Consolidation--The Ties That Bind?
"The smaller guy down the street, who just needs printing, in the future will lean more likely toward a smaller printer who is very accessible," Norton says, "because he can call [the printer] at night, play golf with him, etc."
Printing Arts America is an example of a company created with consolidation in mind. According to President Terry Tevis, the primary goal of Printing Arts America (formed in 1998) was to build a platform of regional companies linked digitally into a national organization.
While Printing Arts America may be viewed as a new kid on the block, Tevis boasts more than 25 years' experience in the industry. His goal is to keep print competitive with other forms of media.
In a $70 billion industry that is fragmented—a fragmentation that makes it vulnerable in terms of the communications industry remaining competitive—Tevis feels print needs to be competitive from a speed, rather than just a cost, standpoint.
"We need to focus outside the confines of print and look at ways to compete with the Internet, with other major print companies and with any other form of digital information flow," Tevis says.
"By linking regional companies into a national print platform, we can drive cost out of the equation, bring new ways to look at speed in their print processes and bring a marketing discipline that views the customers' entire value chain. By focusing on speed, database management and the digital process, we will make the regional printer much more competitive with other electronic media.
"[For] the bottlenecks that many of these regional printers found in their press or prep areas, we were able to bring speed to the process and make the print medium more competitive."
Cunningham Graphics Int'l is another player in the consolidation game. Aside from the requisite acquisition of companies that broaden its product/service base, Cunningham Graphics also sought to flesh out its global distribution network.