COMMERCIAL PRINTING -- Running Lean and Mean
Speaking as chairman of a leading industry association, Branch asserts that "learning is everything. Printers need to get their organizations and people equipped to be learners." They need cultures that include everybody in what's going on, and to capitalize on the diverse ideas employees have while empowering them to solve customer problems, he says.
Michael Marcian Sr. recently completed a year of service as PIA/GATF's board chairman, in addition to being president of Corporate Press. Marcian says his company has been busy since the middle of 2003, and he currently is budgeting for 3 percent growth in 2004. One bright spot has been variable data, digital color printing, which has been showing phenomenal growth, he reports.
Since complaining about pricing accomplishes nothing, Corporate Press' management team has concentrated on coming to terms with the new market realities. "We're working harder than ever to take costs out of the process of putting ink on paper. Our profits are now higher than ever," he reveals.
"In traveling around the country as chairman of PIA, I've been amazed to see so many printers still expecting business to come back, prices to go up and for their companies to be more successful in the future, even though they are equipped the same way they were three years ago," Marcian continues. "The traditional commercial printer putting ink on paper with older equipment is not able to cut costs as much as shops that have invested in new technology. They are going to continue to hurt."
Less efficient shops had been able to get by because the industry's pricing structures, by and large, were still based on old equipment, he suggests. Technology is only part of the cost-cutting equation, but the new pricing structure is clearly built on fast, efficient equipment.