C&S Press : Service With a SavingsJune 2009 By Erik Cagle
What makes a visit to your favorite restaurant even more enjoyable and memorable, notes Frank Tantillo, is when the staff brings you "a little extra touch of something." Be it a complimentary glass of wine or a dessert, the gesture—no matter how small—is enough to bring the customer back.
Tantillo should know. As part of a triumvirate of owners behind Orlando, FL-based C&S Press, along with Dan Ellis and Ray Cody, Tantillo has put this theory to practice with the company's printing clientele. It doesn't take a grand gesture to capture someone's attention, as the smallest niceties can often make a buyer feel positive about the overall experience.
As Tantillo sees it, the smallest outlay on the front side can be more than recouped on the back end. "Sure, that little touch goes against your bottom line, but those customers come back again," he notes. "We spend a small portion of our profits to go the extra mile and to do the extra steps.
"Once we capture new clients, they stay with us. We do all the right things and, because of that, we're very well respected in the industry."
Responding to print buyers' wants and needs is the hallmark of C&S Press, according to fellow owner Dan Ellis. The company's 60 employees embody the firm's tag line, "Total Client Commitment," on a daily basis. And, it's not just happy talk for use in the firm's marketing materials.
"We differentiate ourselves with immediate response times to client needs and offer customer service that is second to none," Ellis remarks. "Some buyers have even said that they'd love for us to train their other print vendors on how to provide customer service."
C&S Press doesn't thrive on customer service alone. The printer runs the general commercial sheetfed gamut by offering annual reports, brochures, pocket folders, publications, direct mail, as well as corporate and marketing collateral. Tantillo considers C&S more of a corporate printer, enabling clients to realize their marketing and branding efforts. Finance and insurance companies are among the vertical markets it serves.
Rise and Shine
Consistency has been another hallmark for C&S, which has enjoyed steady growth—to the tune of 5 percent to 10 percent per year. A single- and two-color printer when it debuted in 1985, the company has billowed to more than $9 million in annual sales.
Until recently, C&S' biggest presses—a pair of six-color, 29? Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 74s (one with an aqueous coater)—were perfectors. Last November, the company installed a new four-color, 20? Speedmaster SM 52 equipped with Heidelberg's Anicolor zoneless short inking unit and dampening system. The short makereadies and paper savings achieved on the SM 52 have proven to be pivotal for C&S, which also took advantage of benefits derived from last year's U.S. economic stimulus package.
"With the Anicolor technology, we're literally talking five minutes and 50 or less sheets for a –makeready on a four-color job," says Ellis, who notes the company saves more than $8,000 a year in ink. "The paper savings on the makereadies are equal to the cost of the press payment. We can now compete with short-run sheetfed and digital print shops for short-run work. Plus, we can make a higher profit margin on jobs and produce them for a lesser amount.
"We feel that the SM 52 with Anicolor is an ideal press for a stressed economy, where the print buyer is looking for the cheapest price. Yet, we also maintain great quality," adds Ellis.
Tantillo loves the reduced –makeready waste with the press, speaking to the needs of the environmentally conscious customer. He also feels it holds a quality advantage over digital output, in that it can deliver more consistency to the printing and branding efforts of advertising agencies.
Ellis believes that, for his company, the sheetfed press fits in line with its needs. "We looked at digital presses, thinking that was the only way to go," he remarks. "We would've been looking at click fees that, for a million impressions a month, would run our consumables to about $50,000 a month. With the SM 52, we only spend $10,000 a month on ink and plates, things like that."
The printer also tapped Heidelberg recently for two new platesetters, a (four-up) Prosetter 74 and an (eight-up) Prosetter 102. Ellis likes to point out that once the platesetters were calibrated to the shop's other equipment, they were "locked in" and didn't require recalibration. The new gear has improved dot gain and less chemistry is required to operate the new computer-to-plate devices.
Ellis sees plenty of opportunity for C&S Press to expand its base. Despite doing business in Mickey Mouse's ZIP code, the company churns out little work for the tourism industry. Large corporations will likely continue to be the printer's bread and butter, but a plant expansion (the company currently occupies a 25,000-square-foot facility) and an additional, larger Anicolor press could go a long way toward pushing C&S past the $10 million mark in annual sales.
"Our Anicolor press has helped us to get in the door of (customers) we haven't been able to reach for the past 10 years," Ellis says. "It will help us grow our company."
In a distressed economy, Ellis points to the higher comfort level from maintaining a low debt ratio. It's a change of pace in an era of over-leveraged businesses that find themselves teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Still, the printer will continue to pursue newer technologies in ?order to stay on top of its game.
Regardless of the technologies C&S Press adds, or any different markets and products the company decides to pursue, its cornerstone value will continue to be its complimentary sample of house wine.
"I've had some people say, 'You make me feel like I'm the only client you have.' That's the kind of attention we give them," Tantillo remarks. "Our employees exemplify the Total Client Commitment mindset, working with a tremendous amount of pride and professionalism. And we have one of the best managers in the business, Tony Barongi. Tony and the employees are a big part of why we have reached our goals." PI