Think Patented : Leading a RevolutionAugust 2011 By Erik Cagle
One of the primary elements of any successful revolution is the ability to change how people think. In the case of the printing industry, the revolution afoot is one of survival, of technology and redefining and reinvention. This revolution emanates from the corner office, and it protects those who are brave and humble enough to admit that some time-tested traditions are highly prone to failure tomorrow.
It's really about keeping one's feet moving, and that has certainly been the case with Dayton, OH-based Think Patented. The firm had been happily doing business as a sheetfed business—Patented Printing—through the turn of the millennium. The world of commercial printing was changing all around the 80-employee operation and, like most small- to medium-sized firms, it was in danger of following a path to irrelevance, if not obsolescence. But once the paths of two industry veterans crossed in 2005, the crystal ball became less cloudy.
Ken McNerney had joined the company in 2003, having logged 32 years in the graphic arts industry. Niels Winther had been a well-known executive on the supply side of the industry for many years, and aspired to garner a seat in the captain's chair of a printing company. They met in late 2005 and, by the following March 31, an acquisition deal was in place for the new co-owners that would continue to reshape, and grow, the southwestern Ohio printer.
Wait...printer? Not exactly.
"We always strive to be different, to stay ahead of the curve," observes Ken McNerney, company CEO. "We don't believe that print is dying, but solely ink-on-paper companies are dying. When I came on board, we were a commercial printer. Then, we became a graphic communications company, then a solutions provider, then a marketing services provider. I'm not sure we even know what that is, but we became one. Today, we've become a cross-media services provider.
"Our goal is to help our customers communicate, to touch their clients—whether that be customer acquisition or account retention. We look at how we can touch them via the printed piece, the highly targeted personal piece, e-mail blasts and mobile marketing. We're into helping our clientele communicate in multiple ways, with print being a big part of it."
Expanded Service Menu
Just a few short years later, the rechristened Think Patented boasts digital static and variable data printing, mailing, fulfillment, promotional products and other Web-based solutions to go with its sheetfed offset printing arsenal, which is led by a pair of six-color, 40˝ Komori Lithrone presses with double aqueous and UV coaters.