A Bullish Bowne
"Our marketplace is experiencing continual change in the document building process," Varty remarks. "Five years ago, our main focus was on electronic typesetting and enhancing our proprietary system—the Bowne Integrated Typesetting System (BITS). In the last three to four years we saw the move to electronic delivery and developed BowneLink. BowneLink fundamentally changed the way we receive customer files and send proofs. More recently, we added a major link in our worldwide distributive printing network with the opening of our South Bend (IN) plant."
Swanson notes that Bowne's print manufacturing centers are digitally networked, permitting the company to move or share work on a seamless and economic basis among facilities. This allows Bowne's customers to have their work printed and delivered nearest to their investors and customers, which is especially critical as lead times continue to come under pressure.
As the Internet and various modes of information transfer become more prevalent, the means of communication have become more personalized. Customers are telling Bowne they want to personalize certain communications—financial statements or shareholder communications—on a one-to-one basis.
"If the thrust of the Internet is to communicate to people, not only in a broadcast manner, but in a one-to-one manner... then the print world is going to have to follow suit," Swanson remarks. "That's why we created Bowne Digital Solutions, which is basically the bridge between traditional, financial print and the Internet. It is a key part of the reinvention of Bowne in the way we distribute our customers' information.
Strictly ink-on-paper has given way to information management and distribution; while the message remains the same, the delivery has evolved somewhat.
"Our core competency at Bowne is the ability to acquire or create a customer's data, then make that data into a communication," he adds. "In the past, our customers had always asked us to print documents and physically file financial documents with the SEC. Today, they're asking us to disseminate those documents that we helped create via BowneLink to our plants around the world; convert and file the documents in EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering and Retrieval system) II format to the SEC; and convert them to html or PDFs that are placed on a customer's Website—sometimes before we print the job.