Quad/Graphics : An Affair to Remember
Quad went from 28 facilities, including a number of its famous mega-plants, to nearly 80. The employee base billowed from 11,000 to about 28,000 (now roughly 25,000).
The excitement is palpable. The former Worldcolor employees are being introduced to Quad's matrix management system. One of the biggest early challenges was getting enough of the trademark blue uniforms, which everyone immediately sought, wanting to be a part of something special. Plans are under way to make their facilities more efficient. Preventive maintenance is being stressed, a commitment Quadracci is backing up by targeting nearly half of the firm's 2011 budgeted capex—some $170 to $200 million—for improvements to address equipment maintenance.
The Quad company culture is slowly taking hold; Worldcolor émigrés are learning there are other ways to accomplish the same ends. It is OK for them to seek help, for the "every facility for itself" mentality doesn't exist at Quad. Quadracci is blown away by the talent level of the Worldcolor folks, but not surprised. For too long a time, workers at Quad's one-time rival were forced to fulfill customer expectations without state-of-the-art equipment.
"One thing that helped make the decision for us (to acquire Worldcolor) was knowing there were a lot of longtime printers who had been producing some real quality work without being given the proper tools," Quadracci remarks. "We used to refer to the Worldcolor folks as the Russian Air Force. We knew that they weren't investing in the platform properly, and that they were expected to do a lot with a little. That's what happened in the latter days of the Soviet Union...somehow, the pilots still made the planes fly.
"Before and during Worldcolor's bankruptcy process, we didn't hear of any complaints from customers about employees dropping the ball on their work. They actually held up quite well. They have a lot of experienced printers, some of whom even knew my father and my grandfather when they were at (the former) W.A. Krueger Co."
Related story: Quad/Graphics : Solving the Integration Puzzle