Ripon Printers: A Midwestern Delight
Lyke & Co. also keep the hard copy faith with a quarterly printed newsletter, PressLines, which touches on current issues and keeps customers abreast of what's going on at Ripon Printers.
In keeping with its quest to provide high-quality printing in conjunction with competitive pricing, Ripon is six-plus years into its lean manufacturing initiative. While continuous improvement has always been a goal for the firm, the lean playbook has provided the tools to allow it to become more disciplined and augment efforts to eliminate all types of waste in the office and production. The company has also received more than 3,000 suggestions from employees as part of the movement, both subtle and substantial, which have helped spur now-implemented innovations.
Horn-Prochno notes that the firm's four cornerstones are efficiency, quality, turnaround time and safety. She has a soft spot for spoilage reduction. "If we get the percentage of spoilage and waste down to a minimum, that's a great accomplishment in my book," Horn-Prochno says. "If that percentage drops, it tells me we're doing a better job."
While Lyke isn't ready to throw his hat into the M&A ring and become the next Joe Davis of Consolidated Graphics fame, he is focused on realizing measured growth through strategic investments in equipment. Fiscal responsibility has long been a hallmark for Ripon Printers, and the path to growth in the catalog space is paved with ancillary offerings.
"We also see an uptick in direct mail and digital personalization," Hopp says. "We're working on implementing PURLs and other personalized elements into direct mail. We stop short of being a full-blown marketing services provider; the customer still needs to have a marketing plan, but we can help them with the implementation."
As Ripon Printers embarks on its next 50 years, Lyke envisions taking the same fundamental approach that has produced positive results during the first half-century of business. Its unwavering loyalty to both clients and employees—as evidenced by their strong length of service record—and the modest, hard-working Midwestern ethos should provide the groundwork, regardless of what new technologies come down the road.