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Q&A Tom Quadracci -- Rising to Challenges

January 2003
From Quad/Graphics’ perspective, 2002 will be remembered as the most difficult in the company’s 31-year history.

In July alone, a storage facility collapse and fire at its Lomira, WI, plant claimed the life of a contracted worker and, weeks later, company founder Harry V. Quadracci died after drowning in a lake near his home. Such tragedies would bring lesser companies to their knees. But Quad/Graphics has demonstrated an industry model, a corporate ideology, that bears both witnessing and emulating.

Thomas Quadracci is surrounded by employee children at one of Quad/Graphics’ in-house day care centers.
Tom Quadracci, who succeeded his brother as president and CEO, has taken time out from his busy schedule to provide Printing Impressions with a rare and exclusive interview. He sheds light on how the printer was able to endure the events of 2002, as well as its future.

PI: How was the year 2002 for Quad/Graphics from a business standpoint?

Quadracci: Despite an industry-wide decline in advertising and print-run counts brought about by economic uncertainty, we have taken strategic measures over the last year to reduce unnecessary costs and streamline operations. As a result, we’ve been able to deflect much of the negative impact of the economy, maintaining our reputation for quality and service while remaining financially viable. In fact, in 2002, we will post our best earnings year ever, despite flat sales.

Several years ago we introduced our “20-20-20” cycle-time initiative—an initiative to reduce the time it takes to produce client jobs from start to finish by 20 percent each year, year after year. The initiative addresses total cycle time, extending upstream to clients and how they provide files to us, as well as downstream into delivery to the U.S. Postal Service or to a newsstand. The goal is to make the manufacturing process as seamless as possible.

Clients use the time saved to improve their businesses, whether it be modifying catalog product pricing, extending ad close dates, or refining creative and editorial. As far as the printing industry, the initiative enhances the value and long-term viability of print.

We’ve condensed cycle times by automating and integrating all aspects of our manufacturing process—from division to division and plant to plant, and with our clients. Throughout Quad/Graphics’ 31-year history, we have chosen to grow through focused, internal expansion, rather than through acquisition. As a result, our plants are identically equipped and identically run.


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