Standing Their Ground
1. The Defending Champions
Midlothian, Texas-based Ennis has much to celebrate—perhaps most importantly its repeated procurement of the winning spot in Print Professional’s top 100 manufacturers list. The company attributes its success to product expansion and national branding efforts. Acquisitions, in particular, give the supplier prime positioning to accomplish such feats. Most recently, Trade Envelopes, Carol Stream, Ill., Phoenix-based B&D Litho of Arizona and Skyline Business Forms, Denver, have been added to the Ennis catalog.
“Since the acquisition, we have expanded Trade Envelopes’ envelope conversion capabilities. We have also added envelope converting equipment in Calibrated [Forms], and coupled with our existing Block Graphics facilities, we now offer a robust envelope product line across the country,” noted Keith Walters, chairman, president and CEO. “Calibrated also added integrated equipment and becomes the fifth facility producing our Enfusion integrated product line. Growing our geographic footprint will become more important as the cost of freight increases, and the industry becomes more regionally focused.”
Uncompromised Check Solutions (UCS) is another recently launched product brand finding success. Along with Enfusion, UCS was built with a two-fold intention. “In both cases, we wanted to build kits that focused on supporting distributors’ selling efforts and created name recognition, and I feel we have achieved both objectives,” said Walters. “ ... Simply put, we rely on distributors as our sales team and build our strategies to support them.”
So, how will Ennis keep things interesting in 2009? Expanding on its product diversification over the last decade, the company will continue to fill the void left from the decline in traditional product demand.
Not surprisingly, cost pressures remain a growing area of concern. Even though the costs of paper, freight and employee benefits are increasing, pressure is being applied to distributors to lower costs during these down-and-out times. “As a public company, it is imperative that we eliminate costs to help provide acceptable returns to shareholders while allowing our distributors to remain price competitive,” Walters asserted.
Related story: Round ‘Em Up