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L.P. Thebault--Into the Next Century

January 1999
In an age of industry consolidation, LPT—a family-owned commercial printer—is bracing for the competitive, digital challenges of printing in the year 2000.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Hello January 1999! Quite an interesting time for a privately held commercial printer.

How does a family-owned operation position itself for growth and stability in a time of massive industry consolidation? What expansion strategies can aid a traditional offset and digital printer to compete in an increasingly more on-demand, service-oriented environment? How are mid-size commercial printers bracing for the technological challenges of printing in the year 2000?

The L.P. Thebault Group of Companies (LPT), of Parsippany, NJ, is ready to answer those questions as the clock ticks to 2000. Founded in 1954 by Louis P. Thebault, the privately held printing company currently operates digital, sheetfed offset, half- and full-web offset presses; a sophisticated computer-to-plate environment; as well as a strong Internet initiative.

Is LPT extraordinary?

In a variety of ways, it is quite extraordinary. In most ways, LPT is much like other independent,

family-owned printing operations in the United States. As this century clicks to a close, LPT is exploring digital technologies, reinvesting in its own capabilities, capitalizing on the merits of a digitally minded top management team and recalibrating itself to handle the demands of an all-digital workflow—from prepress to the bindery.

LPT is moving in an on-demand direction as well, with continued investments in digital color printing and variable-data software technologies to assist LPT in marketing its digital printing power.

ThebaultDI.com—the firm's digital color and Web-To-Print printing division—is capable of reacting quickly to orders for variable-data printing, thanks to LPT's investment in Agfa Chromapress technology to print short-run, personalized collateral. Web-To-Print is LPT's e-commerce offering—an Internet-based order-on-demand system that allows clients to personalize print products.

The motivation for LPT's aggressive technology push is obvious; in fact, many family-owned commercial printers found themselves marching on a similar technology path over the past two years. New technologies open up new markets, new services, new strengths—new ways of satisfying long-time customers and winning new clientele.

J. Brian Thebault, CEO and chairman, explains. "The competitive arena in the commercial printing industry has changed from competing with family-owned organizations to competing on entirely new playing fields with billion-dollar enterprises that hold unlimited resources," Thebault states. "Projecting into 1999 and beyond, we knew we needed to craft new strategies for growth."

As 1999 begins, LPT employs 450 workers at three manufacturing sites in New Jersey and services clients including world-renowned businesses, ad agencies and design firms with needs varying from annual reports to promotional pieces to customized direct mail products.
 

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