Changing of the Guard Reflects World Change --MichelsonJanuary 2003
All of a sudden, it seems, there is a new world order as the result of a prolonged depressed market. The biggest entities, admired for their massive equipment asset base, numerous production facilities and economies of scale, experience the same pain and suffering as the local printer in Anytown, USA. Quebecor's world becomes smaller, Moore is less, Mail-Well looks for checks in the mail, Wallace seeks solace and Donnelley's in the doldrums.
Those companies hatched through acquisitions prove that bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to trying to integrate, and then manage, the coupling of formerly separate printing establishments—especially during tough economic times when the resultant debt load from the transaction feels like a tourniquet squeezed around one's neck. And for those attempting to navigate their businesses through internal growth, the rough seas ahead seem just as murky.
Some would argue that the current difficult and uncertain times are unprecedented. But, to look to the future, it helps to look to the past. Turbulent stock markets eventually stabilize and, in turn, reward patient shareholders. Warmongers eventually are quieted by voices calling for peace. Civil unrest eventually leads to civil rights. Great customer service eventually prevails over just being the lowest bidder. And, yes, print buyers with slashed budgets eventually will start purchasing products and related services again.
Mark T. Michelson