JOHNSBYRNE CO. — CREATING CUSTOMER PARTNERSHIPS
Founded in 1959 by John B. Gustafson, along with his parents John E. and Marie Byrne Gustafson, the company got its start as a shop on Printer’s Row in Chicago. The printer’s moniker was created by taking two Johns—the first name of both father and son—combined with Marie’s maiden name, Byrne.
So the company known as JohnsByrne was born, along with a mission to provide superior printing solutions and outstanding customer service. That focus is carried on by the current leadership—the four sons of John B. Gustafson: Corey, Jack, Mike and Pate—president, COO, and executive vice presidents, respectively.
This family owned and operated company strives to combine a history of quality and innovation with the latest technologies and best business practices. It’s a powerful combination that JohnsByrne’s executives believe will allow the printer to continually press the limits of technology to provide positive results for its clientele.
Corey Gustafson, the firm’s president, maintains a philosophy geared toward bringing value to Johns-Byrne’s customers. He strives to help his clients become more profitable, effective, innovative and responsive to their own customers.
“This could mean a variety of things to different clients,” he explains. “We possess impressive equipment and firepower, but we excel in other ways, as well. We have developed our own process of listening and consulting that I feel really helps our clients and sets us apart from the competition.”
JohnsByrne strives to create partner-oriented relationships in order to help its clients achieve their goals. To do this, the company invests in customer relationships, Corey Gustafson notes.
“We would rather dig deep with a customer than just skim the surface,” he assesses. “Doing this provides an environment rich in innovation and collaboration where we become an extension of the customer’s efforts and plans, bringing value in a quick, streamlined fashion that reflects today’s fast-paced business environment.
“We need to know our customers and their needs, and be able to deliver at the highest levels of competency,” he adds. “We find that we work best with those clients who seek excellence and who leverage their suppliers in more of a stakeholder way with a shared vision.”
This business tact has proven successful. The JohnsByrne Co. and its dedicated workforce of 185 employees have experienced healthy organic growth in the past few years. The printer has also made two strategic acquisitions that added new capabilities and capacity.
Last year JohnsByrne purchased the Midwest plant of Graphic Converting, a large trade finishing facility. The new company, since named Graphic Technologies, provides a full complement of postpress capabilities, including stamping, diecutting, folding, gluing, laminating and pack-out. The synergies between Graphic Technologies and JohnsByrne allow the companies to extend offerings to their commercial print customers, as well as specialty markets like point-of-sale (POS), trade finishing and luxury packaging.
“We saw this as crucial to our philosophy of becoming a fully integrated or turnkey offering,” points out Jack Gustafson, COO. “We can now sell deeper into some of our existing customers for their packaging needs. There are also a lot of opportunities that we really haven’t tapped into yet. We have all the personnel and equipment to grow that business.”
While the company’s execs are excited about its capabilities in the POS and packaging markets, they also feel that JohnsByrne has already set itself apart by producing specialty products, including printing on alternative, plastic or lenticular substrates; using exotic inks; and offering enhanced structural engineering.
The second acquisition, Chicago Printing—made in 2004—has allowed JohnsByrne to add to its commercial printing footprint.
“To be a provider of graphic solutions, we need to be committed to technology and the innovation and speed that it delivers,” Corey Gustafson contends. “This will get you in the game but, in order to truly win and provide more value to our customers, we need to look at ways to innovate with our equipment that others haven’t.”
The JohnsByrne Co. boasts 225,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities. All manufacturing is produced in a computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) environment connecting estimating through manufacturing and billing. Capabilities include prepress, printing and bindery. The all-Komori pressroom is equipped with both conventional and interdeck UV printing capability, as well as perfecting. This offers customers a wider variety of print configurations for maximum creative flexibility.
The subsidiary company, Graphic Technologies, is one of the largest finishing operations in the country touting 14 Bobst presses; eight automated diecutters, six foil stampers, seven folding machines and four folder/gluers, as well as a full-time pack-out and kitting service.
Being a leader on the technology front is nothing new for JohnsByrne. It was one of the first in the Midwest to adopt direct-to-plate technology, and has been lauded as an industry model for CIM. But technology is not always software you buy in a box, Corey Gustafson observes. “Our most recent acquisition (Graphic Converting) was also a purchase of technology,” the company president maintains.
Following the moves it has made and relationships it has forged, JohnsByrne is eager to continue expanding and is ready to explore new markets.
“We are at the point now where we’re digesting the acquisitions that we have made, and we have added some management talent and depth through these purchases,” Jack Gustafson concludes. “We are looking to continually grow and strengthen our business. JohnsByrne wants to be considered a world-class business partner, providing superior value to our clients.”