Bradford & Bigelow — Company on a Mission

John Galligan, president, and Heather Richardson, executive vice president of operations, hold the first textbook that was printed VOC emission-free on Bradford & Bigelow’s UV web offset press.

Bradford & Bigelow’s sales team is able to meet the demand for quick turnarounds thanks to the new Digital Book Factory.

Pictured with one of B&B’s Timsons UV web presses are, from the left, Peter Pierce, press supervisor; Ron Croteau, lead operator; John Galligan, president; and Heather Richardson, executive VP.

LIKE TIGER Woods reading the greens on the 18th hole of the U.S. Open, John Galligan is a man who exhibits unflappable focus.

Galligan, the president of Newburyport, MA-based Bradford & Bigelow (B&B), knows what it takes to be successful as a book printer, and that entails keeping it simple. This $25 million printer, nestled about 30 miles north of Boston, specializes in one- and two-color 81⁄2×11˝ book production for the highly competitive elementary, high school (el-hi) and college textbook market. No four-color casebound, coffee table, 6×9˝ or 7×9˝ products.

If ever a company embodied the definition of “niche,” it would be Bradford & Bigelow.

“Several of the plants we compete against have multiple product lines. That’s a more complex business model to manage and it makes their capital investment more expensive,” Galligan says. “We keep investing in the 81⁄2×11˝ format to make our operation more efficient.

“We want standardization, scale and backup. With our focus, we can minimize makeready times on our print and bind platform and provide clients a better value package.”

The 110 employees of Bradford & Bigelow must be enjoying that focus after a truly transformational year. “Our objective,” says Galligan, “was to create an environmentally friendly, world-class supply chain solution for our customers.”

During 2007, the company moved from its previous home in Danvers, MA, to a new 100,000-square-foot facility in Newburyport; designed and installed a high-speed, fully integrated Digital Book Factory; expanded its conventional print and binding platform; and became the first book printer in North America to implement UV inks and drying technology on its Timsons web presses, eliminating all VOC emissions. All the while, Bradford & Bigelow stayed open for business.

Galligan expected the worst. But there were still unpleasant surprises.

“Relocation and transformation is a process you only want to go through once,” he admits. “Until you have done it, you do not realize how difficult, time-consuming, expensive and complex it is.”

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  • http://TomHullEsperson Tom Hull Esperson

    This is exciting; congrats to all. I should note that my Great Grandfather started this firm in the 1880’s as Hull Printing, based in Ipswich and Salem, and sold to the fellow (Mac) who moved the firm to Danvers, changed the name, and grew the business in the offset space. <br />
    <br />
    It’s fascinating to see how the company has evolved, and found a market niche / competitive advantage.<br />
    <br />
    Congrats…<br />
    <br />
    Tom Hull Esperson<br />
    Salem MA