Dome, Setting a Torrid Pace in Sacramento, CA, With an Augmented Set of Offerings
Change, it has long been said, can be a scary proposition, yanking us out of our comfort zone and depositing us in unfamiliar territory. Sometimes the need for change can be subtle, marked by a gradual shift in market conditions. Now and then, however, agents for change can storm your printing castle, waving blunt and heavy objects in a menacing manner. It's either act or be crushed.
The latter applies to Dome, a Sacramento, CA-based, full-service printer that has—in the past two years alone—transformed itself through a new wave of products and services, while fundamentally adjusting its approach to the market and adding critical, new gear in the process. The upshot is that Dome is averaging $5 million in new business annually and the company expects to reach the $50 million sales plateau by 2017, a bullish outlook for an enterprise that currently reaps $32 million in annual revenue.
"The recession had a profound impact on us, but we were in the same boat as everyone else: declining sales, eroding markets, clients disappearing and the atmosphere for new customers being very difficult," observes President Tim Poole, a 2007 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductee and a partner in Dome, along with his brother, Bob. "In 2010 and 2011, it was like we were hit upside the head by a two-by-four...so what were we going to do about it? We knew we needed to make changes."
The Dome of 2014 bears little resemblance to the Dome Printing pioneered in 1969 by their father, Ray Poole. The company provides web and sheetfed offset, cutsheet digital and grand-format digital printing for a myriad of customers, including health care, gaming, big box retail, entertainment and education. Its evolution into a one-stop shop, with mailing, fulfillment and Web-to-print (through DOME Storefront), has been a driver, with wide-format digital printing, fulfillment and e-commerce among the latest offerings.
The Right Tool for Every Requirement
On the technologies side, Dome offers a myriad of tools, including online ordering and asset management, mail tracking and performance analytics, plus mobile marketing solutions like PURLs, e-mail campaigns and social media.
According to Bob Poole, chief sales officer, the company's ability to provide a bundle of services opens the door for clients to enjoy the benefits of single-vendor sourcing. He feels the various pieces of the product and service puzzle have paved the way for Dome to add new clientele, and to sell deeper into existing accounts, as well.
"E-commerce is driving a lot of different clients that we have right now," Bob Poole says. "We really see that as a driving force going into the future, along with wide-format printing and fulfillment. It's almost becoming where our sheetfed and web offset presses are becoming more auxiliary pieces of equipment."
Dome went through a transition in early 2012 after Bob and Tim Poole became sole owners of the company. One of the biggest developments to come from this evolution was the manner in which Dome serves its customer base. With the company rich in a diverse range of client verticals and offering a likewise menu of products and services, Dome opted for a team sales approach. Now, sales reps, estimators, CSRs and leadership all operate in cell clusters aimed at leveraging experience and competencies within specific verticals. Tim Poole believes this approach better helps his company sell the full value it has to offer to a given market.
"This allowed us to focus these smaller sales groups around specific markets as particular specialties," Tim Poole states. "The net effect: we have a much larger and broader approach to landing larger clients and to building products and services that fit their needs. (Internally) what we found is, we're able to grow each individual salesperson's volume by providing them with the dedicated resources and focused tools that a smaller group can provide."
With more Dome staff members now engaged in the sales process, there is a great deal of camaraderie and ownership of the sales group's success. With each member of a group able to interpret his/her own analytics on the cost sheets, team members can identify areas in which cost improvement can be made. It's no longer just the salesperson quarterbacking the efforts.
Dome's team is segmented into four cells: one, led by Bob Poole, focuses on the casino/gaming industry and variable data printing. Tim heads a group that concentrates on the financial and health care sectors. A third, managed by COO Dave Baker, focuses solely on health care, while another team led by VP of Sales Sherwin Poorsina, is poised to serve the point-of-purchase and retail marketplace. CFO Eric Carle is tasked with forecasting, budgeting and reporting the performance for the teams. Bob Poole says the team approach has been well-received by clients, and notes that Dome's peer group (named The Peer Group) colleagues have shown great interest in the Pooles' approach.
The results have been striking, as Dome is averaging $5 million a year in new business, including $1.5 million worth of new billing in the health care vertical alone. The growth there, as well as in casino work, is all the more impressive when considering that doesn't encompass any of the new work that is being brought aboard by the firm's recent entry into the grand-format digital printing market.
"Our growth in health care is most significant. We're riding on some of the changes that will be implemented relating to the Affordable Care Act," Tim Poole says. "Without divulging the proprietary technology we've developed…our conversations revolve around cost reduction management as health care companies are striving for total cost of ownership. We've developed some pretty cool tools to help our clients succeed."
One of the key differentiators for Dome is its ability to manage client data and give them a road map to success by tying together all of their needs, through printing, including variable data, distribution, warehousing, kitting and mailing. There is a sense of security that the company provides clients and satisfaction in knowing that their data are being handled effectively and securely.
Making a 'Grand' Entrance
Dome has been busy on the equipment front in 2014, adding a pair of 3.2 meter-wide EFI VUTEk machines this past summer: an HS100 Pro UV inkjet printer and a GS3250LX Pro LED inkjet device, both driven by new EFI Fiery proServers. The hybrid-format printers offer roll-to-roll/flatbed versatility, with the ability to output banners, signage and other graphics printed on flexible roll media, as well as rigid substrates.
The hope is that the new machines will help continue Dome's brisk growth, which saw sales billow by 20 percent in 2013. "We like the redundancy the two machines provide, being able to output roll-to-roll or board work," Bob Poole notes. "The flexibility means we won't be down at any given time. The LED feature of the GS, which enables us to run various substrates with low power consumption, was one of the factors, as was having the white ink capabilities."
The Pooles note that the Sacramento area was not a hotbed of superwide-format demand, but admit that they failed to recognize the lack of its availability in nearby San Francisco. As a result, much of the local need for grand-format output was being served by printers in Los Angeles, Chicago and other points east. Dome now aims to be that provider of quality, wide-format printing, augmented by the complicated kitting and process work that accompanies distribution.
"That's a strong suit we've developed over the years. Being able to not only become a grand-format printer, but also expand the distribution solutions that we were doing for a lot of other clients, truly made a difference for us," Tim Poole notes.
Wide-Format Drives Conventional Work
As Dome has enticed many customers with its grand-format inkjet output, it has experienced a resulting uptick in conventional litho work. According to Tim Poole, both formats are driving business to one another, and the company is just scratching the surface of grand-format's potential among its client base.
Another improvement came in the form of a Website redesign for Dome. Its previous iteration did not "play well" with Google, and the result was a lack of what Tim Poole calls "organic traction." The company now fares better in search engine optimization results.
The Website redesign provided the company with an opportunity to better emphasize its value-added resources, and it also paved the way for a soft rebranding, with "printing" removed from Dome's name. Moving forward, microsites are planned that will speak directly to the needs of health care, financial and casino customers.
Of all the changes in the company, one of the most evident can be found in the faces of Dome's employees. In the years following the Great Recession, Dome has been able to bolster morale to an all-time high. The employees have bought into the team sales concept and, what's more, there's a true feeling of family among them.
"When people come to work," Bob Poole adds, "they come with a strong passion to serve our clients."
His brother agrees. "We're excited about our growth and the opportunities in our industry, as well as the fact that we're having fun as a different organization from what we were," Tim Poole concludes. "We really think the excitement and culture of our business shines through. Bob and I are excited, and that has filtered through our entire organization." PI