Edison Lithograph & Printing : Where Big Is BeautifulJanuary 2011 By Erik Cagle
In the final analysis, Edison Lithograph & Printing could be a stalwart commercial, large-format, packaging and trade printer, and let it go at that. Were that the extent of Edison Litho's resumé, however, the company probably would not be in business very long.
Edison Litho is a bit of a rare bird. It has all of these wondrous capabilities—powered by a trio of large-format KBA sheetfed offset presses—and leading positions in the retail, entertainment and packaging sectors. And, if that weren't enough, 40 percent of Edison Litho's brick-and-mortar business constitutes work for the trade. Despite this, or maybe because of it, that isn't enough to keep the multifaceted printer in the lead pack of the New York metro market.
Just ask Shelly Tocci, sales manager for Edison Litho. Tocci believes the secret to her company being able to gain a dominant position in the retail market is to excel in aspects beyond printing. Being able to produce a nice dot might get you there, but only the ability to deliver—literally—will keep you there.
"We started out modest with smaller retailers," she explains. "We took the time to understand their businesses, learn their needs and recognize that change is constant, particularly with in-store signage.
The Total Package
"We've realized that no matter how good of a printer we are, if we don't fulfill and kit pack properly, and on time, then it doesn't help anybody. Thus, we became great at kitting and packing, which have helped to grow our business. Our word-of-mouth reputation for our large-format printing and turnkey fulfillment capabilities has raised our awareness within the retail circles."
Like any successful printer that deals both direct with its own sales force and addresses the needs of other printers, there aren't many products that Edison Litho can't generate. Aside from point-of- purchase (POP) displays and retail signage, packaging and large-format work such as billboards, the company produces books, magazines and catalogs, directories, envelopes, flyers, greeting cards, newsletters, presentation folders and sell sheets. In addition to the aforementioned retail and packaging clients, Edison also addresses the needs of the cosmetics, automotive and communications markets.
The North Bergen, NJ, company, which employs 240, enjoyed a solid 2010 with sales in the $30 million range. Much of that success, from a heavy-iron standpoint, can be attributed to its trio of large-format KBA presses: two six-color, 81˝ Rapida 205s with coaters; and a six-color, 64˝ Rapida 162 with coater. The most recent Rapida 205, installed in 2008—making Edison the first North American printer operating two 81˝ KBA presses—is equipped with a custom plastics package with full UV interdeck drying system and back cylinder chillers. Edison's pressroom also includes an eight-unit, 38˝ Nebiolo heatset web press.
Money Is in Makereadies
Joe Ostreicher, COO, notes that the KBA sheetfeds (all of which have been installed in the last five years) have significantly whittled down job make- ready times that used to consume hours. He believes the presses also fulfill the need for the G7-qualified printer to attain perfection within the large-format color and quality realms. And multiple large-format sheetfed presses, he adds, provide an advantage that many competitors, and almost no trade printers, can match.
"The fact that we have two 81˝ presses puts us in a different league," Ostreicher contends. "One plus one does not equal two. If a rush job comes in, we can put it on-press almost immediately. Within hours, we can process, proof and print your job."
Roger Morel, quality control manager at Edison Litho, also points to the 205 UV press' capability to print on plastics and canvas—virtually any substrate. Working in tandem with UV ink manufacturers, Edison Litho is constantly testing to find new possibilities for customers.
Needless to say, serving both direct clients and other printers, while offering such a wide breadth of product and service capabilities in quick-turnaround fashion, dictates that materials be available immediately. That was Edison's driving force behind the decision to acquire a 64˝ GMC sheeter some years ago.
"Most paper companies stock paper for 40˝ presses. Anything above that, the bigger sheets, is in rolls," explains George Gross, president and CEO of Edison Litho, which was founded by his father, Isidore. "It used to take us three to five days or more to get paper from our paper suppliers. Now, we can get the paper we need the next day, and get a job on-press almost immediately. We stock a large amount of rolls and can sheet whatever grade is needed on-demand."
Speaking of in-house convenience, Edison Litho has a "soup kitchen," a.k.a. ink lab, on-site, manned by a representative from a well-known ink company. This accessibility is vital for Edison to be able to replicate any special corporate or PMS colors.
Still, all the equipment and accreditations that the industry can offer alone do not make for a successful print shop. Tocci relishes the open-door policy implemented by the ownership team (George Gross, his sister/CFO Susan Ostreicher and brother-in-law/COO Joe Ostreicher). That lack of bureaucracy has fostered an environment of employee input and decision making that leads to satisfied customers and workers. At the shop floor level, all production people take great pride and ownership in what they do, from start to finish.
"What is also important is the foresight of our three owners," Tocci says. "From a sales perspective, they've never hesitated to respond to customer needs by making major investments in our future. As technology and the industry changes, our ownership remains open to any suggestions that can help grow our business."
Going forward, Edison Litho plans to upgrade its finishing department with more automated diecutting and mounting equipment. On the front end, the company is also working on streamlining and upgrading its estimating, billing and other administrative functions.
And, while Edison Litho knows its place in the printing industry, that doesn't stop it from striving to become one of the top large-format printers in the country. "We don't pretend to be something that we're not," Tocci remarks.
"We are a really great large- format printer with the expertise and the knowledge to handle projects and get them done on time. We understand the business and the industries that we serve." PI