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DLT Direct--Playing to Win

September 2000
DLT Direct's strategy and emphasis on "quality, service and price" have brought it major-league growth in the direct mail printing game.


BY GEORGE WHALEN


In 1932, playing for the NY Yankees against the Chicago Cubs, George Herman Ruth strode to home plate at Wrigley Field, raised his arm and pointed toward the centerfield fence. He silently predicted he'd hit a home run over it—and he did! Calling that shot made Babe Ruth a legend.

What Ruth did in baseball, Sterling, VA-based DLT Direct and its owner David L. Taylor and General Manager Chester "Chet" Ruby, have now done in direct mail printing. Starting from zero, with seven employees and a used six-color Didde web press, DLT Direct not only recouped all of its start-up costs and lease-hold improvements in its first six-month year (1995), it earned a tidy profit of $78,000 too! Its second, third and fourth years brought sales of $2.4, $3.7 and $4.8 million, respectively—and all were profitable. Figuratively looking toward that center-field wall and calling its next shot, DLT forecasted its 1999 fiscal year—and blasted another home run—coming in at $5.4 million. With its whopping, 300 percent growth rate, the firm's expansion appears to have earned DLT Direct a permanent spot in the Hall of Fame of fastest growing printers in the U.S. In all, Taylor and Ruby have consistently called their shots, six years in a row.

Hitting Its Numbers
Back in 1992, Taylor created a business plan for DLT Direct to hit annual home runs of sales success and profitability; and since then, it has hit or exceeded every year's number. Says Taylor, "Long before we opened the doors, we forecast our revenues and expenses to the penny, and we've made our numbers. DLT Direct's growth has come from making right choices and by paying meticulous attention to detail."

DLT Direct focuses on commercial direct mail and subscription fulfillment printing. It manufactures multicolor brochures, letters, insert cards, magazine subscription and renewal cards, and countless other forms of quality-color, direct mail printing. DLT's prepress facility is geared for digital and film-based production, even though 95 percent of jobs come as digital files.

Among its growing roster of major-league clients, one of the latest is Veranda magazine, said to be the nation's premier country living publication. "We're proud to be printing exceptional color insert cards and other full-color direct mail materials for Veranda," says Ruby. "Its style, color and design standards are among the highest in publishing today."

 

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