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Global Document Solutions — On the Fast Track

May 2007 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
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THE BEAUTY of the commercial printing industry, particularly in the past five to 10 years, is its ability to adapt and evolve in the face of changing technologies. Clearly, the digital printing revolution and the move toward providing ancillary services to complete a turnkey solution is the most recent example of this evolution. But it is not the first threat to this mature industry, nor will it be the last.

A case in point is Global Document Solutions (GDS) of New York City, a once traditional print and mail company founded in 1906 that, as recently as the 1980s, found itself in the crowded field of offering offset, letterpress, typesetting and old-fashioned direct mail (insert into envelope and mail). At its centennial celebration, GDS bears little resemblance to its founding father’s vision (the company was originally called American Direct Mail), but its current day CEO has fulfilled the ultimate goal of any business-to-business enterprise—evolving to satisfy the needs of its customers.

In that regard, some things never change.

“We try to communicate proactively with our customers to understand their goals and objectives and, through that, come back to them with solutions that allow them to get a higher return on their investment,” states Mark Goodstadt, chairman and CEO of GDS.

Interestingly, these core values could have been found in the company’s original mission statement from 1906 as easily as 2006. It goes without saying that the stakes have been raised 100 fold, and GDS didn’t get to blow out so many candles by standing pat.

GDS holds claim to being one of the early adopters of Xerox’s iGen3 digital press technology, with nearly four years of full-color digital imaging under its belt. The company, which generates more than $50 million in annual revenues on the strength of its 300-member employee base, also boasts IBM continuous form imaging capabilities and recently expanded into high speed color imaging with the acquisition of a high-speed Océ VarioPrint 9000 system.

GDS’ integrated business communications and document processing services space has grown exponentially with the expansion into a 130,000-square-foot plant in Carlstadt, NJ. The new digs, which opened in January, houses its creative, printing and mailing operations, along with a high-speed data center that links it to GDS’ Manhattan headquarters and the Metrotech facility in Brooklyn, as well as its other processing site in San Francisco. The headquarters, too, is being relocated on Hudson Street.

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