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Transcontinental Inc. -- Growth on the Horizon

May 2004
By Erik Cagle

Senior Editor

Luc Desjardins has many babies, and they all demand his constant attention. For the president and CEO of Montreal-based Transcontinental Inc., a constant eye is kept on one offspring in particular, named Horizon 2005.

There's little doubt that Horizon 2005 is being raised as, arguably, the biggest child in the Transcontinental family—one with promises of (C)$2 billion to (C)$3 billion in growth from its late 2001 inception through the year that bears its name. But among Transcontinental's plans of acquisition and internal growth are other key points of this multifaceted initiative:

* A major component of Horizon 2005 is a continuous improvement project to optimize its three-sector efficiencies. Included in this is a training program for employees and a leadership program for management. Transcontinental has a turnaround focus for less-profitable operations and follows the "Kiazen" program for continuous improvement, a methodology that stresses teamwork, communication and directing energy toward achieving a common goal.

Transcontinental is also developing a system with the same platform for the simplification of transactional and all back office operations.

* The company boasts a disciplined finance and M&A approach to growth, while maintaining financial flexibility and solid financial performance.

Desjardins
"Horizon 2005 is really a complete orientation for the organization—growth through acquisition and internal growth development, systems, operations and simplifying back offices. Equally important is to be world class and become more efficient every day and in everything that we do," Desjardins explains. "We called it Horizon 2005 because we knew we couldn't accomplish all of that in one year. It is going extremely well, as planned, with some positive surprises in the operational efficiency costs. We are very pleased with year-to-year improvement."

Transcontinental, which recorded (C)$1.9 billion in revenues for fiscal 2003, employs more than 12,000 in Canada, the United States and Mexico. In Canada, it boasts top or secondary market share in the printing of direct marketing products, inserts, flyers, books, newspapers, magazines, catalogs and directories. It is also active in media-related businesses such as door-to-door distribution of advertising material, development and integration of Web-based solutions, and the electronic aggregation of news and business information.

The company made significant inroads on its growth by acquisition initiative with the December 2003 purchase of U.S. direct marketing specialist CC3, a (U.S.)$127 million business that delivers 1.5 billion marketing pieces per year.
 

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