2018 Top 50 Suppliers: What the Data Tells Us
It’s no secret that print does best in a mature economic recovery phase of the business cycle. Considering we have been in this phase for nine years when the average recovery tops out at seven, numbers should be skyrocketing. Throw in President Trump’s Tax Reform and Jobs Act of 2017, and the industry just can’t lose, right?
Well, not quite. Although the economy is a significant influencer, historically, some printers always outperform others. High profits are achieved through strategic and operational excellence. No two companies’ stories will be alike, but true print leaders share common characteristics. These individuals understand that the print industry is one of opportunity. They seek to grow revenue—whether by adding ancillary services, or by moving to growth markets. In other words, they inspire the trends. With that being said, Print+Promo is proud to present its 2018 Top 50 Suppliers.
Of the 45 suppliers returning from last year’s Top 50:
- 22 had revenue increases.
- 19 had revenue decreases.
- 4 finished evenly.
Those who have been following our lists will recognize similarities between the 2017 and 2018 top three. Keith S. Walters-led Ennis Inc. took the No. 1 spot, earning $370.2 million, a 3.7 increase over 2017 figures. The Midlothian, Texas-based trade printer made two key acquisitions this year (Wright Business Graphics and Allen-Bailey Tag & Label); however, these firms are not a part of the reported total. Also not included is Curtis Business Forms.
Unfortunately, overall revenue for the Top 50 fell short of last year’s $2.36 billion, tallying only $2.33 billion. We’d be remiss if we made any sweeping conclusions based on this information, but we would like to note the absence of several heavyweights, starting with the previously mentioned Wright Business Graphics (2017: No. 12) and Allen-Bailey Tag & Label (2017: No. 43). The companies, now operating under the Ennis umbrella of brands, most recently disclosed $58.9 million and $11.9 million in sales, respectively. Other missing suppliers include: HCF Inc. (2017: No. 27); Complete Print Shop Inc. (2017: No. 33); Action Printing (2017: Tied for No. 41); Luminer Converting Group (2017: Tied for No. 41); and Datatel Resources Corporation (2017: Tied for No. 45, acquired by Wise in October 2017).
The 2018 list did feature five new additions, with one even placing in the top 10. In spite of parent company Cenveo’s financial situation, Discount Labels ranked at No. 9 with $74.0 million in sales. Label Works (No. 23), Stylecraft Printing Inc. (No. 48), Apex Color (No. 49) and CFC Print Solutions (No. 50) were the additional newcomers.
In the meantime, here are a few other fun stats we saw in our analysis:
- The top five all enjoyed revenue increases. Glendale, California-based 4over had the biggest increase, with a 6.4 percent rise in sales, from $235.0 million to $250.0 million.
- In all, 19 U.S. states were headquarters to at least one supplier in the Top 50. Illinois led the way with eight suppliers calling it home, while California and Ohio each had five. Eight other states appeared at least two times on the list, leaving eight states that had a single supplier.
- This year’s Top 50 suppliers employed more than 11,000 people. Ennis Inc. led the way with 2,600 employees, while 4over employed 1,550 and OneTouchPoint employed 850. Of the Top 50, the supplier with the smallest staff was Bestforms at 44 employees. Twenty-four of the Top 50 suppliers had a staff size in the triple digits or greater.