Leaders of the Pack
In addition, profits are getting a boost from the F.L.Smithe SR envelope folding machine with inline ESP (enhanced servo press) flexographic printing press that the company recently purchased. “This machine is the most advanced envelope folding and printing machine ever built,” Lemberger commented. “It’s loaded with servo technology for quick set-ups and high-speed operation, and the ESP press takes flexo printing for envelopes to a new level. Four-color process printing on coated stock is now much quicker and more economical.”
Ongoing improvements in its manufacturing processes also help to keep Western States Envelope & Label at the top of the ranking. Lemberger noted that the company’s Kaizen philosophy-based lean initiative has helped in developing quick response manufacturing techniques that significantly reduce lead times and improve efficiencies.
He went on to say the biggest problem facing independent distributors today is the constant pricing pressure being applied by the large consolidators of printing operations and distributorships. “Many of these large entities try to commoditize our products and services,” observed Lemberger. “We must constantly bring new value to the table to differentiate ourselves. Distributors need to align themselves with suppliers who can help them to build customer relationships based upon value and performance, as well as competitive pricing.”
Printegra Prospers by Fulfilling Distributors’ Needs
With an increase of nearly $18 million in sales, Printegra, Peachtree City, Ga., advanced four spots this year to secure fourth place. The company’s success can be attributed to several strategies. “In 2006, we had great success with the growth of our print shop initiative. We now have print shops that are housed in seven of our nine Printegra facilities,” said Bill Reid, director of marketing. According to Reid, the growth of Printegra’s print shops is a result of distributors’ needs for a wholesale source of standard print shop products, including commercial printed sheets, envelopes, prescription pads, digital color printing and black-and-white printing with bindery and finishing capabilities.
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