Print+Promo 2018 State of the Industry Report: A discussion on the printed forms sector
For Print+Promo’s 2018 State of the Industry report, we dug deep to uncover printing industry trends, learn more about the Trump effect on print and find answers to questions, like: Where is the printing industry going?
As part of our investigation, we reached out to experts in various market segments: printed forms, labels, promotional products and direct mail. Below is an excerpt from my conversation with Jason Killiany and Chris Giller, owners of Carbonless & Cut Sheet Forms, New Concord, Ohio. Find out what they had to say about the current state of business forms, the consequences of mergers and acquisitions activity and print’s millennial problem.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the business forms sector?
Jason Killiany and Chris Giller: It’s no secret that the overall forms market is shrinking due to technological advances. However, there remain plenty of businesses that are still using, and will continue to use, printed forms for their operations far into the future. We still print many forms for the health care, trucking and automotive industries. Also, many trade businesses still use a good amount of forms: construction, HVAC, plumbing, electric, auto repair, etc. This has caused us to double down in our marketing efforts to make sure every print broker and print shop knows that we are their best solution to send their short-run forms business to.
Carbonless & Cut Sheet Forms prides itself on being the “largest short-run carbonless forms printer.” How is your company staying competitive, and spreading the message that printed forms aren’t dead, especially to millennials?
JK and CG: Being the largest short-run carbonless forms printer in the nation, we are able to purchase carbonless paper in bulk at phenomenal prices. That, along with many other efficiency gains due to specializing in short-run forms, enables us to print our distributors’ forms for less than they can buy the paper. This competitive edge is what will drive more business our way as more and more print shops realize that it is not worth their time and effort to ink up their small printing press. Years ago, print shops used to print just about everything in-house, including business cards. It seemed everybody had a little thermographer and slitter in the back of their shop. Then, a couple printing companies started specializing exclusively in business cards. They could produce them [more quickly], with higher quality and more economically. We all quickly realized it wasn’t worth our time to print them in-house, so we started farming them out. We feel we’ve accomplished the same feat with short-run forms. Print shops can eliminate their small one- and two-color presses and focus more time on selling more products or printing other commercial print jobs that they make more profit on. We see it as a win-win situation for everyone.
As far as trying to spread a message that forms aren’t dead, the marketplace will do that for us. Print brokers and print shops will continue to produce what their customers demand, and the forms business will never completely go away.
How has the ongoing activity from a mergers and acquisitions standpoint affected the forms market? Your business?
JK and CG: We can’t speak to how it has affected the forms market overall, but as far as affecting our business from a supplier standpoint, it has caused some hiccups in the supply chain on occasion (i.e., mainly slower delivery times due to paper inventory shortages), but our merchants have been great at resolving issues in a timely manner. From a customer standpoint, we’re sure that when our larger print brokers or print shop customers buy out another business, it results in more work coming our way, which is great.
Related story: Print+Promo's 2018 State of the Industry Report