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Buchanan Visual Communications--Getting Better All the Time

March 1998
Judging by the success of Buchanan Visual Communications, one would hardly guess that when Dave and Lyn Johnson purchased the company in 1980, they knew little about commercial printing.

At the end of that first year, Buchanan's sales totaled $348,000. After 17 years under the Johnsons' ownership, the company reports an estimated $14 million for 1997. And as a recent move into a larger facility indicates, business seems to be getting better all the time.

The Johnsons attribute their success to the relationships they've formed with each of their customers. From day one, they have tried to provide quality supported by personalized service.

Before purchasing Buchanan, Lyn was a computer analyst and Dave had worked for 15 years at an oil company. Despite their lack of graphic arts experience, the husband-and-wife team threw themselves into the business. Dave began delivering the jobs himself and courted additional business by getting to know his customers.

"We built relationships and acquired more business because we were willing to provide personalized service," he recounts. "In the initial 18 months, most of our growth came from current customers."

By 1985, Buchanan had grown so much that the Johnsons relocated the operation to a 22,000-square-foot facility in Farmers Branch, TX.

Dave notes, "We expected that building to accommodate the company for as long as we were involved with it—20 to 25 years easily."

However, within the span of just 10 years, Buchanan had outgrown that space as well. So in early February, it took up residence in a 75,000-square-foot facility, also in Farmers Branch.

"Most companies move into existing buildings, where the physical structure can pose workflow problems," explains Dave. "That costs everyone money. But if you design it right and take out the variables that can mean additional costs, you can improve efficiency and the cycle time."

With this in mind, the new facility has been streamlined so that a job literally comes in the front door and travels in a workflow path to the back door. From the prepress room to the bindery, each department is strategically placed. Dave boasts, "The [distance from the] customer lounge to the pressroom is less than 50 paces."

A One-stop Shop
Over the years, Buchanan has expanded its capabilities along with its quarters. As a result, it offers more prepress services, full-color scanning and retouching, a complete digital workflow, and more postpress services than ever before, including storage and fulfillment.

The size and scope of the company today would stagger the late "Tiny" Buchanan, who founded it in 1958. Buchanan, employing 100 people, is now a full-service commercial printer specializing in four-, five- and six-color sheetfed work, including brochures, catalogs and direct mail.



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