RR Donnelley -- Giant Transformation
"Ours is a more holistic approach to thinking about a solution," he notes. "We're investing in inventory management solutions that leverage off our expertise and knowledge around our customers' business, content management, digital distribution of content, printing, as well as working with the distribution channels and our customers to move their product to where the consumer demand is."
Davis believes that the book industry has made great strides over the past few years, particularly in the education segment. "We did a very good job of maintaining on-time deliveries during a very busy educational book market last year. That was definitely a high point," Davis notes.
This business ($679 million in 2002 sales) is broken into two segments: directories (yellow and white pages) and just-in-time manufacturing and distribution of technical manuals. Of the former, Donnelley has grown into the largest printer of directories in the world, according to Susan Henricks, president of telecommunications solutions, with 10 directory-dedicated plants in the United States, Chile, China and the United Kingdom.
According to Henricks, RR Donnelley has developed electronic applications that walk hand-in-hand with the printed product. "We've learned to extend the value of customers' content across print and electronic channels," Henricks states. "We did some consumer research in tandem with one of our major directory customers. This research showed us that through multi-channeling—in other words, having yellow pages in different media—content usage actually increases. Electronic and print, in this particular world, are very complementary. So we've also moved into offering electronic solutions for our yellow pages publishers."
Last year proved to be a challenging campaign, with the ownership of several major directory concerns changing hands. The yellow pages industry grew in the low, single-digit range as small businesses, the bread-and-butter advertisers, continued to demonstrate volatility in their staying power.
Henricks cites RRD's value proposition behind telecommunications' success: innovative business solutions, hassle-free service, on-time delivery and operating as a trustworthy partner. "This is what RR Donnelley can do to make our customers successful," she says.