Keep Hangin’ On
Although there are fewer requests for continuous forms, some demand still exists. Both companies are fulfilling continuous form jobs. Forms business comprised 38 percent of Ennis' total sales. While Osterloh was unable to disclose how much of this business consisted of continuous forms, he did note that the company produced "hundreds of millions" of continuous forms last year.
Marecek revealed approximately 12 percent of IPG's business forms sales were continuous. "We continue to produce the continuous forms because there is still a demand. If we see that demand drop, I am certain we will evaluate the mix in our plant of resources dedicated to continuous forms," he stated.
Marecek added, "The printing industry is currently going through some tough times, but fortunately our owner has continued to look at additional product offerings to be able to provide a more complete solution to our client base."
By offering clients value-added features in addition to the forms, companies like IPG are solidifying their future. End-users want to be heard and it is crucial for suppliers and distributors to work in tandem to nourish the business relationship. Those who think outside the box get ahead.
"The future of the printing industry is going to still be dependent on relationships. People still buy from people," said Marecek. "In the current time, it is easy to get frustrated trying to sell relationships, but in the long run it is the relationship-based seller that is going to succeed."
When asked about the future of continuous forms, Marecek responded, "I think that the decline will begin to taper off in the next few years and the advantage will be finding a supplier that can offer you more than just forms at low prices. The successful distributors will find plants that are financially sound and that have a shared vision of the future."