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Standard Register: Where Innovation Has Led to a Century of Success

July 2014 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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To say the world of printed communications has undergone dramatic and even violent changes in the past 20 years would be something of an understatement. Even the past 10 years have witnessed changes that would have seemed unimaginable back in 2004. And, just imagine what 2024 may have to offer.

One of the venerable members of the printing and related services set is Standard Register, the Dayton, OH-based firm founded 102 years ago on the strength of Theodore Schirmer's pinfeed autographic register. Schirmer garnered a patent for feeding continuous forms through the autographic register, sold soon-to-be company founder John Sherman on the idea, and it became the industry "standard," hence the company name.

Frankly, the history lesson on Standard Register's product and service offerings, be it from 1912 or 2012, is somewhat moot. The larger point is that this firm has survived through the years, written and rewritten its business plan, and continues on the path of relevancy, as evidenced by its $720 million sales performance in 2013.

Innovation is king. That autographic register must have floored people during the Taft Administration and, 17 presidents later, the company maintains its innovative spirit. But what keeps the lights on is Standard Register's ability to closely monitor the needs of its client base and provide solutions—whether cranked out on manual machines or distributed via electronic dissemination.

"We're in a world where content is king, and how you purpose or repurpose that content is what drives the business," observes Joseph Morgan Jr., president and CEO of Standard Register. "Through the whole journey, we understand both workflow and content. Historically, we provided the structure by which content could be captured. That's essentially what a business form is. Today, we still do that, but more often than not, we combine the structure with the content and present it in an electronic and digital environment. Then it gets applied to paper."

Standard Register serves a number of key vertical markets, including health care, financial services, manufacturing and retail. Much of what the company provides entails marketing services, critical communications/customer communications and product marketing decoration.

Analytics to Maximize ROI

For example, Standard Register's Critical Communications Solution offers single-source design, production, processing, mailing/transmitting and fulfillment of printed and electronic documents. The firm uses analytics to enable its clients to better measure and understand the effectiveness of these communications, and to make necessary adjustments to yield optimal results.



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