Agents of Change
As part of Print+Promo’s ongoing feature, Executive Perspectives, we get to know leading professionals in the print and promotional industry. This month, we talked to Rick Roddis, president of ComplyRight Distribution Services, Oxnard, Calif. Here, Roddis discusses a changing business model, new technology and the impact of a Trump presidency.
How did you first get started in this industry, and what path did you take to land in your current role?
Rick Roddis: I was working as an insurance underwriter in the Bay Area, and my brother-in-law called me and asked if I wanted to run a rubber stamp business he had just purchased in San Francisco. At 24-years-old, I thought it was a great opportunity. I had no idea what a rubber stamp was and had never managed employees. There I was, managing 20 employees without any prior experience. They ran me ragged. Through various mergers and acquisitions, I held on for the ride. At each transition, I asked for two things: my current seniority and salary. Each time, it was granted and, so now, I am considered a 25-year employee of Taylor Corporation, the owner of ComplyRight Distribution Services (made up of TFP Data Systems and Apex Business Systems).
How do you set goals for yourself?
RR: I have three goal-setting touchpoints. At the beginning of the year, I take stock of my career, fitness and family. At that time, I set large goals for the year. Then, I set 30-day goals with milestones based on my larger goals. Every morning, I review those goals and set daily objectives. I have been amazed at how a goal can be achieved just by setting it and sticking to it.
What do you expect to be some of the biggest changes or challenges the industry will face, particularly as a result of a Donald J. Trump presidency?
RR: For my particular business, which is involved in providing products that help businesses comply with government regulations, the challenges are immense. For example, we have a large business in manufacturing and distributing forms for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is supposedly going to be repealed, so that will be a major change for us. Overall, change is a good thing for our business. We invest heavily in following the rule changes and keeping our reseller partners up-to-date on form changes, so they can provide compliant 1099, W-2 and ACA products to their end-user clients.
As a follow-up to that, how is your company preparing for those changes and challenges?
RR: We have a team of legal and legislative analysts who are constantly monitoring and tracking changes in government regulations on a national, state and even a municipal level. This allows our product and program managers to anticipate changes long before they go into effect, so that we can have new materials at the ready when the laws take effect. We are also investing heavily in new ways to deliver our compliance products moving from the printed form to digital solutions. We have pioneered subscription services for the ever-changing labor law posters and are hard at work on a full suite of cloud-based apps that allow employers to manage employees in new, efficient ways. Envision, for example, a printed attendance tracker that has been maintained by hand being replaced by an app that is automatically updated in real time.
What keeps you up at night?
RR: Our reseller partners are the ones with the end-user relationships and that is an incredible power. Many times, they think their goal is to sell “printed products”; but, really, their goal should be to support various business processes using paper or an online solution. What keeps me up at night is that many of our reseller partners don’t embrace the new technologies and so they see their businesses decline. Their end-user customers are still paying bills, still issuing 1099’s or W-2’s and mailing out invoices. They just may not be doing it using printed forms. To survive, you need to provide a solution for how your customer wants to complete the business process.
What do you think is the most exciting, cutting-edge thing your company is doing right now? Why?
RR: By far, our e-file technology that allows our distributors to offer online processing of 1099’s and W-2’s to their clients. There is a revolution happening in the 1099/W-2 business, and businesses are moving online. We are helping our reseller partners take part in this exciting, new business. We have several partners who have embraced this latest way of doing business and they are reaping the rewards. We also have several reseller partners just selling forms and envelopes and, unfortunately, their businesses are declining rapidly. We have so many new solutions to offer. We look forward to engaging with our partners in 2017 to help them get on board.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
RR: I live in Spokane, Wash., and love to fly fish. Any chance I get, I head out to the pristine waters of the St. Joe or Coeur d’Alene rivers in North Idaho in pursuit of wild westslope cutthroat trout. Nothing is better than catching one of those on a dry fly.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.