BFC Printing -- Treating Clients Like FamilyFebruary 2005
BFC Printing is not market-specific, but Novak Jr. says it's had the greatest success with companies related to the insurance industry. It seeks out companies that have problems with the printing and distribution of their marketing collateral, and tries to solve their issues through integrated services.
From a manufacturing viewpoint, BFC Printing produces commercial sheetfed printing, with equipment options varying from 40˝, multi-color sheetfed presses to a one-color unit.
The company has found a delicate balance between what its clients want and need and where the technology can take them. Novak says that he likes to wait until new technology is proven in the industry and the price has dropped, so it is more economically wise to invest.
"Printing has always been printing; technology has advanced," notes Novak. "Our philosophy is to blend cutting-edge technology with proven technology." It is dangerous to automatically jump into new technology, he adds, because new technology will eventually become a proven technology. There is a right time and a wrong time to do it, according to Novak.
"For example, computer-to-plate technology is a must in our industry," Novak explains. "Once it became proven, we got into a PDF workflow using Agfa Apogee. We've embraced the technology and now we are the Midwestern demo site for Agfa products."
Another hot topic in the industry is color digital printing, and BFC Printing has kept its finger on the pulse. Even so, the customer demand is not yet there, and Novak says that the technology of digital printing equipment is more advanced than the data sophistication of BFC's clients.
He is hoping this will eventually change, once companies begin to realize that customer data needs to be an integral part of their organizations. He adds that there have been some initial inquiries for the new technology. In response, BFC recently purchased its first color digital printing unit—a Canon 5100.
The first half of 2004 was a critical time for BFC Printing. After its move into the new facility in March, new equipment was the next priority. The company purchased a six-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster 102 CD+L offset press with coater and extended delivery (shown at left); an Agfa Palladio platesetter to complement its Galileo CTP device; and a variety of bindery and mailing equipment, including folders, stitchers and inserters.
BFC Printing is also bucking the trend of a weak economy and slow industry growth. It has enjoyed a 20-30 percent increase in sales in the past five years and, last year, boasted revenues of $18 million. Novak claims this growth is a result of its larger clients not being effected by the economy. With most of its customers being in the insurance industry, policy and procedure write-ups and forms are always needed as a part of their business.
With the consumer and insurance industry, most of BFC's program sales are generated from products that are integral parts of a company's daily business activity. "They typically need our products and services regardless of market conditions. We don't get into job lot printing, therefore we don't expose ourselves to pricing wars," he explains.
"Our philosophy of integrated print management is what sets us apart from your traditional printer," says Novak. "We listened to our customers and let them determine the direction of our company."