Bradford & Bigelow — Company on a Mission
LIKE TIGER Woods reading the greens on the 18th hole of the U.S. Open, John Galligan is a man who exhibits unflappable focus.
Galligan, the president of Newburyport, MA-based Bradford & Bigelow (B&B), knows what it takes to be successful as a book printer, and that entails keeping it simple. This $25 million printer, nestled about 30 miles north of Boston, specializes in one- and two-color 81⁄2x11˝ book production for the highly competitive elementary, high school (el-hi) and college textbook market. No four-color casebound, coffee table, 6x9˝ or 7x9˝ products.
If ever a company embodied the definition of “niche,” it would be Bradford & Bigelow.
“Several of the plants we compete against have multiple product lines. That’s a more complex business model to manage and it makes their capital investment more expensive,” Galligan says. “We keep investing in the 81⁄2x11˝ format to make our operation more efficient.
“We want standardization, scale and backup. With our focus, we can minimize makeready times on our print and bind platform and provide clients a better value package.”
The 110 employees of Bradford & Bigelow must be enjoying that focus after a truly transformational year. “Our objective,” says Galligan, “was to create an environmentally friendly, world-class supply chain solution for our customers.”
During 2007, the company moved from its previous home in Danvers, MA, to a new 100,000-square-foot facility in Newburyport; designed and installed a high-speed, fully integrated Digital Book Factory; expanded its conventional print and binding platform; and became the first book printer in North America to implement UV inks and drying technology on its Timsons web presses, eliminating all VOC emissions. All the while, Bradford & Bigelow stayed open for business.
Galligan expected the worst. But there were still unpleasant surprises.
“Relocation and transformation is a process you only want to go through once,” he admits. “Until you have done it, you do not realize how difficult, time-consuming, expensive and complex it is.”