Quality, Quick Turnarounds Are Key to Access Direct Mail's PI 350 Fast-Track Growth
Topping the annual honor roll of the Printing Impressions 350 are its “Fast Track” companies: a sampling of those with significantly higher rates of year-over-year revenue growth than other listees. We profiled six outstanding performers.
It’s important to remember that the year-over-year sales figures reported by PI 350 companies are for the most recently completed fiscal year, and the one immediately preceding it. This means that in 2020 — for the majority of the companies that report calendar fiscal years — we are presenting 2019 versus 2018 comparisons that do not reflect the economic impact of COVID-19 on the industry, although nearly every listee experienced its effects at some point during the year.
However, we believe that the 2020 PI 350 remains an accurate index of the business strength and structural diversity that the printing industry will continue to display once the pandemic is finally behind it. As we hope profiles like the one below show, the attributes that put printing companies on the fast track are constants in the industry. They’re available at all times for other companies to emulate and, by sharing these stories of excellence, that’s precisely what we’re encouraging everyone who reads them to do.
Our congratulations to 2020’s Printing Impressions 350 Fast-Track firms, and our best wishes to all printing companies who made the most of a tough year.
Access Direct Mail, Sarasota, Fla.
Most Recent Fiscal Year Sales: $9.1 Million
Previous Fiscal Year Sales: $5.7 Million
Percentage Growth: 58%
Many former Long Islanders have relocated to Florida, but only a handful have started printing businesses upon arriving there. Even fewer have demonstrated the kind of staying power that has enabled Dori Ann Giglio to keep Access Direct Mail growing and prosperous after 36 years of continuous operation.
The start in 1984 was modest: a lettershop serving a few accounts out of a 1,500-sq.-ft. space where none of the printing was done, all of that coming from local print shops for whom Giglio did the mailing. She soon saw that when these customers weren’t timely with their parts of the work, the pressure on her shop would go up. The printed matter might be dropped off late, “but the mail date never changes,” she says.
This led her to conclude that Access Direct Mail needed to function as a full-service direct mail house. By 1994, it was on its way to becoming one, in larger quarters that housed a small-format offset press sporting a T-head for an extra color with black. A six-color offset press eventually followed, as did a fleet of eight color laser toner printers, some inserting equipment, and another move to the 13,500-sq.-ft. plant the business currently occupies.
The shop was all digital after Giglio sold the six-color press two years ago. By that time, Access Direct Mail was serving a loyal customer base that included debt collection agencies, producers of financial planning seminars, not-for-profit organizations, and small businesses in and around Sarasota. Giglio remembers thinking the shop had reached the limit of its productive capacity — until she made an investment last year that changed the volume and sales picture entirely.
‘More Time for Other Work’
This was a Screen Truepress Jet520HD Series inkjet web press, the 1,500th unit of the device to be installed worldwide. Supported by finishing equipment from Standard Hunkeler and Pitney Bowes, the press has markedly increased the shop’s output and streamlined its workflow. Just as important, the combination of equipment has also done away with spoilage, overtime charges, overruns, and error-causing touches.
“All of that has been eliminated, and we’ve made more time for other work,” Giglio says. The extra time lets the shop take on jobs it couldn’t previously handle, including long runs that the Truepress Jet520HD produces along with short-run, variably printed work.
“There used to be so many more touches on a piece of mail,” Giglio observes. “The press is what helps us to run lean.” In the old days, she recalls, it might take three to four days to get a job fully printed, dried, and otherwise prepped for inserting — but not now, with rolls from the Truepress Jet520HD ready to go straight to finishing.
One recurring job of two million pieces used to need five days of round-the-clock production to complete, including many laborious passes through a guillotine cutter. Running as fast as the inkjet press, the programmable Hunkeler equipment trims and perforates to the exact dimensions that the variable output requires, enabling the shop to get the job done in just two days of normal hours.
Fewer Boxes, Greater Space
The quality of the 1,200 dpi printing, according to Giglio, is consistent from start to finish, and from job to job. So much of the work has migrated to the Truepress Jet520HD that the establishment now retains only one of its color lasers. “There is a lot more room in my building” as a result, she says.
Giglio has further expanded Access Direct Mail’s reach with creative, omnichannel, and social media marketing services that complement its strengths in direct mail. She continues to be the company’s sole salesperson, handling many of the same accounts that have been with her since the beginning.
Giglio says that with the help of “a lot of faith,” she and her 15 employees have managed to sustain the momentum of the business throughout the siege of COVID-19. “We haven’t missed a day this year,” she declares, adding that staying focused on quality, consistency, and speed of turnaround is still the winning combination “that keeps our customers happy.”