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FINLAY — REDEFINING AN INDUSTRY

May 2005 BY ERIK CAGLE
Senior Editor
The term printer almost carries a negative connotation these days. Label a company a “commercial printer,” and the prevailing feeling is that the business has been painted into a corner, a dead end of sorts.

Certainly, this is not the case, but a new generation of companies that derive profit from putting ink on paper for customers has all but disavowed the term “printer.” Look at 75 percent of the companies that have changed their name in recent years. The word “printer” has been stricken from the name and corporate logo.

Still, the movement is less about signaling a dying art and more a trumpet of the evolutionary revolution that has swept the graphic arts industry, particularly since the recessionary blanket that smothered many a longstanding printing company in the first couple years of the 21st century.

Yes, the evolution was born out of necessity, but it was also a cleansing and invigorating movement that has ushered in an era of full-service, end-to-end product development, management, production and distribution. The printer has morphed into a solutions provider, keeping its customers in-house from start to finish, reducing vendors and costs in the process.

Case in point: Finlay Printing. Correction: just plain Finlay, thank you.

“We are so not a printer,” beams Kevin Kalagher, CEO of the Bloomfield, CT-based company that employs 100 people and now carries the tagline ‘Delivering Success.’ “We’re offering a lot of things that, 10 years ago, we didn’t provide.”

By the way, this particular next generation of not-a-printer is 130 years young. The establishment’s longevity is credited to the notion of addressing the needs of its customers and letting the client dictate future endeavors.

From a traditionalist standpoint, Finlay is a general commercial sheetfed printer. But its product and service offering has blossomed into every aspect of business that supports all of the needs of its clientele, from project management to digital asset management, from sales force automation systems to digital printing, and from fulfillment to distribution.

Not All Ink-based
Printing is, of course, all part of the package. But it is a package that offers much, much more.

In the process, Finlay continues to grow by avoiding the business potholes that have shredded the tires of longtime printers. Finlay doesn’t seek jobs, it forges partnerships. The company doesn’t battle for a slice of the pie, it bakes an entire cart of desserts.

“We try to develop accounts and don’t pursue the bid, price-only situation that so many printers have gotten caught up into,” says Kevin Kalagher, part of a one-two executive punch along with brother Todd, Finlay’s president.
 

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