Drummond: Third Generation And Still Stronger Than Ever
Based in Jacksonville, Fla., Drummond has built a reputation as an industry trendsetter for good reason. While it got its start in 1939 as a commercial printer, starting in 2006, the company has actively evolved and expanded into new technologies, new services, and new opportunities, keeping it fresh and relevant to its customers.
Today, John Falconetti — the third generation and grandson of the original founders, John and “Peaches” Drummond — serves as the chairman and CEO, with a vision of what the future should look like. There were two major shifts that happened, he notes, both of them contributing to the mindset that the company could be so much more than just a commercial printer.
“We inherently began to feel as if we could operate at a higher level,” Falconetti notes. “Through various conversations and research, we adopted a new program — continuous improvement through adoption of Lean manufacturing, that later matured into Lean Six Sigma and ISO certifications. We also embraced new and emerging technology that has resulted in driving client-facing solutions such as our proprietary WaveLength platform, and support of our internal tracking of KPIs.”
And adoption of new technology isn’t just a catchphrase, either. Drummond consists of three locations — in addition to the original facility in Florida, it also has plants in Detroit and Atlanta. Between them there are 10 digital presses, eight pieces of equipment dedicated to mailing and fulfillment, one web offset press, nine sheetfed offset presses, eight wide-format inkjet printers, four wide-format cutters, and a host of bindery and finishing equipment. Drummond is a G7 Master Printer qualified printer, and has a robust environmental policy in place, which allows it to work with brands that require sustainability and transparency throughout the supply chain.
And that’s just on the equipment side. The result: there is very little a customer could walk through the door requesting that Drummond couldn’t provide.
Growth Through Expansion
Some of that growth, in both locations and the impressive equipment list, came from acquisitions, which Drummond has used to expand its scope and acquire the skills and technologies necessary to hit the ground running in new markets and verticals without breaking a proverbial sweat.
That M&A strategy wasn’t one the company just fell into — it was a deliberate decision to ensure the firm could continue to find success through diversification and new offerings, even as the role of commercial printers was beginning to change in the broader industry. A few of the highlights of that M&A strategy include the acquisitions of Hilcraft Engraving in Miami; Trade Engraving in Orlando; Douglas Printing in Jacksonville; Graphic Communications in Atlanta; Sunbelt Printing in Atlanta; ProGraphics Communications in Atlanta; and PSP Retail in Decatur, Ga.
Controlling the Entire Process
“At a management retreat in 2010, we charted a new course and vision for Drummond,” Falconetti recalls. “We felt that to bring unparalleled value to our clients, we needed to control the production life cycle for most all branded materials (print, direct mail, signage and graphics, promotional products, apparel, etc.), develop a premier distribution/fulfillment strategy, and continue to focus on a frictionless client experience.”
This plan, and the associated timeline Drummond developed, would require growth through acquisitions. “We have made tremendous progress in realizing this initial vision, and remain active in our pursuit of acquiring other businesses. We will most certainly make other acquisitions during the next 12-18 months,” he says.
Overall, Falconetti explains that the reason behind the diverse acquisitions is the pursuit of innovation, not just a need to expand the company’s equipment list. “We began to invest heavily in innovation programs about two years ago,” he explains. “The genesis in doing so was an objectively measured need in the marketplace. Prospects and customers are hungry for innovation that addresses their critical concerns and objectives. Our process is to engage clients in terms of their desired outcomes, then work backwards to create an ideal workflow/solution in terms of their ROI, speed to market, compliance, and critical objectives.”
And while the pandemic certainly had an impact — just as it has on virtually every other printer across the country — Falconetti notes that it has also served to highlight that focus on innovation and serving customers in previously unexpected ways.
“Our response to COVID-19 is a perfect example of how our investment in innovation benefits our clients and Drummond as a whole,” he says. “Early on, we engaged our team to work with health care professionals, attorneys, and lobbyists in an effort to provide comprehensive workplace safety solutions and products to the market. Examples of this work are shown through the Online Assessment we created so companies could self-assess their risk. This technology could also be merged with floor plans that would highlight specific needs to meet CDC, OSHA, and local government compliance issues. Additionally, we came to market with custom products such as safety signage and safety partitions.”
COVID hasn’t slowed the company down completely, either. Looking ahead 12-18 months, Falconetti says the focus will include continued improvements to production, but will also focus on enhancements to other technologies that complement the print side of the business, such as an enhanced store profiling module to support vertical markets such retail, health care, finance, and education; more sophisticated e-commerce and MIS functionality; “lights out” workflow automation and integration; and omnichannel marketing solutions — all in the name of providing any product, service, or application a customer might need, and tie it all together across multiple platforms, not just print.
It’s a business model that has evolved over more than a decade, but that doesn't mean other commercial printers can't employ it as well, according to Falconetti. “Take the time to truly understand what your clients/prospects need, and how you plan to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. After thoughtful planning, process all opportunities through a standardized ROI/IRR study that prioritizes returns — but most importantly always focuses on the value that you bring to the market.”
It is good advice for those trying to determine how to proceed in a post-COVID world, for an industry that was already dealing with convergence and the pressures of competition from all sides. As Falconetti demonstrates, Drummond is a perfect example of how embracing change and finding new ways to serve not only current customers, but future needs, can be a game-changer.