Digital Success: It’s All About Continually Reinventing Your Business
Even the most successful businesses can run out of room to grow. Faced with this unpleasant reality, they are compelled to reinvent themselves periodically. The ability to pull off this difficult feat - to jump from the maturity stage of one business to the growth stage of the next – is what separates high performers from the rest.
Chicago-based Tukaiz understands the value of continually reinventing its business. Founded more than five decades ago, Tukaiz is a family-owned and operated company, committed to pioneering innovative services to maintain a market leadership position.
Tukaiz’s VP and Managing Director Frank Defino Jr. attributes the company’s success in a rapidly changing environment to the following four strategies.
- Strategy 1: Listen carefully to customers and proactively adapt services and reinvent the business to support clients’ success in a changing marketing environment.
More than 50 years ago, Tukaiz started as a prepress shop in a 1,500-sq.-ft. facility. Today, the company has more than 250,000 sq. ft. of production and warehousing space and employs 150 people. The organization’s partners, managers and directors continually evaluate what customers need and create solutions to meet client needs.
Tukaiz was an early adapter of four-color scanning and separations, and digital plate-making. Company managers saw opportunity in digital printing and creating content on-demand for marketers. It was one of the first companies to invest in Indigo digital printing technology in 1993.
Management realized that clients were looking for a full-service partner. Only a few short years later, Tukaiz expanded into traditional offset printing as well as large-format.
When its customer base was looking for a solution to more effectively manage marketing materials, Tukaiz invested several thousand hours and years of development time to create its own online marketing management software, called Backstage by Tukaiz. The software debuted in 2008. While company managers evaluated off-the-shelf software options to provide customers with “print-on-demand” or “Web-to-print” solutions, Defino explains, “None of these options provided our customers with the features, functionality and flexibility to meet their needs and bring them measurable results.” Backstage is a proprietary software solution that is continually upgraded as the client base grows and customer needs change and evolve.
As more and more customers utilized Backstage, Tukaiz recognized the need to not just print but warehouse and distribute materials for clients. This led to the creation of an 120,000-sq.-ft. warehouse building. The facility supports pick-and-pack, kit packing, and an array of unique on-demand delivery and fulfillment options.
In 2015, Tukaiz announced the opening of its in-house boutique creative division known as agenz (pronounced agen-z). According to Defino, “The addition of a focused agency resource enabled Tukaiz to accommodate the growing demand from its customers who are seeking a more streamlined creative, production and fulfillment process that can move quickly from creative conception to final production delivery.”
Today, Tukaiz has four divisions to meet the full spectrum of customer requirements: creative and advertising; software development; print production; and inventory management and fulfillment and distribution services.
Most recently, Tukaiz acquired Dr. Graphx, an environmental graphic solutions firm specializing in design, production and installation. The company provides a turnkey solution from strategy and design to production and installation, which provides customers with a full slate of options for their environmental space and communication needs. It was a natural extension of Tukaiz’ large-format offerings including installation across the country.
- Strategy 2: Constantly focus R&D efforts on customer and internal business needs to ensure the right technology investments.
At the heart of Tukaiz’s transformation is a continual focus on research and development. Defino recalls, “We are always looking at the latest innovative technologies to drive new business opportunities as well as to optimize our overall operations.”
Defino highlights that, “In parallel, you need to continually look at the applications you are delivering for your customers and how you can help them innovate to make communications more effective by either reducing overall cost or increasing response rates. As an example, we continually test both creative as well as new substrates and help our customers make and save money. We lead with new ideas and cost savings proactively versus waiting for our customers to ask. It strengthens and builds the relationship.”
- Strategy 3: Invest in and keep the right talent
“One of the most critical factors for reinvention is the people you have,” Defino says. “Developing a culture that supports an entrepreneurial spirit and giving our employees an environment to do the things that inspire them to create and implement new processes, methods or techniques is one of the things that provides Tukaiz with a compelling advantage. We know that you can buy technology and software, but our most important asset is our talented and dedicated staff.”
- Strategy 4: Focus on sales and marketing
Tukaiz has always recognized the fact that its own sales and marketing is essential. From a sales perspective, Tukaiz targets specific markets and focuses on expanding presence in key segments. As an example, the company’s Backstage offering has resulted in tremendous success with franchise organizations and quick service restaurants (QSRs) specifically, where they can enable the individual franchise owner to do more effective marketing and promotion with a blend of signage and direct mail.
Defino advises, “Print service providers need to embrace change and support their brand as well as they do for their clients. This requires a holistic approach to marketing and encompasses everything; delivering valuable content on the website to social media. Inform clients about what can be done with technology and deliver the message across all channels. Even more importantly, we invite clients to tour our campus where they can feel the excitement and culture we have for what we do every day.”
The Bottom Line
Tukaiz has not just survived, but it has thrived in a complex market environment that continually requires different technology, processes and people. A drive to continually “reinvent” products, services and solutions based on client needs has been their key to “digital success.”
A digital printing and publishing pioneer and marketing expert, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave whether it is developing a strategy to launch a new product, building a strategic marketing plan or educating your sales force on how to deliver an effective value proposition. She brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity. Barb has had a number of high-profile marketing and sales positions including Chief Marketing Officer for the Kodak Graphic Communications Group, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for IKON Office Solutions, and Vice President and General Manager for the Xerox Document Production Systems Group. She also served as the Gannett chair in integrated publishing sciences in Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) School of Printing Management and Sciences (SPMS). Most recently, Barb was the Group Director for Business Development at InfoTrends. She is currently the Manager of Pellow and Partners, LLC.
Barb can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Mobile, 585-734-2228)