2019 Best-in-Class Innovator: Pocket Folders Fast Uses Special Effects to Change Perceptions
Innovators don’t come to their plants in the morning saying to themselves, “Today, I’m going to innovate.” That’s not what innovation is about. It’s more a reflex than a behavior — a continuous state of mind that leads both deliberately and serendipitously to transformative results.
The printing industry’s innovators are energetic, inquisitive, and intrepid people who don’t wait for things to happen. Sometimes they strategize outcomes. At other times, facing threat or opportunity, they instinctively choose the right course of action. Either way, these relentless innovators always manage to achieve something that lifts their companies to new levels of capability, performance, and profitability.
The accounts of 12 businesses that exemplify innovation in the printing industry came together in the October issue of Printing Impressions. All of the profiles, one of which appears below, are based on interviews with the sources and on their responses to questionnaires filled out in support of their applications to be selected as Printing Impressions’ “Innovator of the Year” for 2019.
Word association test: “premium.” Answer in the printing trade: “pocket folder.”
That, at least, is the response likeliest to be heard at Wright Printing, a trade shop on a mission to turn this familiar, 9x12˝ paper caddy into something more: as Mardra Sikora, CEO, puts it, “a sensory, human experience” that is delightful as well as utilitarian.
The company has set out to accomplish it through Pocket Folders Fast, a business launched in 2016 by Mark Wright, Sikora’s father and the owner of Wright Printing. Catering exclusively to commercial printers, brokers, and print resellers, Pocket Folders Fast helps its customers increase their margins on pocket folders with enhancements that include variable digital printing, dimensional and high-gloss UV, matte and soft touch lamination, polyfoil, and laser diecutting.
Pocket Folders Fast is, according to Sikora, “the most uniquely equipped trade printer” for applying special effects like these. Its workhorse digital platforms are a pair of Fujifilm J Press 720S inkjet presses, a Fujifilm J Press 750S, and a Fujifilm Acuity UV flatbed printer. A Kama foil stamper, Steinemann UV coater, and a Scodix Ultra Pro digital enhancement press are among the devices furnishing the post-print pizazz.
“Don’t consider a folder a commodity when you resell it,” Sikora urges her customers, when it could be something more along the lines of the personalized, laser-engraved, foil-brightened samples that Pocket Folders Fast uses to promote itself at printing trade shows, and in mass mailings to commercial printers. She emphasizes that by applying these techniques, resellers can make folders “a tangible and memorable part of the experience” they’re connected with for not much more money than plain folders would have cost.
“Our challenge, as a national provider, is to demonstrate this range of possibilities both for our clients and for them to educate their clients,” Sikora says. “Chances are, if there is a need for only 50 folders, there is also the likelihood that the ordering customer also knows exactly who these folders are going to. Let’s make the most of this and not give them a commodity, but a personal welcome.”
Pocket Folders Fast has demonstrated how this can be done in projects such as the assignment it received to produce 25 custom-shaped, full-color folders for an event in Dubai on a very short turnaround. At the other end of the quantity range, a run of 25,000 pieces for a broker’s real estate customer was delivered courtesy of the Fujifilm J Press 750S — a machine that Sikora says “gave us the option to run this larger run on the same equipment as the short runs, and stay consistent and competitive for our client.”
Sikora says that pre-production samples and design assistance help her customers understand “how a folder can connect all the dots together” when its creative possibilities are fully realized. This keeps them coming back to Pocket Folders Fast, she adds, instead of scouring the Internet for commodity providers.
Raising this awareness among customers is key. For a trade printer, Sikora concludes, innovation isn’t simply about producing. In her company’s case, it’s also about encouraging the print community to see pocket folders in a new light: as high-value products “that complement the human experience” wherever they’re used.