The Top Five Enjoy Continued Success
There are no surprises among the top five finishers in the BFL&S distributor ranking this year. Results for 2006 essentially reflect last year’s, except, of course, for the absence of Global DocuGraphix following the company’s demise in July.
Brief summaries of the top five extraordinarily successful distributorships, including present status and future outlook, appear below:
2006 Sales: $1 Billion
2005 Sales: $391.7 Million
Most profitable products: Forms (33.8 percent); envelopes, folders and stationery (23.3 percent); commercial print (13.5 percent).
Manufacturing capabilities: Yes
Typical order size: From individual orders totaling less than $100, to multi-year contracts worth more than $20 million.
Human Resources: While staffing in sales and customer service has remained unchanged in the past year, the company decreased its number of administrative employees.
The amazing increase in sales naturally reflects the Relizon acquisition.
“WorkflowOne is better prepared than ever before to offer customers a single source for a wide array of products and services that are part of their brand-related spend,” said Michael Zawalski, president and CEO of WorkflowOne. “To support this breadth of offerings, we are developing a more powerful, flexible online system that will help customers collaborate and manage their brand-related spend right from their desktops, and we are also making the most of tools from both companies that help measure performance and customer satisfaction.”
He noted that the company is being called on to solve the business problems that customers and prospects are experiencing as a result of growth. “Many customers are grappling with how to capitalize on digital print and online systems to put greater customization in the hands of end-users, while maintaining corporate control over brand identity and regulated information. Knowing how to combine traditional and digital print with Web-based tools has been instrumental in winning some of our largest multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts this year,” Zawalski said.
He went on to say that WorkflowOne continues to see strong interest and growth potential in financial services and health-care. “Both of these markets have come under increased government scrutiny, which mandates how you communicate with your customers, shareholders and patients,” Zawalski commented. “In addition, the hospitality industry is flourishing once again, and with its growth, we are seeing increased marketing programs.”
Zawalski also observed that as the channel matures, there are changes in the traditional roles played by distributors and manufacturers. “As with other industries, customers are the drivers in this change,” he remarked. “In the end, they are looking for economies of scale, and consolidation of their vendor base and partners to help shoulder the burdens brought on by shrinking budgets and staff.”
For more information, visit www.workflowone.com.
2006 Sales: $293 million
2005 Sales: $276 million
Manufacturing capabilities: No
Human Resources: The company increased the number of employees in its sales and administrative support areas in the last year, and continues to recruit new owners, including five new offices opened in October.
“Proforma owners, with state-of-the-art technologies, enable their clients to grow with innovative marketing solutions, such as direct mail, promotional products and business document printing,” said Greg Muzzillo, founder and co-CEO of Proforma, with his wife, Vera Muzzillo.
With more than 25 years of experience, Proforma remains clearly focused on providing solutions to North American businesses for their printing and promotional needs, including e-solutions.
“Our PLPs (Preferred Limited Partners) are vital to the success of our organization,” continued Muzzillo. “Proforma owners have established strong relationships with our PLPs and enjoy specialized attention and pricing. Our PLPs are excellent resources who are not only willing to educate our owners, but they are also willing to work hand-in-hand with them to develop the products that will best fit the end-user’s needs.”
Proforma serves more than 50,000 clients through approximately 650 member offices in North America.
For more information, visitwww.proforma.com.
Solutions for Business
2006 Sales $239.8 million
2005 Sales $231.2 million
Most profitable products: Promotional products (28.1 percent); forms (27.6 percent)
Manufacturing capabilities: No
Typical order size: Average order sale last year was $608, while largest order dollar amount was $375,000.
Human Resources: Sales, customer service and administrative staff have been added.
Health-care, financial, manufacturing and government are successful markets for American Solutions for Business, and President Larry Zavadil said the company will continue growing sales associates—including 31 former Global DocuGraphix sales associates and support personnel—and relationships in these different areas.
The company is also specially focused on packaging, and exit strategies for small- to medium-size distributorships grappling with marketplace changes and their limited resources.
One business operations challenge has been finding an efficient technology tool that can function as a national, fully integrated system. “There are [systems] out there, but the [companies] refuse to allow a source to make the adaptations in order to make them work,” Zavadil commented. “We’re constantly evolving our E-commerce to the customers’ satisfaction. Internally, our accounting function and structure is very robust and flexible, but it continues to be a challenge for us to plug in the remote sales associates and offices. Our plan is to have this resolved in the next two years,” he continued.
For more information, visit www.americanbus.com.
North Canton, Ohio
2006 Sales: $90.1 million
2005 Sales: $84.8 million
Most profitable products: Labels and tags (28 percent); forms (21 percent); envelopes, folders and stationery (21 percent).
Manufacturing capabilities: Yes
Typical order size: From $1,000, with the largest order being $675,000 last year.
Human Resources: The company increased personnel in sales and customer service, but decreased administrative staff in the past year.
GBS outsources more than 90 percent of its products. However, the company does have two label plants and a print-on-demand facility that provides document fulfillment services. “The fact that we are primarily non-asset based is a real advantage, as it gives us the ability to produce documents in the best, most efficient and economical method,” said Bryan Hartong, executive vice president, Document Management. “We are not tied to equipment and the overhead associated with it. We do not fit customers’ needs into our equipment. We take an individualized approach to provide the best solutions.”
Hartong sees the company’s greatest growth area in managing marketing fulfillment through the entire document life cycle. “This includes design consulting through complete project management and fulfillment,” he said.
As to changing distributor/manufacturer roles within the supply chain, Hartong observed that customers are demanding more value-add services and are not viewing print as a commodity. “It will become more critical in the future for both the distributor and manufacturer to blur this line if they are to meet the customers’ expectations,” he said. “As the market demand and expectations of our customers’ shifts, we will be challenged to have the proper talent and resources. We must continue to develop our current employees and find the right blend of experience and skills. We continue to make this a focus as we move forward.”
For more information, visit www.gbscorp.com.
5 Merrill Corp.
2006 Sales: $83.9 million
2005 Sales: $82.5 million
Most profitable products: Forms (22 percent); commercial printing (18 percent); promotional products (17 percent).
Manufacturing capabilities: Yes
Typical order size: From $4,250, to $650,000 for the largest order last year.
Human Resources: The company has increased personnel in sales and customer service, as well as administrative areas in the past year.
Merrill Corporation is privately owned with approximately 47 percent employee ownership. The company outsources solutions for various complex business communication and information management needs, including document and data management, litigation support, branded communication programs, fulfillment, imaging and printing.
Merrill Corporation targets specific markets that have complex information, document and communications requirements, including the legal, financial services, insurance and real estate industries. These types of clients particularly value accuracy, confidentiality, reliability and responsiveness, and the company meets its clients’ service requirements on a global basis through more than 70 domestic and 15 international offices, as well as through affiliate relationships.
Merrill Corporation conducts its business in four segments: Legal Solutions , Marketing and Communication Solutions, Transaction and Compliance Services and Other Communication Services.
The company recently acquired WordWave, Inc., a leading provider of litigation support, court reporting, captioning and transcription services for law firms, courts, governmental agencies and corporations worldwide.
The company also announced the integration of WordWave with its Document Management Services business unit to form Merrill Legal Solutions, extending Merrill’s position as a leading global provider of technology-enabled on-demand and on-site business solutions to the world’s largest law firms.
“We are very optimistic about the potential for the integrated business unit, and believe it will have a significant impact on Merrill’s continuing strategic diversification and international expansion efforts,” said John Castro, chairman and CEO.
For more information, visit www.merrillcorp.com.
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