It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for mergers, acquisitions and partnerships in the gaming industry but Crane Payment Solutions’ deal for MEI was one of the smartest moves on the board. We asked Eric Fisher – CPI president of Gaming what the deal meant for customers.
Casino International: Was this a merger or an acquisition of MEI?
Eric Fisher: CPI was formed when Crane Co. acquired MEI and merged it with the Payment Solutions division of their Payment & Merchandising Technologies business segment. As a result, we offer the largest portfolio of coin, note and cashless payment systems in Gaming, as well as the Financial Services, Retail, Transportation and Vending industries. Our brands include CashCode, Conlux, MEI, Money Controls, NRI and Telequip.
CI: How do these brands fit under the CPI banner? Are they competitive with each other?
EF: Fortunately, there is very little product overlap between our brands, even when it comes to products of the same category. Take our note acceptors, for instance – we have several for the Gaming industry, including SC Advance, CashCode one and Ardac Elite. Each one originates from a different brand and offers a unique set of features, advantages and benefits. This gives OEMs and operators the flexibility to choose which device is best suited to meet their unique needs.
Options are important in an industry where a one-size-fits-all solution can’t exist due to the sheer diversity of markets and applications. Now, our customers can simplify their sourcing strategy and obtain complete solutions from a single vendor.
CI: How has the merger affected the way your sales and support staff operate?
EF: At this point, our sales representatives have been trained on all our products, so customers need only speak to one person when placing an order – regardless of whether they want an MEI solution, a Crane solution or a mixture of both.
From a support perspective, CPI is a global company. With offices on six continents and a broad network of distributors, we offer the critical scale and local market expertise to provide best-in-class support wherever our customers, and their games, are located. Our team of cash management experts accompanies the CPI product portfolio, ensuring our technology is implemented properly – in a way that delivers the most value to our customers.
Internally, we’re in the final stages of integration to make doing business as easy for us as it is for our customers. Once our sales representatives can use a single computer system to place and track orders for all our products, we will have reached our aspiration for what it means to be a single, unified company.
CI: And what about other functional areas – like engineering? Are you developing any new products?
EF: Absolutely – CPI began capitalizing on the synergies between Crane and MEI right away. Our combined engineering team is larger, stronger and more efficient – enhancing the way we evolve our products and extensions so we can better serve the industry as a solutions partner.
Right now, we’re aggressively adding recycling products to our portfolio. SCR, for instance, combines the performance and reliability of SC Advance technology with the benefits of two-denomination note recycling for operators in non-TITO environments. It will soon be launched within the European AWP market, beginning with Germany.
Our other Gaming-related projects include further enhancements to the EASITRAX Soft Count system from MEI. The addition of EASITRAX to SC Advance note acceptors creates one of our most comprehensive cash management solutions for the Gaming industry. The ability to integrate EASITRAX with note acceptors from our other brands, like CashCode one, would provide our mixed floor customers with a way to gain newfound efficiencies throughout their operations – from the slot floor to the back room.
CI: Where does the CPI go from here? More growth or consolidation and reflection?
EF: Moving forward, CPI will continue to search for ways help our customers become more profitable and efficient. The word “innovation” is part of the CPI name for good reason. Not only do we leverage a rich history of patent generation, but we’re willing to make the investment in research and development to deliver new breakthrough solutions. Our experience, dedicated customer focus and breadth of expertise (across coins and notes – both acceptors and recyclers) will continue to expand the value operators can receive from automated payment systems.