The 2016 Top 50 Suppliers: No. 4, Western States Envelope & Label
Each year, Print+Promo provides the definitive ranking of the Top 50 Suppliers in the industry. As part of this issue, we feature exclusive interviews with the CEOs, presidents and owners of our top five companies. The full Print+Promo 2016 Top 50 Suppliers list can be found here and in our October issue.
No. 4: Western States Envelope & Label
Answers provided by Tom Rewolinski, CEO and president
What was your company’s biggest accomplishment over the last year?
Tom Rewolinski: Despite our dynamic, competitive industry and the trend moving toward digital marketing mediums, we’ve been able to think ahead for our customers and help them reinvent ways they can help their customers get results. We’ve positioned ourselves as marketing partners who can help our customers integrate traditional print and mail with new engaging technologies to maximize their efforts. For example, we have several interactive envelope products that boost open rates and work in tandem with direct mail so recipients get a more immediate, complete and personalized mailing experience.
We’re also proud to be featured in the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum’s new virtual exhibition, “America’s Mailing Industry” (available at http://postalmuseum.si.edu/americasmailingindustry/). Launched in September 2016, it tells the story of the partnership between the U.S. Postal Service and private industry that’s helped American citizens and businesses communicate and conduct business for more than two centuries.
What is your company’s top priority for 2017?
TR: We’d like to augment our recent digital successes by expanding our digital offerings with new envelope and label products. Building off of our marketing solutions approach with customers, we’re also broadening our offerings that contain products found in non-mail stream environments. We also want to expand where we can help our customers provide more value, expertise and turnkey solutions to their customers. This means thinking beyond envelopes and labels to embrace the opportunities of a comprehensive mailing, packaging and marketing experience.
Where do the great ideas come from in your organization?
TR: From our employees. We encourage innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. We have a formal submission process where all ideas are reviewed by a new product development team. Employees directly involved in our processes are the ones who initiate most of our process changes, as they know best how to make processes easier, faster or more valuable to the company. We also rely on our employees to explore and vet new markets so we can design new or tweak existing products effectively.
What is the biggest challenge facing the industry today, and how can we work toward a solution?
TR: Our industry’s biggest challenge is the misunderstanding that printing is not worth the time or money to get results. Companies need to market effectively, yet think about the experience from a consumer’s perspective. Consumers are inundated with marketing messages from many mediums; reaching them needs to be targeted and effective. We live in an omni-channel world where a powerful marketing campaign message uses many channels to reach different personas of consumers for instant engagement and buy-in. Therefore, the solution is to sell the importance of print/digital/packaging complementing each other, not replacing each other. Print still effectively sells products; and direct mail introduces products and special offers, and supports e-commerce relationships.
Now for some fun: If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
TR: I’m a big fan of all survival shows, so I’ll have to go with the essentials: fire starter, a container for water and a large knife. But, I also would have to carefully package and label each to securely and effectively provide safety in transport.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t already discussed?
TR: New ideas and altered directions happen rapidly in our industry. Printers and distributors need to determine if they are aligned with their customers’ latest direction. And, do these printers and distributors have a vendor that is agile and able to support their moves to keep up with their customers? Agile and capable are two reasons why Western States Envelope & Label has been an industry leader since 1908. We’re always thinking ahead so our customers don’t fall behind in this ever-changing marketplace.