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Quebecor World Direct--Building Business, One Client at a Time

June 2000
From six individual companies (and eight original plants) to a unified, centralized and highly successful operation (it's No. 1 in personalized products and high-security, promotional games), Quebecor World Direct has emerged from the acquisition aftermath with a market-driven focus, new state-of-the-art "Mega Facility" and innovations that include a next-generation Internet sweepstakes device.


BY CHERYL A. ADAMS


Like the old Smith Barney line: We build our business one client at a time," says Mike Graham, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Quebecor World Direct (QWD).

One client at a time, QWD has "quietly" become a giant, a global leader, in direct mail marketing products. From six independent companies with eight facilities (all once fierce competitors) to a well-oiled, cohesive operation, QWD strategically positioned itself to become the world's No. 1 printer of personalized products and promotional games.

Quebecor World Direct has grown more than 300 percent since the new management team began three years ago, notes President Ronald Covelli, who says the company's bottom line has increased proportionally more than that. But he emphasizes that this mega-growth did not come easily. And it didn't come from simply acquiring and combining the operations (and revenues) of six different printing companies.

In fact, when Quebecor World Direct was formed through a series of mergers and acquisitions, the newly created company had a huge hurdle to overcome. How would it get these individual printing companies—each with its own products, services, sales teams, operating systems and business cultures—all headed in the same direction, working toward the same goal?

"It was an enormous challenge," Covelli explains. "How do you create a competitive, strategic direction for six unique entities? How do you weave them into a synergistic whole?

"The task was Herculean," he explains. "It meant centralizing the vital functions (all of the components) to drive the organization internally: sales, finance, estimating, scheduling, customer service, programming, plant management and so on. It also meant developing a team of very capable executives who could execute our strategic vision."

As monumental as the mission was, centralizing the company's internal operations was only half the challenge. The second problem Quebecor World Direct faced was what to do with all those customers who belonged to six former competitors and who were now combined into one, huge client base.

The question, Graham notes, was: How could Quebecor World Direct create a customer-based strategy—a single, unified platform—that would satisfy the market demands and needs of the all those clients?
 

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