State of the Industry - 1996
1996, Bill Clinton was re-elected president, the economy was...
...solid and Madeleine Albright became the United States' first female Secretary of State. Compact discs were the optimum in sound quality and data storage. Labels crept their way into Business Forms & Systems Magazine, creating the BFL&S of today. And, mass numbers of pentium chip-powered PC's and laser printers made their way into homes and businesses, paving the road to the World Wide Web.
With only a few years remaining in the 20th century, the mystery surrounding the new millennium
intensified. People anticipated big changes, but the details of those changes were uncertain. However, the printing industry didn't have to wait for the arrival of 2000. Its revolution surfaced in the late '90s with an onslaught of new technology.
Because printing is a mature industry, the infiltration of digital and electronic media rattled
the structure of the business, eliminating many prepress and production jobs. On the other hand, it
provided new job opportunities for digital typesetters, desktop publishers and other computer-related occupations. Victor Printing, Sharon, Pa., experienced this firsthand. "Some positions were
eliminated, but we've been fortunate enough to move employees over to some of the newer areas we're working on. Therefore, we haven't really eliminated any positions. We've actually grown," noted Terence Williams, partner.
Victor Printing has attempted to fulfill the ever-changing demands of the business forms industry
since the late 1970s. Prior to this, the company was a small commercial shop only selling direct locally. Williams confessed that it wasn't difficult to get business in the 1980s. "Boy, we just picked up a lot of distributors when we started advertising," he said.
By 1990, 90 percent of Victor Printing's business consisted of forms, with commercial printing
comprising 10 percent of sales. Consequently, the company chose not to purchase new equipment for commercial printing. But, as the mid '90s approached, its distributors started to struggle with sales and were looking for something different to boost business, even though some of them had already ventured into ad specialties. This prompted Victor Printing to return to its roots in commercial printing. Despite some setbacks, many of its distributors were receptive to the move.