SOI Forms: A Passing Grade
St. Patrick's Day just passed. But business forms will need more than luck to secure a future filled with large orders and soaring profits.
It was the distributors' turn in November. While the decline in sales wasn't as dramatic, it was still present, nonetheless, only reaching $446.5 million in comparison to the previous year's numbers of $558.5 million. On a positive note, forms still put forth the highest showing among the various printed product sectors.
This information leaves many scratching their heads, wondering how long they will have before printed forms are phased out. Jeff Russell, president of Hillsborough, North Carolina-based Major Business Systems, admitted to falling on some hard times. The company is adapting its business model to survive.
"As we are celebrating our 44th year in the industry, our company has experienced the transition of the industry from a growth cycle to a maturity cycle as well as numerous economic cycles. I would say the last two years have presented the most challenging times that we have ever experienced," he noted. "The two-edged sword of the harsh economic downturn coupled with the continued technological erosion of core products has had a severe impact on those who have not pursued a course of diversification. This generally creates a survival mentality, which also leads to extreme price concessions. Those who have pursued the diversification strategy generally have a stronger foundation of product lines [that] have maintained a semblance of profitability."
Major Business Systems began its diversification process in the early '90s. Unfortunately, that isn't always enough to escape the impact of technology. Leadership and creativity will be tested.