QUALITY GRAPHICS CENTER -- An Office Romance
With the help of her husband, Audrey Yeats offers new
technology and high-end customer service to her clients.
BY CAROLINE MILLER
In 1956, Audrey Yeats not only fell in love with her husband Richard Yeats, she also fell in love with printing.
"When I met my husband, he had just opened up a little print shop. We used to have our dates in the print shop," Yeats remembers with a smile. Their "work dates," as Audrey refers to them, were also a time for her to learn the graphic arts trade. "Together, the two of us built the business. Slowly, we began to add one employee after another," she says.
Over the years that small print shop has evolved into Quality Graphics Center in Roselle, NJ, and Audrey Yeats has evolved from a print shop neophyte to the president of Quality Graphics. Today, Quality Graphics is a digital prepress and commercial printing operation with 45 employees, generating more than $8 million in annual sales.
While Yeats has been involved with the intimate details of running the business from the beginning, her tenure as president began in 1996 after her husband resigned his post. "I had been performing the duties of the president all along. We've never had a rigid line of control here," she remarks. "We always worked by consensus, not by majority.
Sticking with Sales
Richard Yeats decided to step down as president, but maintain his position as chairman of the board and continue his sales duties. Now, with a woman at the helm, the company could pursue certification as a female-owned business enterprise with the New Jersey Department of Commerce. This certification enabled them to pursue printing contracts with larger corporations, which do business with the government.
"We are now reaching toward preferred vendor status with these corporations. We don't want to be just the small, woman-owned business getting a little piece of the pie," she explains. "What we are looking for is to have this certification open the door for us. We want to walk through the door and show them what we are capable of producing," Yeats remarks.
What Quality Graphics is capable of producing is impressive. The company has won several Gold Ink and Premier Print Awards over the years. Its clients include pharmaceutical companies, utilities, colleges and universities, and major manufacturers. "We specialize in high-end, high-quality work such as annual reports, catalogs and promotional materials," she reveals. Not only does Quality Graphics specialize in high-end work, it also specializes in high-end service.
"We put a major emphasis on our customer service. Clients have our home numbers, and they can reach us whenever necessary," she says. Part of that commitment to customer service is education, reports Yeats. Quality Graphics regularly runs customer education seminars. They also send regular newsletters to their customers, giving concept and design tips, as well as updates on their latest upgrades.
According to Yeats, the once-traditional industry mode of doing business often meant keeping customers ignorant to ensure their dependence on printers. "It was a case of they didn't know how to do it and you did," she describes. It's a tradition Quality Graphics has long since broken.
"We've known for a long time that the better educated customers are, the better able they are able to make intelligent decisions. When they can make intelligent decisions, we can do a better job for them," she notes.
A major part of Quality Graphics' desire to provide excellent customer service is being able to provide customers with cutting-edge technology that meet their needs.
Quality Graphics offers its customers a complete digital prepress department, which includes an Agfa Galileo digital platesetter, a PGI Polaproof Prediction digital color proofing system and a PGI Polaproof 2230 Gold digital color proofing system; a complete finishing department; as well as two six-color, 28x40˝ Mitsubishi sheetfed presses, a two-color, 14x20˝ Hamada C252E-SF and a two-color, 10x15˝ Hamada 550 CDA press.
"We made the shift to CTP four years ago, while other companies are just now beginning to research computer-to-plate," she notes. Quality Graphics does still offer a conventional prepress department for those who still require film output, but Yeats believes the future is CTP. "We put a lot of research into CTP and, ultimately, we decided that the Agfa unit would work well for us. Our customers are thrilled with CTP; they can make any needed changes right up to the last minute," she adds.
Always willing to lead the way in new technology, Quality Graphics recently installed a Harris & Bruno LithoCoat tower coater conversion on one of its 40˝ sheetfed presses. Quality Graphics claims it is now one of only three printing facilities in New Jersey that offers in-line UV coating. "We've always been a pioneer when it comes to technology. We're always ready to look at the next step," she says.
Yeats credits Quality Graphics' willingness to embrace new technology as key to their growth and success. "We keep going to all these seminars and various industry top management conferences because they give us a look into the future. Instead of being paralyzed with fear, we are excited. We know we have the capabilities to harness the technology and to profit by it."
Yeats sees a future full of potential for Quality Graphics. "We plan to develop a distribution system, as well getting more into mailing services. We want to expand our finishing capabilities, so there is less and less that we have to send outside," Yeats notes.