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BFC Printing -- Treating Clients Like Family

February 2005
by Kristen E. Monte

Associate Editor

The adage, "The customer is always right," may seem a bit outdated, but the core of this mantra is still relevant. At BFC Printing, the philosophy of a customer-driven company proves that this business tactic can still be successful.

Joe Novak Sr. founded BFC Printing in 1974. Novak and his partners began as print brokers, concentrating mainly on financial institutions as their key business. As the banking industry began to feel a squeeze, which coincided with the promotion of Novak Sr.'s sons, BFC Printing began to re-evaluate the focus of its business in the late 1980s.

The Novak family, from the left, includes Matt Novak, general manager; Karen Novak, human resources/accounting manager; Brad Novak, vice president; Joe Novak Sr. (seated), founder; his wife, Pat Novak; and Joe Novak Jr., president.
Joe Novak Jr. filled his father's shoes as president, and his brothers Brad and Matt took over as vice president and general manager, respectively. Their sister Karen filled the role of human resources/ accounting manager. Once the siblings came into power, the first order of business was to immediately assess their client mix.

With a sales focus on the insurance, educational, association and consumer services industries, BFC Printing went to its customers to see where they were headed, and how their needs could be best served.

"Since then, our clients have steered us into integrating a variety of services, including commercial and digital printing, variable data imaging, direct mail services, inventory management, fulfillment and distribution, and online systems management," says Novak Jr. "Over the past 10 years, our clients have made it pretty obvious to us that we needed to incorporate a variety of integrated services if we wanted to stay competitive. We listened and thus our tag line: Integrated print management."

The 100-employee company has been located in the western suburbs of Chicago during its 28-year existence, first in Addison, IL, then in Batavia, IL. With its recent move to another location in Batavia, the company was consolidated into one building, boasting a 120,000-square-foot facility. Included is 15,000 square feet for general offices, a 45,000-square-foot production area, a 50,000-square-foot distribution center and 12 interior docks occupying 10,000 square feet.

When Novak Jr. and his brothers took over, BFC Printing acquired a printing company, Dupage Dupli-Print, and started offering integrated services, which got the company into manufacturing. Although this went against trends in the industry at the time, it was a better way to serve their clients, the brothers felt.

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