Cooperative Printing--Full Speed Ahead
Cooperative Printing's facility has been functioning as a beta site for Imation's Matchprint Laser Proofer since early 1998. The company has also been selected recently by Hagen Systems to serve as a beta site for a Y2K compliance information system.
"Building the team and being committed to your employees is as important as investing in machinery," says Hanson. "Cooperative Printing has maintained a union status since first opening its doors in 1937. In that time, Cooperative Printing has never experienced a strike or even a work slowdown."
Hanson emphasizes that the company first invested in equipment, then capitalized on those investments through extensive employee training.
"Training staff for new processes entails partnering with key suppliers," adds Plant Manager Chuck Long. "We have a great relationship with our vendors and we understand their vision, just as they do ours."
The bottom line is getting vendors involved with employees. "After all," Long stresses, "who's more qualified to teach employees how to be technological experts than the manufacturers of that technology?"
Hanson notes that all of Cooperative Printing's workers participated in focus and/or development groups to help select the proper equipment. In fact, employee committees were tasked with researching and evaluating equipment before any purchasing decisions were made. Hanson explains one committee was involved with press purchases, another participated with prepress and desktop publishing, and still another selected a marketing communications agency to help promote the new and improved company.
These are not the only examples of team staff participation at Cooperative Printing. Employees attend a Total Quality Management (TQM) workshop annually, as well as participate in seminars on industry trends and new technologies. Hanson claims that 70 percent of his production staff has attended outside training and schooling.
Now, with highly trained workers running modern equipment and veteran printing executives running the business, Senior Account Executive Tim Salwei believes the $6.5 million business is poised for continued growth. Everyone throughout the organization is committed to building strong employee/customer relationships that grow into solid business partnerships.