Marshall & Bruce Printing Rebounds After Devastating Flood
“We told our customers that we would understand if they temporarily needed to work with another printer. That preserved a lot of relationships and we lost no major clients in the flood’s wake,” Smith reports.
Almost as devastating as the flood was the realization that he would need to reduce his workforce to save the company. The looming layoff haunted Smith and created as much anxiety as all the other issues. By far it was his most difficult task, he says.
As the KBA press was being rebuilt and returned to working condition, other key equipment needed to be replaced. Marshall & Bruce lost its platesetters and computer systems, as well as bindery equipment. Damage to its materials and paper were significant as well as finished goods. Luckily, the firm uses a three-tier storage system and only the first tier was damaged by the flood. In all, the firm’s loss was assessed at $2 million.
“We tried to celebrate the little victories,” recalls Smith. “When the press was first able to be turned on after the flood, we celebrated. When the press printed its first sheets again, we celebrated. When the main computer began to work again, we celebrated. Our entire company revolved around our KBA Rapida 105 press and the high quality of work we produced; if it didn’t work, we didn’t have a company. It’s the linchpin to our business.”
More than seven months later, Marshall & Bruce is almost back to normal from the flood.
“We’re one shift away on the press and we’re still down a few employees,” says Smith. “We just brought back two employees in late November.” Revenue took a hit; when the company reported its fiscal year sales, which ended in August 2010, it posted $10.5 million in sales, down from $12 million a year prior.
Marshall & Bruce Printing was founded in 1865 by Andrew Marshall and James Bruce with the goal of rendering a “greater measure of service than was necessary on any given occasion to study, strive, and to advance in the interests of its clientele.” Today the family-owned firm is one of the most modern and efficient printing firms in the region. Its 55,000 sq ft facility houses its KBA Rapida 105 41-inch sheetfed press as well as the latest in prepress equipment, computer-to-plate, a complete bindery, and quality control program. www.marbruco.com
KBA North America, located in Dallas, is a member of the KBA Group. KBA is one of the largest press manufacturers worldwide, with the broadest product range in the industry, and a key supplier to the global media industry. KBA’s core competence is the development and manufacture of technologically innovative printing systems and peripherals. The parent company is Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA) with facilities in Würzburg and Radebeul, Germany. www.kba.com