Visual Systems Inc. -- Deeper than TransparentOctober 2005
VSI and FiberLok partner with publishers to create decorative book covers and jackets. Lextra offers a variety of features such as rich texture, intense color and durability.
"Adding the Lextra product to our book cover capabilities has generated a buzz in the industry," explains Brad Haywood, manager of business development. "Publishers are always looking for a fresh finishing technique that will help their products stand out in the marketplace. Lextra offers design and decorating capabilities that have not been seen in the educational publishing world."
What the Future Holds
Book components are VSI's future, Hengsbach says, and BaseOne is the future of book components. Lextra is also an important addition to VSI's book component capabilities.
"BaseOne reduces the cost of the cover while improving its appearance, increasing durability and reducing weight," Hengsbach points out. "Special effects and innovative products like Lextra are also an integral part of BaseOne and book components—they feed each other."
With moves such as these, VSI is poised for a bright future. The company experienced a 60 percent growth spurt last year while maintaining profit leader status. It boasts annual sales of $14 million, houses a staff of 76 employees and fills 64,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
To help out with this boom in business, so far this year VSI has purchased a new multi-color Heidelberg sheetfed press; a Creo platesetter; a Polar cutter; a multi-station collator; and a new bindery line. Heidelberg's Prinergy workflow was also implemented.
On the drawing board, Hengsbach says, is a new digital press, a new perfect binder, as well as additional laminating, foil stamping and embossing equipment.
"VSI constantly looks at improving production through new equipment, technology and overall process improvement," he maintains.
Keeping up on the latest industry trends and equipment has payed off mightily for VSI. The company has been honored with numerous industry awards, including Gold Ink Awards (Printing Impressions/PrintMedia), Premier Print Awards (Printing Industries of America) and Graphic Excellence Awards (Printing Industries of Wisconsin).
It has also been named a Best Workplace in America four years in a row by the Printing Industries of America and recognized as "the best best company to work for in Southeastern Wisconsin" by Milwaukee Magazine and The Management Resource Association.
"It is an honor to be recognized on both a local and national level for the culture at Visual Systems," says Brenda Aulik, human resources manager. "We take great pride in developing and training each of our associates, and go the extra mile to recruit and retain the best of the best."
No Stopping Now
The company has no plans to stop and admire what it has already accomplished, however. In the next few years, VSI plans to continue to grow rapidly due to three points:
* Providing new products and offering creativity.
* Strong market growth.
* A stable history and highly competent associates.
"The challenge will be to keep the growth orderly and the costs reasonable," Hengsbach concludes. "BaseOne has every chance to revolutionize the way book covers are produced, and VSI will be putting every resource into making a lasting improvement in book manufacturing."