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Delta Printing Solutions — A Best Kept Secret

April 2008
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DELTA PRINTING Solutions has emerged as a formidable player in the U.S. book manufacturing market, yet it has managed to go largely unnoticed outside the West Coast.

“This is just the way we like it,” says Jerry Bernstein, executive vice president of the Valencia, CA-based company that’s become a top provider of books, manuals, catalogs, journals and directories. “We are the largest independent book printer in the Western United States. We’re not only a hidden gem, but a well-kept secret.”

Delta Printing Solutions has equipment suited to all production quantities, from small through large runs, with particular emphasis on meeting quick turnaround and just-in-time requirements. In fact, it’s the printer’s ability to deliver a fast, 10-day turnaround for most medium- to high-volume jobs that gives it a decided edge.

Based in Southern California, Delta is uniquely positioned to take advantage of its geographic location. It has been estimated that this region has the fifth largest economy in the world with a number of major companies within easy striking distance.

“We’re sitting in the midst of a region that’s an economic juggernaut,” adds Bernstein. “We’re in the right position to serve our marketplace. And we’ve positioned ourselves to provide the right sort of turnaround time.”

That includes operating out of a 120,000-square-foot facility that has been recently redesigned to maximize productivity.

The printer has a fully digital prepress system that can accommodate nearly any software used in publishing. Armed with CTP technology and an array of sheetfed and web printing presses, the company recently installed a 12,000 cph Muller Martini Corona perfect binder, one of the largest of its kind in the West.

Faster Than the Big Boys

Keeping up with technological changes in the marketplace has enabled Delta to post an average lead time of only two weeks. According to Bern- stein, very few companies would even contemplate a two-week lead time. Bigger companies, he says, routinely offer four to eight weeks.

“We proactively manage our capacity so we have the ability to scale and flex as customer requirements dictate,” points out Matt Keller, vice president of sales. “That’s part of our organization’s DNA. It’s how we do business and is the value we create for our customers.”

Delivering product in a timely fashion and providing good service is a top priority for Delta. “It’s our ability to provide both very well that makes us unique,” contends Bernstein. “There aren’t many companies on the West Coast that can do this.”

Book manufacturing is most commonly associated with the Midwest and, to a lesser extent, the East Coast, mainly because California is viewed as being too expensive and too heavily regulated. Constraints such as space, labor costs and a remote customer base are all reasons why the West Coast book manufacturing industry has lagged behind the rest of the country. Obviously, the folks at Delta Printing think there’s opportunity in overcoming challenges.

“Transportation is a huge cost variable in this business,” says Keller. “Our proximity to West Coast drop points gives us a leg up on the national book manufacturers, since we can supply the West and Southwest more competitively from our location.”

For example, El Paso, TX, is a key shipping point for the Southwest and Mexico, but for printers in the Midwest and on the East Coast, it’s a long haul by truck. Products routinely take up to seven days for common carrier delivery, so shipping time from the Northeast sometimes ends up being longer than the total time it takes for Delta to turn around the entire project.

The printer began making changes in its management team last year that included rebuilding the sales force to match its business strategy. Tony Richardson, Delta’s president/CEO, says things are starting to “gel” for the Los Angeles County company.

“A book manufacturing company cannot be successful without an aggressive, knowledgeable and helpful sales force,” he notes.

Committed to providing environmentally conscious options for its customers, Delta recently received chain-of-custody certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) that allows the company to offer eco-friendly alternatives such as Delta 40 and Delta 100 recycled paper (40 percent and 100 percent post- consumer waste content, respectively). The operation has noticed a spike in supplying recycled paper to its clients, with six major customers committed to coming on board in the next few months.

“We’re working closely with our suppliers and continue to push hard on the environmental side,” according to Richardson.

Old Books, New Paper

As part of its FSC certification, Delta recently began recycling scrap, obsolete books and other printed paper products from its customers.

“We will take their old books, bring them back to Delta and re-enter them into the recycling stream,” explains Richardson. “All this paper fiber goes back into the paper supply. It’s a service our clients used to pay for, but now we’re able to provide this free of charge. Our shared commitment to the recycling effort further cements our relationship with them.”

Delta serves a broad base of core markets with customers representing such diverse industries as healthcare, publishing, entertainment and software, consumer electronics, automotive, education and technology.

“A number of our clients have been with us for 15 years or more,” says Keller. “We pride ourselves on our proven ability to serve and maintain customers as diverse as Fortune 500 companies to those that produce only one book title a year.”

“We want to better understand the direction our customers are trying to take, so we can be part of their future progress,” adds Bernstein. “With supply chain customers comprising 50 percent of our Southern California client base, we have a 100 percent on-time performance rating. There aren’t many companies that can make this claim.” PI
 

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