrounded by water and greenery. Barco’s 1,250 staff work at this new site which is a space open to customers and partners. The interior of the building also has a well thought out architecture: a large open space lets in much light thanks to a glass rood and walls, a waterfall conferring calm, many seats available for eating at lunchtime and as open meeting rooms or flexible work places the rest of the time.

The Barco Experience Center is very sophisticated and in the centre of the building. It is equipped with the most advanced visualisation technologies of Barco, such as a state-of-the-art cinema room with the latest technological innovations in the field of digital cinema. In other words, all reflects the new Barco: a well thought out company, which is both ambitious and determined to be the best on every front.


Control room

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Video (FR)