GLS Companies -- Getting Into the Fold
Mailing is an important part of the GLS success story. And, as with most things at GLS, the move into mailing and distribution came as a result of trying to better serve its clientele.
"The Twin Cities is an interesting market, and I believe the fourth or fifth largest market for printing in the United States," Garner says. "Printing and its allied industries is the second largest employer in Minnesota, and 70 percent of what we print ships out of state—so printing is truly big business here."
There are many large printers in the Minneapolis area. The company knew that in order to grow they needed to expand into the national market. "The big barrier to going national has always been freight. By using the Postal Service as a delivery vehicle we knew we could compete anywhere in the country," recalls Garner.
The company went out and bought a labeler and an inserting machine so it could take work from its regional customers and roll it out nationally. "Because of consolidation and mergers, we've seen some of our customers move out of town, only to end up calling us because of a problem with their new supplier," Garner adds. "So this has helped us expand and grow within the geographic areas we serve. Now we probably do 20 to 25 percent of our work outside of our home market."
Packaging is also one of GLS' potential growth areas. Currently it makes up 10 to 12 percent of its business, but the company feels its printing capabilities and other available services gives it a tremendous opportunity to expand.
"We've been training our sales force on our new capabilities, terminology, paper types and printing characteristics that packaging customers may be looking for," Garner reveals. "We're tying this into selling all our services together—from creation through fulfillment and distribution."