Simon Printing Is True Calling
According to Simon, Publishers Press was at the head of the class in that regard, and it helped segue the company into a different sales approach. "It's been a natural progression of keeping up with technology. When I first got here, we were utilizing step-and-repeat machines for making printing plates. I transferred those efforts into Opti-copy systems, step-and-repeat on film.
"We dramatically altered our sales and service staffs, going from individual customer service representatives to a team concept," he adds. "We also added an additional level of service, which we call a technical representative. It allows our salespeople to sell, and it frees them of the duty of servicing. It's worked very well for us. Service is what definitely separates us from our competition in our customers' minds. We believe in going the extra mile for clients and providing them with superior service. That added level of service, the technical rep, is really the eyes and the ears of the customer."
That customer service approach has buoyed the growth of Publishers Press. Simon places great emphasis on customer retention: existing accounts represent half of the printer's annual growth. Another variable in its success is the status of being family owned and operated. Without shareholders making demands for instant gratification, Publishers Press can make decisions that speak to its long-term outlook.
It is an ongoing process. One of the toughest decisions Publishers Press needed to make was in response to a recent drop in revenues. Clients lost advertising pages—quite common within the magazine publishing community the past two years—and, coupled with computer-to-plate and the digital environment allowing clients to do work in-house, Publishers Press found justifying its staffing levels difficult. The company instituted voluntary layoffs, extending "very gracious" severance packages to those who chose to leave.
It was the toughest call Simon has needed to make, but it was done with an eye on the overall, and future, health of the company. It is a part of how Simon feels that his employees view him.