Creative Sales Keep Continuous Forms Going
No longer the workhorse of the industry, continuous forms can still create strong sales
Cut-sheets, single-parts, electronic forms… All have eaten away at continuous forms' previous dominance as the heavyweight workhorse of the forms world. Despite this evolution in customers' needs and desires, manufacturers maintain that continuous can still be a strong selling point for forms distributors.
"Continuous has been declining over the past several years; it's down 50 percent from 10 years ago," said Kenneth Adams, president of Central States Business Forms, Dewey, Okla. "In just the past six months, it's down 5 percent or so. There's been a shift to smaller orders. The larger orders are just not there."
Doesn't sound very encouraging, does it? But, Adams sees a silver lining. "We believe that there's an opportunity with variable imaging, and we bought a new press earlier this year for that reason," he said.
Central States has been supplying variable imaging products for the past 10 years, and the company recently upgraded equipment to meet consumer demand for higher quality and speed of production. "We are now able to image at 600 dpi, and press speed has increased from 250 fpm to more than 400 fpm," Adams said.
Adams sees steady markets in checks, as well as expanding opportunities in the insurance market and club membership products. "Continuous, in some areas, seems to be shrinking; there are a lot more one-part orders now," he noted. "But, the financial, insurance and medical markets still need multi-parts, and we handle up to 10-part forms."
Still Rolling Along
Mark Clabaugh, vice president of sales and marketing at PRINTSouth, Atlanta, is also optimistic about continuous forms. Although, over the past three years, continuous as a percentage of total sales has declined by 12 percent, "Conversely, continuous forms as a whole have increased due to our long-run jumbo-roll capabilities," Clabaugh said.