Leaders of the Manufacturing Pack
Dodging downturns and responding to distributor needs, the following lead a $4.96 million line-up.
According to Tracy Dennis, vice president of sales for Transcontinental Printing, Newtown, Pa., "our current growth areas are in value-added products, but data management and fulfillment are emerging as the way of the future."
She explained that distributors are increasingly requesting these services as customers are seeking a single source for meeting all of their needs.
"For example, end-users conducting large direct mail campaigns want assistance with storing, tracking and managing data, rather than simply manipulating it. This allows them to prepare better focused and more effective future mailings."
In addition, Transcontinental is focusing on a heightened use of color and affixed products in manufacturing direct mail pieces, while trends in commercial printing continue to revolve around color, graphics and layout.
"To capture colors to full ad-vantage, the highest grades of stock are being used," Dennis observed. "And varnishes are very popular—spot glosses, dull varnishes and aqueous coatings are employed to create specific effects."
Since 90 percent of Transcontinental's sales are through independent distributors, the company strongly advocates plant tours, assisted client calls and on-site training, thus separating solutions providers from order takers.
"Knowledge is golden," said Dennis. "The better we educate our distributors, the better they can educate their customers."
The company also encourages personal and professional training among its employees, "So they can be their best for themselves and Transcontinental," said Dennis. "We put people first," she continued, "resulting in a high retention rate of skilled, experienced staff—a major factor in consistent superior quality."
As for future goals, "Transcontinental is the largest commercial print supplier in Canada and the 10th largest in the U.S.," said Dennis. "We want to be a leader in North America for integrated solutions."
With $280 million in annual sales, Denver, Colorado-based PrintXcel is the industry leader among manufacturers selling 100 percent through distributors—a challenging position President and CEO Dave Holt holds with high esteem.