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Kay Printing — The Miracle Makers

June 2008
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KAY PRINTING, of Clifton, NJ, advertises itself as the printer you go to “When you need a printing miracle” and, for more than 30 years, it has consistently delivered results for clients that may seem almost, well, miraculous.

It isn’t due to miracles, of course; it’s the result of focus and hard work. “We’ll surprise a customer once in a while—surprise in a good way,” says Rich Kirschenbaum, founder and president. “But we aren’t really magicians. We’re a company that’s dead serious about giving clients what they need, when they need it and how they need it.”

Kay Printing’s ability to do that is based on several factors, but the primary one is ferocious attention to detail. “You don’t miss, it’s as simple as that,” Kirschenbaum adds. “It’s just not allowable. The competition is too stiff. The turnarounds are too tight, and the market is too unforgiving. You manage not to miss—ever—by doing what you do very well, all of the time, and paying attention. That’s how you make miracles.”

Kirschenbaum founded Kay Printing in 1974, specializing in one- and two-color work. During the first year, the company did less than $1 million in business and, like most startups, struggled to show a profit. Since then, however, through good economies and bad, and through all the ups and downs the graphic arts industry has gone through, the firm has grown and prospered. It now has 60 employees and annual revenues of about $14.5 million. Kay’s most recent fiscal year, which ended October 31, was its strongest year yet.

Evolving Through It All

Over the course of its development, the company has evolved as a provider of services. The small one- and two-color presses of yesterday have given way to a stable of four-, five- and six-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmasters, supplemented by a full bindery, fulfillment department, digital prepress operation, as well as a satellite sales office in the Princeton, NJ, area.

“We’ve moved with the market,” Kirschenbaum notes. “When we see a capability our customers need and are willing to pay for, we implement it.”

In 2005, Kay Printing made a serious investment in its own future by moving from Englewood, NJ, to a 50,000-square-foot plant with small and large press capability in Clifton, conveniently located nine miles from New York City.

The centerpiece of the prepress department is an automated Fuji direct-to-plate system. Prepress is located downstairs, positioned to feed plates to the pressroom, which in turn feeds finished sheets directly into the bindery. Beyond the bindery is packing and shipping, so that work comes in a straight line through the presses, through cutting, through the bindery and out the door.


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