Forming the Future
If you live in the north eastern portion of the United States, you're probably pretty sick of winter at this point. As the snow slowly melts away, thoughts turn to making the most of the summer—perhaps building a new deck for enjoying cookouts with friends and family. All it takes is some lumber, nails and tools. Oh, and plenty of permits.
Form printers have long been busy putting the "paper" in "paperwork." An extremely wide variety of end-users utilize printed forms, such as contractors, police departments, doctor's offices and various agencies such as the IRS. Few industries boast the vast sea of potential customers that forms printers entertain.
In recent years, however, electronic forms have grown more and more common. President Obama has famously set the goal that "all of America's medical records [be] computerized" within five years, which implies that a large portion of the healthcare industry may shift to electronic forms. Add to this the economic crisis of the last few years, and the result would seem to equal a tough time for forms printers.
But that's not entirely the case. Printed forms remain the top-performing sector of printed products. In 2009, annual sales figures for business forms totaled $901.2 million, up from 2008's $813.4 million, according to Print Professional's top 100 manufacturers issue. "We are weathering the storm well," remarked Paul Willard, sales manager for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Broker Forms. "Although the average sale [is] down compared to last year, we are serving more distributors than ever, which means they like what we're offering, but their clients are ordering less quantity this year."
Broker Forms is an "employee owned and operated" on-demand printer that considers itself a "specialty provider." The company continues to focus on its core offerings, 1099s, W-2s and checks. According to Willard, this focus "allows us to guide distributors and their customers to the right product choices."