Edwards Brothers Malloy: Making Change Their FriendJanuary 2014 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
In order to fully reap the benefits associated with change, it is important to believe that a deviation from the status quo is both good and necessary. For some, change may be thrust upon them; for others, it may represent an opportunity to exceed, or merely just survive.
And, for those printers that ply their craft in the book manufacturing industry, change has become a fact of life.
"Our company is 120 years old, but we've probably seen more changes in the last five years than we had in the previous 115," observes John Edwards, president and CEO of Edwards Brothers Malloy, a book and journal printing specialist based in Ann Arbor, MI.
Instead of allowing change to dictate its future course, Edwards Brothers Malloy has ushered in an era of evolution. In early 2012, then-separate entities Edwards Brothers and Malloy Inc. announced that they were merging their family-owned businesses, creating a mega book printer with $102.5 million in sales for fiscal year 2013.
In addition to reaping each other's equipment mix, Edwards Brothers Malloy has been highly aggressive in its most recent capex campaign, bringing aboard its first sheetfed offset press to be used for four-color text, a 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster. A Ricoh InfoPrint 5000 continuous-feed inkjet press (its first), a Kodak NexPress (its fourth), two Konica Minolta bizhubs (a C7000 and C8000), an HP wide-format digital printer and two Océ 6320 monochrome text printers from Canon Solutions America round out the unprecedented growth spurt.
In a sign of the growing trend toward short-run, digital book production—where Edwards Brothers Malloy is experiencing 20 percent annual growth—the company announced last summer that it was consolidating its Jackson Road and State Street manufacturing facilities in Ann Arbor, and relocating some of its gear to its Lillington, NC, plant, in a yearlong process that underscores the decline in long-run offset book printing.
The move toward digital printing is unmistakable. "Our perspective is that the future of our business is being able to help publishers manage their supply chain and, to do that, we need to be able to print anywhere from one to 100,000 copies—mainly one to 1,000—quickly and cost-effectively," notes Joe Upton, vice president of sales and marketing. "These equipment investments were made with that in mind. Whether its print-on-demand (POD) output or an inventory replenishment model, it's really targeted to working with publishers as a partner and managing their supply chain."