Steckel Printing–Adapting and Innovating

Once the decision was made, the company committed itself to finding the brightest people possible for front-end work.

“It was a necessary step,” says Joe O’Connor, Steckel’s COO/CFO, “and the influx of new staff proved to be a real catalyst. We hired the best people from wherever we could find them, giving us a tremendous mesh of styles, backgrounds and experience. They came together with existing staff and spurred forward the entrepreneurial aims of the company.”

A year later, Steckel had grown so quickly that it required additional space and moved to its current address. Four months later, the company’s first six-color 40˝ Heidelberg press was installed and, just a year after that, renovations were begun to provide still more space. The company’s digital prepress system, one of the first built around an open-architecture concept, was established in 1992.

The same year also witnessed the start of what Givler and O’Connor both consider the most important component of Steckel’s current success. “We turned to our own people for solutions,” Givler says, referring to the company’s continuous improvement program begun in 1992 by her late husband and Steckel’s former owner, Henry G. Givler.

“Henry believed in quality service and the people who work here,” she says. “Many firms of our size at that time, about $9 million annually, weren’t able or willing to make the financial commitment to put a quality management process in place. But Henry knew it was necessary.”

O’Connor agrees. “Henry understood fully that a company has to move forward,” he says, “and he counted on the talents and ideas of his workers. He took 24 people to a four-day, very intense series of sessions and workshops put on by 3M in June of ’92.

Quality Theories
“We learned about systems used by major corporations and the theories of Philip Crosby and Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Then we came home and set up our own in-house program, complete with handbook, vision and mission statements, everything. Basically, we plotted the future for this company and did so with every person’s involvement.”

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