WOA Offset and Beyond — Challenges, Opportunities

Jim Andersen, president and CEO of Chanhassen, MN-based IWCO Direct

JIM ANDERSEN is arguably the most well-known figure in the direct mail printing realm. The president and CEO of Chanhassen, MN-based IWCO Direct was a key advocate in the decade-long struggle to enact postal reform, which was finally achieved at the end of 2006. He met with politicians and sat down with key leaders of other industries to protect the interest of their common goal: a viable, enduring U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Andersen took the helm at IWCO Direct in April of 1999. As an equity partner, Andersen tapped his wide-ranging business experiences in guiding IWCO Direct–experiences that include more than 20 years in the manufacturing industry. He spent 13 years with the former Banta Corp., serving three years as president of Banta Information Services Group and Global Turnkey. Andersen had oversight of 13 manufacturing facilities, including five overseas operations, with gross sales exceeding $330 million.

He also spent eight years with Banta Direct Marketing Group as executive vice president, sales and marketing.

Andersen is one of the keynote speakers scheduled for the upcoming Offset and Beyond conference in suburban Chicago. Below, he discusses IWCO Direct’s outlook and what we can expect for the direct mail sector with Erik Cagle of Printing Impressions.

PI: With the U.S. economy pointing toward a recession and the USPS reporting declines in volume, what is the general mood in the direct mail printing community as we speak?

ANDERSEN: If history repeats itself, the mood in the direct mail printing community should be one of (very) cautious optimism. During times of economic slowdown, direct mail is typically impacted less than other segments because its effectiveness is easily measured and return on investment is a simple calculation. We conducted a survey of our top customers and prospects late last year, and the results were encouraging. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed said their volume would grow in 2008 or remain the same as 2007.

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    This man was in Printing Impressions Magazine for being one of the fastest growing largest Direct Mail printers in the USA. He bought a plant in NY. And then he bought Cox in Elm City, NC. And invested thirty million in the plant, he bought two ten color Drent Gobal presses, five or six envelope converters and two high speed mail sorting machines. He shut down NY and a few months later NC. He now has decided to purchase TransContinental. I feel for all employees save your money and get ready for your lifes to change. He is only worried about himself! And there is thousands of people that agree! But I truely wish you all the best!