Global Printing : Creating the Right MixAugust 2011 By Julie Greenbaum
"We knew that, in order to grow, we would have to put all of our resources into the Global Thinking model. We had the product offerings in place that our customers needed to help them start developing comprehensive marketing/publishing plans."
The recession also inspired the team to continue to fine- tune its Global Thinking sales pitch, but finding the expertise they would need to continue to grow that part of the business was not so simple. According to Budington, the company's indirect labor costs grew significantly, while overall revenue remained flat. As the company's business grew, it also needed access to more capital, but credit was very difficult to obtain in 2009.
"The recession tested my confidence," he recalls. "While most of our competitors were shedding jobs, I had a difficult time justifying the Global Thinking staff overhead. It can be very difficult to stick to your long-term goals in uncertain economic times. I spent a great deal of time explaining our business plan and showing the results to our bank and vendors."
Surviving Tough Times
But the company already had something going for it, and that was momentum. According to Kowal, there was already a lot of drive behind the business and the way it was growing right up to the recession.
"Like most companies during that time, there was some cost- cutting...there's no question about that. We were like everyone else in that regard," he emphasizes. "But, we attribute our growth to our strategy-led business model that continues to attract plenty of organic growth. Our Global Thinking unit has helped us expand and deepen our customer relationships. We have also been able to map our approach on to acquisition targets, as well as to attract new recruits with great relationships of their own."
Four years later, Kowal adds, Global Thinking has become a platform that is fully capable of standing on its own. "But, as an integrated company," he points out, "Global Printing and Global Thinking can do so much more than a typical creative agency or printing company because its expertise spans interactive marketing, as well as print."
Budington reports that the company as a whole has experienced its fastest growth rate ever, reporting double-digit growth during the span of the recession with only one flat year. In the past seven years, Global Printing's annual sales have grown from $4 million to $16 million.
"It is remarkable how the company started and how successful it has become," Dreo remarks. He recalls the time when Global was just a small print shop housing an assortment of old duplicators with rubber bands holding the parts together.
"This was the era before electrostatic duplicating, so all jobs had to be printed on-press," he adds. "We recognized at that time that short-run overnight printing, coupled with a relatively small capital equipment requirement, was a great business plan and worked this business model successfully for many years. As printing moved more into color, we continued this model with color printing and also with electrostatic digital printing."
Today, Global Printing's pressroom has expanded in size and features five Heidelbergs—a two-color Speedmaster 74; a five-color Speedmaster 74 perfector; a six-color Speedmaster 74 perfector with coater; a two-color Quickmaster; and a two-color Printmaster GTO. On the digital end, it operates two Kodak Digimaster 9110 digital printers, as well as a six-color HP Indigo 5500 with IndiChrome technology.
The company also maintains an in-house bindery, and in-house mailing and fulfillment services.
A Global Reach
Global Printing employs 120 staff members and operates out of two facilities; its main printing facility is 22,000 square feet, with a separate 15,000-square-foot fulfillment and assembly plant. The business serves clients in the United States, Canada and Europe.
Budington owes much of Global's success—as well as his own—to Dreo, who took him under his wing right after he graduated from RIT 20 years ago. "While I had a good understanding of printing, my business skills were non-existent," Budington recalls.
"Jerry immediately took over as my business mentor and, as my responsibilities grew, he allowed me to learn from my own mistakes. We've been through a good deal together, and we remain great friends."
Moving forward, Budington foresees that the digital end of the business will continue to grow, and comprise the bulk of Global's equipment investments in the future.
While Global Printing's growth over the past few years has continued at a fast pace, Budington says he wouldn't have it any other way. "There's just so much going on here throughout the day and on the weekends," he concludes.
"For people who have been in other printing companies that have been beaten down by the economy, this is truly an exciting place to be. Everyone is running around with a sense of purpose." PI