Highland Takes the High Road
Highland Computer Forms finds success in blending traditional and modern products.
Twenty-one years ago, Highland Computer Forms President Phil Wilson would have been satisfied if his company reached $10 million in sales by the mid 1980s. So the $50 million in sales he achieved in 2000, along with the Manufacturer of the Year title he received from BFL&S, should surely suffice.
"At the time, we thought we could make a good living if we could get sales up to $10 million, and we hoped we could do it in six or eight years," said Phil Wilson who, along with a team of dedicated employees, has built and maintained Highland's success primarily on the production of continuous stock tab forms.
No small feat, considering the company began in a 3,000 sq. ft. garage with used equipment and a modest staff—let alone the fact that, with the dawn of new technology, some in the industry are turning their backs on stock tab forms. Despite it all, today Highland runs 35 presses out of six plants totalling 260,000 sq. ft.
What set Highland apart from others in the forms industry upon its inception was its choice of print method and commitment to customer service.
"We were offering great customer service before service became a big cliche," said Vice President Bob Wilson. "As a whole, people in the industry tended to ignore their customers' problems and the attitude was pretty bad. Offering better service was a way to differentiate ourselves."
In addition, Phil Wilson chose wet offset instead of dry offset printing—producing cleaner, crisper and higher quality results. From there Highland produced stock tab on any length runs while specializing in odds and ends.
"Some distributors only needed one or two cartons of this or that. So, if you were the only one that had the product, and you did a good job on it, you just hoped that sooner or later they'd use you for other products as well," Phil Wilson explained. With stock tab production accounting for 70 percent of its yearly sales, Highland's tactics paid off.