Signature Card — What’s in Your Wallet?February 2008 By Cheryl Adams
Signature Card started out as a small plastic card printer focused on printing discount and fundraiser cards. “The company hobbled along, just keeping its nose above water,” says Farris, noting that Signature Card has been in business 11 years through three sets of owners. Mounting debts forced the sale of the business in 2002 to its second owner, who had extensive operational background, but no printing knowledge.
The second owner was able to regain profitability, adding additional press lines and staff to expand the business into direct and small reseller channels. A Web-based advertising initiative was started to let the world know that Signature Card was available for short-run plastic card production.
In 2004, the third and current set of owners purchased Signature Card. The acquisition team comprised three individuals: Farris, Tom Kissell and Michael Gallant.
“Michael heads up finance, marketing and HR. Tom oversees production. My focus is sales,” Farris continues. “The partnership works perfectly with everyone sharing the common goal of producing a great customer experience and establishing Signature Card as the premier short-run producer of customized plastic cards in North America.”
The hard work has paid off, as Signature Card has nearly quadrupled in volume in the past three and a half years. Today, the company—with nearly $8 million in annual sales—employs two shifts, has a fully automated system for complete job tracking, and the data department fills a wing in the building.
Farris credits the company’s success to its employees and points to the fact that Signature has little turnover in its staff. “We truly foster an all-for-one and family attitude within our company. The common goal is zero defects, and we are constantly going through process improvements within every department to streamline order flow and eliminate mistakes. Because a plastic card goes through so many ‘touches’ in its lifecycle, one mistake by one individual will nullify all of the hard work done by the team.”
Another area of achievement for the three partner-owners is the company’s tracking software that streams quotes directly from the Web into the sales department’s quoting system. “We take great pride in our rapid response to a customer inquiry. We consider ourselves sales consultants, not order takers. This same software enables every employee to access a customer and their projects from any terminal in the facility. It empowers every employee to be a customer-focused representative and able to provide immediate status as to where their job is within our plant.”
With graphics, printing, production, personalization, fulfillment and shipping all within one facility, Farris concludes that he and his partners see Signature Card doubling its capacity within the next 12 months—adding more printing and personalization lines to the infrastructure, as the plastic card industry continues to grow into every facet of everyday life. PI