Basic Forms Still Bring Big Business
While some forms are experiencing a serious decline in sales, others are experiencing great innovation.
Form sales are not declining as much as they are changing. It's a classic example of out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new.
Clearly, multi-part forms are heading for that big collator in the sky. Yet industries such as health-care, retail, insurance and education are giving birth to a whole new generation of innovative form applications. In fact, solution-oriented distributors are discovering that opportunities abound for new form designs that facilitate today's workflow systems, particularly when marketed with value-added services such as on-demand production, warehousing and distribution.
To find out how our interviewees fared in forms business, review the following report.
According to Bob Troop, CEO of Westlake, Ohio-based The Shamrock Companies, traditional forms products accounted for 10 percent of the company's business, or $4.5 million in sales. His highest selling form products were 81⁄2x11˝ and 81⁄2x14˝ cut-sheets. He reported that the two industries responsible for the lion's share of the cut-sheet orders were insurance and health-care. Conversely, Troop noted that multiple-part continuous forms and unit sets performed poorly.
Graham McClean, president and CEO of Global DocuGraphix, Chicago, offered the same sentiments. While he didn't provide specific figures, he reported that traditional forms still represent the single largest product category sold through his company. "There's no question that this marketplace is declining," he said. "However, our margins are still very good."
According to McClean, this is due to several vertical niche markets the company services, such as travel agencies, end-users for financial software companies, beverage distributors and education. He added, however, that as one-part forms take on greater popularity, multi-part forms are experiencing great decline—a direct result of computer technology taking over the functions of multi-part forms.
Brian Wiedenmann, general manager of Monroe, Washington-based Merrill Corporation indicated that this past year has shown an increase in the sales of forms. "This is due to several large accounts that were sold in 2002, as well as the further penetration of existing accounts," he said.