Foster Printing: A Happy, Productive Place
"The latest addition of the 205 press puts us into a new marketplace. It allowed us to expand our client base and, more importantly, continue serving the current customer base at a wider level."
Tim Blackburn also credits the newer equipment with enabling Foster Printing to produce more without adding payroll. "We've reduced labor in the pressroom through automation, and that has allowed our pressroom workers to focus on what they need to do," he says. "If we had older machines, we'd have to add staff and more shifts. Then we'd be taking away the overtime our current employees have enjoyed. Of course, we don't want to over-work them either. We want our employees to get the most that they can out of what they're great at doing."
The Blackburns are proud of the fact that there is little turnover at Foster Printing; when people leave, it is because they're retiring. Some of the pre-1988, Walter Foster Publishing workers still remain. In fact, Dennis Blackburn—who has owned the firm for 25 years now—loves working with his two sons and isn't afraid to climb aboard a forklift and unload paper from a delivery, when needed. It's the operative phrase, needed, as the Blackburns follow the philosophy of simply doing what needs to be done.
But, while growth is in the forecast, don't expect Foster Printing to be shooting for the stars, size-wise. In many ways, the California trade specialist is already there.
"Companies can lose sight and lose focus of goals, objectives and reasons for what they do every day," Tim Blackburn states. "It can be a blessing—and a curse. We've got to make sure we're still able to provide the same services that we have been doing successfully for the past 25 years. Our clients have gotten use to it, appreciate it...and they keep coming back." PI