'People and Market Position' Propel 'Fast-Track' Company Phase:3 Forward
Topping the annual honor roll of the Printing Impressions 400 are its “Fast Track” companies: those with significantly higher rates of year-over-year revenue growth than the majority of other listees. One of the six exceptional strivers are profiled here.
Their stories reaffirm that whatever else may be said about the state of the printing industry, its enterprising business-people still know how to make money in ways that revenue leaders in any other industry would be the first to recognize and endorse.
Although it always seems a bit facile to search for “common denominators” in distinctive stories like these, our “Fast-Track Firms” do exhibit some shared traits of excellence.
One of them, surely, is staying locked onto customer satisfaction as the ultimate objective of everything that happens in the planning and the execution of a job.
Another is scrupulously measuring all steps of execution to make sure that the objective is being upheld.
Not as tangible, but no less crucial, is leadership: engendering the kind of pervasive enthusiasm that inspires pride of accomplishment as it spurs everyone in the organization to make the next job even better than the one that preceded it.
These are best practices that all printing businesses can emulate, and by publishing these exemplary vignettes, that is exactly what we are encouraging all of our readers to do. We salute the Fast-Track companies and to all of the other enterprises joining them on the 2019 Printing Impressions 400 list.
PHASE:3 MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS, ATLANTA
Most Recent Fiscal Year Sales: $34.3 Million
Previous Fiscal Year Sales: $26.3 Million
Percentage Growth: 30%
The Printing Impressions 400 isn’t the only roster of distinction that this hybrid PSP/marcomm agency has earned a place upon. For two consecutive years, Phase:3 was named by Inc. magazine as one of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing private companies — a recognition of how effective its strategies for growth have proven to be.
According to Ken Holsclaw, co-founder and president, the company owes its success to having achieved “market positioning of ideation to execution.” This is another way of saying that Phase:3, by virtue of its combined print shop and agency capabilities, literally can do it all for customers with audiences to reach and messages to communicate.
Some of the expansion on the print side of the business has come from two notable acquisitions during the past 20 months: FLM Group of Fairfield, N.J., operating in place as a division of Phase:3; and IMAGERS of Atlanta, a tuck-in. These mergers have given the parent company a three-plant platform, a workforce of 230, and a full menu of service offerings from offset, digital, and wide-format printing, to warehousing and fulfillment, fabrication, installation, architectural signage, and permanent POP displays.
About seven years ago, says Holsclaw, Phase:3 began to expand its creative department into a full-service, in-house marcomm agency that supports customers in need of design, marketing, public relations, and media buying assistance. He notes that because the company’s agency and PSP functions are fully integrated for ideation-to-execution assignments, Phase:3 can develop marketing plans and then carry them out in any way the customer desires.
In April of 2019, the company announced that it was consolidating all of its assets under the Phase:3 brand: its Atlanta operations; Gigantic Color, a Dallas-based wide-format provider acquired in 2012; and FLM. Holsclaw says the inclusion of the Fairfield, N.J. firm is strategically important for two reasons: first, because it gives Phase:3 a presence in the New York City metropolitan market, which Fairfield is located in; and because FLM adds 40˝ lithographic capability to Phase:3’s all-digital production profile.
Holsclaw says that while the profile isn’t meant “to have too much iron” in it, full-size offset rounds out the service offering and complements what Phase:3 can do with its small- and large-format digital printing systems. Migrating some 40˝ offset work to digital output is part of the plan, he adds.
Holsclaw says customer service at Phase:3 is built around two things: the customer-focused attitudes of the employees; and a proprietary e-commerce system the company has relied on since its founding in 2001.
“People and market position” will sustain the momentum going forward, he predicts, along with the potential acquisition of a plant in the Midwest to further broaden its regional footprint.