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PERRY JUDD'S -- Standing Out From the Crowd

May 2002
-- Standing Out From the Crowd

BY ERIK CAGLE


Remember the comic strip, "The Far Side," by Gary Larson? One particular strip from the semi-retired master of the single panel showed two cockroaches having a conversation amidst a sea of insects. One of the creatures remarks to the other, "Think about it, Ed . . . the class Insecta contains 26 orders, almost 1,000 families and over 750,000 described species—but I can't shake the feeling we're all just a bunch of bugs."

There is a perception of the commercial printing industry that—despite the differing specializations, capabilities and equipment that graphic arts establishments can offer to prospective clients—the entire lot of them are just a bunch of printers. Despite their differences and market niches, commercial printers are often perceived by print buyers as being the same: commodity providers.

The executive team at Perry Judd's includes, from the left, Craig Hutchison, president and CEO; Beth Lindsay, senior vice president of human resources; David Glick, executive vice president of operations; and Verne Schmidt, senior vice president of finance and CFO.
"In order for there to be a point of differentiation," states Craig Hutchison, president and CEO of Waterloo, WI-based Perry Judd's, "a customer must perceive that there's a difference in working with one provider as compared to another. The difference needs to be important to the customer and meaningful in terms of meeting the objectives for his/her business. That difference needs to be consistent and supported by the provider throughout the relationship with the customer over the long term."

Standing out from the crowd has been the primary focus at Perry Judd's, and the numbers substantiate the claim: $321 million in fiscal 2001 sales. This magazine and catalog printer employs 2,400 across its five-facility network, with plants located in Baraboo, WI; Waterloo, WI; Spencer, IA; Madison, WI (a digital prepress facility); and Strasburg, VA.

Mountains of Magazines

Perry Judd's offers state-of-the-art capabilities for short-, medium- and long-run magazines across the full range of publishing, from weeklies to monthlies and bi-monthlies—both subscription and newsstand—for the business-to-business, consumer and trade and religious markets.

Its catalog printing and distribution work—also encompassing all volume sizes for consumer and business-to-business segments—accounts for slightly less than a third of its revenues.

The company, owned by The Milhous Group of Boca Raton, FL, was created by the 1997 merger of Perry Graphic Communications and Judd's Inc., as well as the 1999 acquisition of Heartland Press. The transactions' primary goals were to strengthen all three businesses through a number of strategic initiatives. They include:
 

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