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Fast-track Firms --Thriving, Not Just Surviving

December 2002
By Erik Cagle


Breaking even is considered an accomplishment given today's economic environment, so it's difficult to believe that a number of companies managed to use some black ink in their ledgers during their last reporting date. The following is a look at how a number of companies managed to find new revenue streams while maintaining existing ones. (Sales figures are in millions.)

Arandell Corp.

Menomonee Falls, WI

Most Recent FY Sales: $231.9M

Previous FY Sales: $213.40M

Number of Employees: 675

Number of Plants: 1

Arandell Corp. bowed in 1949 under the leadership of F.E. Treis. In 1981 the company began to expand its business and acquired a company that opened the door to web offset printing. By the end of 1982, the printer had shed its general commercial offerings, such as annual reports, calendars and brochures, in favor of a developing marketing media known as catalogs. Its first major client was Neiman Marcus, and that was the gateway leading to clients in major cities such as Atlanta and New York, followed by an expansion throughout the country.

"We've been mailing since 1985 and been working in database marketing since 1989," says Donald Treis, son of the founder. "Those are the services that have really been drivers to growth as we compete against alternative media.

"We've managed to stay state-of-the-art in technologies. We were one of the first to implement Heidelberg's M-3000 ("Sunday") web press technology. We have one of the largest concentrations of M-3000s to serve the catalog marketplace in one location."

Treis notes that the catalog marketplace has driven his operation to continue to expand all its technology. "We have dedicated ourselves to watching our larger competitors—copy what they do and try to do it as well. We're comfortable that this has been a factor in our ongoing growth."

Treis feels the catalog production marketplace has been one of process flow. Customers want reductions in turnaround times and pricing. "To the consumer, this has driven the whole software explosion, certainly in our plant," he says."It's driving the other technologies.

"A few years ago, we moved from analog technology into digital prepress. We're going to be fully stochastic (screening) within a couple of months. There's been a lot of conversation about proofing over the Internet, greater capacity in archiving and managing images. We need to remain on the cutting edge to be a capable supplier of what we believe will be a continually growing, dynamic catalog marketplace."
 

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