SOI Forms: Diversify to Multiply
For years, the printed forms segment has been the central topic of some ugly rumors: They aren't very eco-friendly; there's no money in this maturing market; a permanent transition to electronic forms is inevitable. Sound familiar?
Fact: Many industries are struggling thanks to a turbulent economic climate; forms are no exception. A convenient "quick fix" is unlikely, but don't dismiss the traditional business forms sector just yet. Forms have dodged a few potentially fatal blows thrown by emerging technologies, proving they still have some fight left.
Just ask Chris Giller, president of New Concord, Ohio-based Carbonless and Cut Sheet Forms. "Clearly, the overall market for forms has shrunk. Predicting the ultimate demise of the market is a stretch. We continue to flourish and expect to in the future," he said.
The glory days of the six-part form may be over; however, that's not slowing down Minneapolis-based Custom Business Forms.
"There are opportunities that are different from what we have seen in the past. You have to be able to adapt to your clients' changing needs," noted Frank Miske III, vice president. "As a forms printer, I am getting more opportunities to print items I have not seen in the past. We have branched out into other types of print and we can match or exceed the quality level of the digital printer."
Miske has created a multi-faceted plan to maintain the company brand. "Our plan for survival focuses on growing our medium- to long-run projects. We realize that printing a $12 business card is not really our niche, even though we provide that service for our clients," he said. "We are also exploring partnerships with both printing brokers and distributors to increase our presence in the marketplace."
Furthermore, Custom Business Forms is making an effort to strengthen its online presence. Miske added, "We are exploring social media and we have hired a dedicated IT person. My clients also have access to the same information I do, so they are bringing me ideas and innovations."