UBS Printing Group — Forging New Paths
The company also constructed its current plant, a 78,000-square-foot facility that opened in 2000, and is looking to obtain a current neighboring building to accommodate new equipment and satisfy the storage requirements that package printing demands.
Today, package printing accounts for about 60 percent of its $29 million in annual sales, followed by 25 percent for commercial printing and 15 percent for book printing. And when Hamrick looks to the future, he thinks of printing on plastics and increasing his capabilities toward that end.
“Commercial printing is now in a commodity world, not like it was before,” Hamrick notes. “Today, if you don’t offer quality, price and service, you’re out of business. In commercial printing, you now go up against several other bidders and the buyer assumes all of the printers are pretty much the same. To me, it’s a going-out-of-business plan to sit still while customers say ‘lower your price, lower your price, lower your price.’ Pricing becomes fierce because that becomes your only differentiation.
“As a result, printers can’t afford to buy new equipment or grow their businesses because they’re too busy trying to figure out how to run the job cheaper than the next guy,” he laments. “For us, the big focus of being competitive is being on the cutting edge of technology to set us apart.”
Last year was a successful one for UBS Printing, which increased sales by 6 percent over its 2003 revenues. That figure is more impressive in light of the multi-million dollar investment in changing the company’s entire sheetfed press line over to the KBA Rapidas. Hamrick credits his 75 employees for rallying around the cause for growth and innovation.
Speaking of which, Hamrick is a big fan of innovation and isn’t afraid to have his plant manager, Gilbert Ashdown, find innovative configurations for UBS’ equipment. For example, when manuals printing was a big part of its operation, Ashdown hooked roll-to-sheeters up to one of UBS’ sheetfed presses. By purchasing roll stock, the company gained a 25 percent discount off its sheetfed paper prices and was able to remain price competitive on the book front and still maintain sheetfed quality.
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