I’ve had the privilege of working with a growing company for close to twenty years. We have evolved from a newspaper printer to one of the most technologically advanced printers in North America, with nearly $50 million in sales. In the middle of our progress the economy crashed and, at the same time, smartphones and tablets were supposed to replace anything printed on paper.
To survive the chaos, most printers decided they needed to create and market several digital offerings, becoming a complete marketing solutions company.
“You can’t just be a printer anymore,” was stated in a speech at a Printer CEO group conference at Graph Expo in the fall of 2009. “You need to be a marketing services provider.”
We narrowed our focus instead of widening it. This approach was also counter to the industry. Larger printers reached down to do more mid-size jobs. Mid-size printers focused on trying to win anything, large or small. Ink on paper to keep the presses rolling, at any cost. The industry down-sized, from 40,000 plus printers nationwide to less than 30,000. Struggling companies sold or merged into conglomerates. The print industry was drastically changing. It still is.
Even in the midst of all this change, most remaining companies are operating the way they did ten years ago. The same equipment and, sometimes, the same software. Just trying to hold onto what they have, without a long term plan. Without a long term future.
The long game – in the printing industry or any business – comes from top-down leadership investment plans. Investing it right. In the right equipment for your market, the right people who get things done. With an unwavering vision of what’s next. Without technology to improve efficiencies and quality, what do you really have to sell? How can you compete?
Long-term success means planning on the long game. For us, it meant making significant investments in every department. It meant retooling our entire company with better equipment, better software and great people (and keeping many long-term employees as well). This investment has paid off. We have tripled in volume since the downturn of the economy and have new capacity on the floor to double in size.
We remain focused on just being a printer. But not just any printer; the best magazine and catalog printer in North America.
No matter your industry, the same holds true. Aim high. Treat your team right. Give them great tools. Trust their insights. Earn their loyalty. Then let your outstanding sales force take your company ahead of the rest for many years to come. Make the tough decisions and grow. We would love to be a part of it.
Feel free to contact me directly if you’d like to find out more. God Bless.