American's 1-2-3 Success Plan
Combining opportunity, empowerment and synergy benefits customers, sales associates and suppliers.
Ask Larry Zavadil where he sees his company in the next five years, and he won't have a clue. That's because for the president of American Business Forms, Glenwood, Minn., "There is no future beyond the next 12 months." By then, he explained, the industry will be presenting you with clearly defined challenges that will shape your evolution.
And, according to Zavadil, identifying solutions to these challenges is like compiling a David Letterman Top 10 List, "But the solutions must create win/win situations," he noted. "No one in the chain—end-user, American or supplier——should lose, or it won't work."
What he does know for certain is that life is about choices, and if you choose to do good things, you can make good things happen. Oh, and another thing, "Never underestimate the power of dumb luck," said Zavadil.
Whether it's been good choices, dumb luck or a combination of the two, Zavadil has led the American distributorship on a consistent course of growth and success since its inception in 1981. At that time, he and two dedicated individuals, Marianne Fosker and Naomi Holmgren, set up shop in the basement of Zavadil's home. Steady growth moved the business to the attic, then to the house next door. Eventually, seven empty buildings in the area were rehabed to house American.
The company entered the '90s as a strong regional printing distributorship with a product mix that included all types of printing, stock tab, labels and promotional items. In 1992, Zavadil reasoned that the negative impact of technology on traditional products wouldn't be reversed and decided to use technology to tap into the explosive print-management marketplace.
American created client-specific electronic business management solutions, deploying a nationwide network of warehousing and distribution facilities. Today, the company serves more than 400 print-management clients on a server network tied to 25 distribution facilities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.