Williamson Printing -- In Full Bloom
For a company that's constantly looking for an edge, and pushing its own research and development people to find more ways to enhance processes, the four-press splurge by Williamson Printing is a significant vote of confidence in how well 2005 should shape up.
"The industry was already in a slump at the start of 2001," notes Jerry Williamson. "When 9/11 hit, it really knocked the legs out from underneath us. Our sales dropped about 25 percent. We're not back to where we were before, but we're making good progress.
"This year was the best we've had in the last four," he adds. "We think the future looks bright."
Williamson Printing, which registered about $75 million in sales for its fiscal year ending June 30, specializes in corporate annual reports and high-end automotive books. With 400 full-time employees, the company performs a majority of its work for advertising agencies and design firms, providing them with high-end commercial work, direct mail and magazine inserts. Long runs are a Williamson trademark.
Thus, with their incumbent Heidelbergs racking up high mileage, the Williamson brothers huddled with their executive team roughly six months before the Drupa exhibition and made the call to upgrade existing presses and add new technology.
"We continue to see improvement in our sales projections," says Jesse Williamson. "In the first quarter of this year, our sales were double what they'd been the last two years. We projected that the market was going to change for the better.
"We produce difficult, non-compromising printing jobs, so the equipment has to be maintained at the highest level," he stresses. "After 150 million impressions, it became a situation where to keep the presses as tight as possible and meet our customers' expectations, we needed to make these investments."
Ironic Financial Turn
Actually, the economic downturn enabled Williamson Printing to better position itself for the equipment investment campaign, according to Woody Dixon, executive vice president of finance and administration.