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Next Generation Printing — Namesake Says It All

June 2008 By Cheryl Adams
Managing Editor
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PAUL ROTHSTEIN was selling thermal copy paper (remember that stuff?) out of the back of a borrowed car in 1973. In a former life, he had been a business machine salesman, but suddenly realized that the “real” market was in consumable sales. Looking past the obvious (his traveling salesman selling-out-of-the-back-of-a-car routine), Rothstein saw that there was a growing demand for quality, customer-oriented, fast-turnaround printing.

Shortly thereafter, Canton, MA-based Copytech was born.

In those days, Copytech had a single one-color press and a desktop folder. If the press operator (one of three employees) called in sick, Rothstein had to run the press. Fortunately for him, the pressman rarely missed work, so he was able to concentrate on his main job: selling print. And, sell printing is exactly what Rothstein did—and with a passion. The more he sold, the more money he made, the more he invested in equipment, and the bigger the business grew.

Two decades later, Copytech had grown into a profitable, reputable company—and it had caught the eye of a powerful player that wanted to buy it. The deal went through without a hitch and, in 1995, Rothstein sold Copytech to Lanier Worldwide. The hitches came later, though, when his beloved company started heading south a few years after being sold.

“After several years of Lanier ownership, Paul wanted to purchase the company back,” explains John Rothstein, Nextgen’s current president, an attorney by trade and Paul Rothstein’s son. “When the opportunity came about in 2002 to buy back the depleted assets of Copytech, I started working on various aspects of the somewhat complicated transaction from my law office in New Jersey. (The company was renamed Next Generation Printing, or Nextgen, after the sell-back to the Rothsteins.) Before I knew it, I was spending half my day on Nextgen work—both in the area of law and business strategy.”

Unfortunately, in the years between the sale of Copytech and its subsequent repurchase, the company was reduced to a shell of its former self. Sales were a fraction of where they had been in the Copytech days—and a long way from where they needed to be for Nextgen to survive. When Paul Rothstein sold Copytech, it was generating $15 million in annual revenues. By 2001, sales were less than $3 million.

It would take new technology, new services and new management to turn the business around.

With son John Rothstein (president), father Paul Rothstein (CEO) and long-time industry veteran Bob Fleming (vice president) at the helm, a massive construction project took place and the newly re-acquired printing business relocated. Once their 48,000-square-foot facility was completed, the Rothsteins started filling it with state-of-the-art equipment.

Today, Massachusetts-based Nextgen is a leading printing and marketing services provider that has found success in anticipating and embracing the latest technologies and market trends, as well as in the sheer number and types of services it offers.

Nextgen offers a full suite of services, including traditional offset printing, static and variable data digital printing, Web-to-print solutions, automated marketing systems and e-mail communications, as well as full prepress, bindery, mailing and fulfillment services.

Nextgen lives up to its namesake, not only because it embraces next-generation technology, but also because it embraces a next-generation, forward-thinking business strategy. Instead of competing with other printers, Nextgen partners with them, acting as a trade printer and filling in gaps in fellow printers’ capabilities.

In addition to servicing other printers and print brokers, Nextgen’s client base includes colleges, medical and pharmaceutical companies, and a wide range of businesses and organizations in need of commercial printing and marketing services.

Hooked on Digital

The company’s cache of high-tech equipment spans from prepress to bindery, mailing and fulfillment, but centers, of course, on the pressroom. There, printing technologies range from Heidelberg sheetfed presses (two 40˝ and one 29˝) and an HP DesignJet 5000 (for wide-format work) to a small army of Kodak Digimasters (for monochrome digital jobs).

In August 2006, Nextgen upgraded its digital color fleet with the addition of a six-color HP Indigo 5000, followed by a Canon imagePRESS C7000 the next year.

With 90 employees and $12 million in annual revenues, the company is also experiencing highly favorable (and profitable) results from newer product offerings, especially its Web-to-print services.

“Our Web-to-print solution allows us to create fully customized Websites that make ordering printing and marketing materials simple for companies with widely disbursed personnel. Dunkin Donuts, for example, is taking advantage of this particular opportunity,” he reveals.

Nextgen is successful because of its wide range of product offerings and its ability to house them under one roof. However, John Rothstein maintains that there’s another not-so-well-known ingredient in the company’s core assets: the people who work there.

“The Nextgen team has been at the heart of our growth and is why our customers know they can rely on us,” he says. “Our people make it possible for us to turn a job very quickly, sometimes in about 24 hours in emergency situations. Although we have a lot of equipment, a great facility and the latest technology, it is our employees—many of whom have been here for 15 to 20 years—that really make Nextgen successful.

“As we look to the future, we will do what we have always done. Look at what is next—the next trend, the next piece of software, the next type of equipment—and figure out how we can utilize that to help our customers print for, market to, and communicate with their clients.

“Here at Nextgen,” concludes Rothstein, “the future has never been brighter.” PI



Pulling Out All the Stops

Offering several, diverse solutions all under one roof is one of the many reasons Nextgen has been experiencing growth in the highly competitive commercial printing market, says John Rothstein, president. As an example, he describes a recent job that entailed almost every department in his shop.

“Our customer wanted to reach their entire audience across many media channels, including print, Web, radio and newspaper. We started by creating compelling graphics and copy. Using the same graphics and copy across each of the various types of media, we were able to communicate in a visually consistent way. Next, we printed offset shells in full color that were imprinted on black-and-white digital equipment with personalized information for 250,000 recipients.

“The letter directed the recipient to a Web landing page, where a survey allowed an interactive conversation to begin,” Rothstein continues. “The Web landing pages were versioned for each of the various types of media. Basically, each media outlet and mailing list was coded to allow for a detailed analysis of response rates.”

In review: Nextgen employed traditional offset and digital variable data printing and Web landing pages, as well as direct mail and radio and news-paper ads, to communicate a consistent message.

And that was just phase 1, Rothstein points out. Phase 2 started once people hit the Web landing page, where they would fill out a survey. Once completed, the person received an electronic “thank you” note via e-mail. But, at the same time, that information would automatically be sent to Nextgen’s fulfillment department.

“Armed with the survey responses and a predetermined set of business rules, our fulfillment department put together kits based on the respondent’s survey choices,” Rothstein explains. “For example, if John Smith indicated that he likes playing tennis and golf, he got a set of materials geared to those who play sports. If Jane Doe responded that she likes museums and fine dining, the kit she received would focus on area restaurants and attractions.

“Thus, even though our customer was selling the same item—a time-share—and Nextgen was shipping out hundreds of packages a day, the recipient felt that their desires alone were being addressed.”

At project’s end, Nextgen’s customers received exactly what they wanted, Rothstein asserts—a complex, yet successful campaign, all without the need to manage a half dozen vendors and the stress and pressure that all those tasks can bring. This was interactive communication meeting a customer’s need, all under one roof.
 

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