Compass Capital Partners

DeWese--Consulting the "Real" Experts on the Death of Printing
June 1, 2000

This column is too important to read alone in your office or in the bar where you've gone for lunch or by the pool where you're sipping a few Wacky Wackies or in that field of daisies where, in slow motion, you've gone to contemplate your navel. Please don't attempt to read this while you are driving. This is my most important column yet and you should take it home and gather your loved ones, if you have any. They need to hear the column because it affects your future and theirs. If you work for a printing company, an equipment manufacturer, a

Compass Report--The State of M&A
May 1, 2000

BY HARRIS DEWESE (Editor's Note: Harris DeWese is a principal at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of information regarding printing industry merger and acquisition activity.) Most of you are busy managing independent, privately held printing companies. Some of you lead large, public printing companies. A handful of you run a company you redefined as being in the "communications industry," though presses throb a few steps from your door. Others work to prepare an e-commerce printing Website for an IPO—occasionally dabbing saliva from their chins. For all of you who are very busy and have little

DeWese--We Have Met the Enemy
April 1, 2000

Balderdash! Phooey! Cow chips! "We have met the enemy and he is us." All right, ya'll, get in here, sit down and listen up. I've got a hell of a lot to cover this month. You probably are all wondering who first said the words and phrase at the top of this column. Well, if any of you illiterate slugs ever read your history books, you would know. The late, great Sir Winston Churchill first said "Balderdash!" Sir Winston said it when Lady Astor observed that he was drunk. Sir Winston replied: "Balderdash. Tomorrow I will be sober and you will still be ugly." The late

DeWese--Is Anybody Listening?
March 1, 2000

I don't think anybody listens anymore. But lots of people seem compelled to know everything. Even if they admit to little knowledge about some subject, they still have an opinion—and they express it freely and with great conviction. It's as if the more you know or the stronger your opinion, the stronger you are. As a consequence, if you presume to know everything and keep doing the talking, then you can control your life and the people around you. A lot of CEOs suffer from knowing everything. You have seen it happen. Promote a regular guy to CEO and suddenly—it goes with the big office—he

DeWese--Trouble Brewing
February 1, 2000

I am writing this on January 1, 2000, and there's trouble brewing in the old print shop. Yep, Joe Davis, chairman and CEO of Consolidated Graphics, announced in a press release that he "believes lower-than-expected sales volume is attributable to general industry conditions." Davis believes this statement because Andrew Paparozzi, chief economist for the National Association of Printing Leadership (NAPL), published a report that said, for the first time in 15 years, real print sales (RPS) is lagging behind gross domestic product (GDP) growth. According to Paparozzi, printing industry sales growth will slow to 3 percent to 3.5 percent from the 4 percent to 5

DeWese--All the Write Stuff. . .
January 1, 2000

It's been a while since I've written about Marvelle Stump, America's worst, laziest and all-around most incompetent print salesperson. Marvelle sold his last real job back in 1987, just before his mama passed away. Mama Stump had been the print buyer at First Mississippi Bancorp and always took care of her baby. Marvelle is back home in Mississippi from his sojourn to California, where he failed to sell a single job for his employer, Sensitive & Safe Environmental Letterpress Inc. (California's only retro printing company). Yep. He's back in Mississippi. For the first three months, he sold printing for Lenny Thrilkill, the owner of

DeWese--Lessons for the Second Millennium
December 1, 1999

Scores of articles, essays and columns have already been written about the new millennium, the old millennium and the evil-dreaded Y2K catastrophe. You are a reader of this column, and that means you are one erudite dude or dudette, as the case may be. Surveys have proven that the Mañana Man's readers are more enlightened than the readers of, say, George Will, Garrison Keillor or Andy Rooney. No writer, however, has devoted so much as a sentence to the people, the events or the historic implications of selling in the years ranging from 1000 to 1999. It's as if our selling profession didn't exist

DeWese--Print Buyers Speak Their Minds
November 1, 1999

Wow! Am I totally excited! I just participated in the most momentous printing event of this millennium! Only 17 people were present: a court reporter, 15 print buyers and me. The print buyers work in the health care, education, financial services, advertising, automobile, consumer goods and agricultural industries. Collectively, the print buyers have more than 240 years of print purchasing experience for an average of more than 16 years each. As a group, they will purchase nearly $70 million in printing this year. If they bought all that printing from one company, it would rank 89th on Printing Impressions' Top 500 list. There were no printers present

DeWese--Turning a Grazer into a Hunter
October 1, 1999

A senior manager of a large printing equipment manufacturer called me back in July. He was inviting me to speak to his U.S. sales force at Graph Expo in Chicago this month. The speech was to be only 30 minutes, and I was going to Graph Expo anyway, so I said, "sure." Now, of course, I'm known as "old rhetoric breath," and I can talk about anything for 30 minutes. I can give you 30 minutes on the best timing, the breathtaking beauty and the proper execution of the suicide-squeeze bunt in baseball. In a half-hour, I can easily discuss the virtues of North

DeWese--Birthday Wishes, Hopes and Dreams
August 1, 1999

On the last day of June, I attended an out-of-town cocktail reception and dinner with about 20 printing company owners. June 30th was my 57th birthday, and the printers presented me a birthday cake, an XXL baseball warm-up jacket and a baseball cap. Of course, they asked me if I'd made a wish before I blew out the candles. One printer guessed that I had wished for about six more printing industry consolidators, since I'm in the investment banking business of representing the sellers of printing companies. More consolidators would mean more competition for the companies that I represent. That would have been a selfish