FAST TRACK FIRMS — Sailing Against the Wind
By Erik Cagle
The whispers that point toward an improving economy are becoming louder and louder. And 2004—some observers are confident—will show a marked improvement in the fortunes of commercial printers across the country, ending a downward cycle that traces to the fall of 2000.
Of course, anything above the 2001 and 2002 performances would constitute an improvement. Still, among the ranks of our annual Top 400, tucked in between the masses of companies that experienced flat or negative growth from the previous campaign, are some establishments that have actually soared.
We’ve provided a capsulated look at 13 companies randomly selected from a cross section of sales levels to discover what initiatives were undertaken to produce black ink in the vast sea of red. These firms posted figures that represent their most recently concluded fiscal year. They are listed in no particular order.
2003 Ranking: 153
Most Recent Fiscal Year Sales: $38M
Previous Fiscal Year Sales: $32.5M
EU Services traces its roots to 1968 as a provider of custom printed envelopes. The company now produces a full range of customized direct mail packages and high-end commercial products, including annual reports, package inserts and sales collateral for associations, non-profits and religious organizations, publishers, direct marketing agencies and corporate B2B.
EU Services’ growth was buoyed by an increased emphasis on sales, acquisition marketing and internal production efficiencies, according to Art Simpson, executive vice president. The company’s marketing budget was bolstered by 25 percent and three new sales positions were added.
“Company performance and profitability information was communicated to employees on a monthly basis, and an emphasis on the organization’s mission, vision and core business attributes was promoted on an ongoing basis,” he says. “EU also focused on maintaining a healthy mix of business across all divisions—commercial printing, envelope printing, data processing, mail processing—via selling ‘total packages’ that maximized all service areas.”