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FASTEST GROWING PRINTERS: FAST AND NIMBLE

Jun 1, 1999 12:00 AM


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Business is good for printers, it seems, if we look at this year's Top 50 Fastest Growing Printers award winners. There are more new entries, and the average percent of sales growth has increased from 40 percent to slightly more than 50 percent. Competition was tough this year, and many proven innovative firms, recognized for their achievements in past years, didn't make the cut. We are, however, pleased to report that many of our previous winners did exceptionally well in sales growth during 1998 --just not quite good enough to make this year's listing.

In this, the sixth year of the Top 50 program, we congratulate the winners and give special thanks to our co-sponsor, The National Assn. for Printing Leadership (Teaneck, NJ). NAPL is an organization that fully understands the important--and difficulties--of running a well-managed company. Its programs are clearly designed to provide graphic arts executives with a helping hand to achieve enhanced profitability.

In 1999 we give special recognition to Cunningham Graphics International (Jersey City, NJ), which joins the ranks of our five-time winners. Cunningham is only the second company in six years to achieve this distinction. The East Coast printer credits its success to a strong customer focus, along with sound financial and business planning.

Cunningham has grown, in part, through acquisitions, specializing in in-plants assimilating operations from McGraw Hill and Schroder & Co in 1998. In early 1999, the company also has acquired the Workable Co. Ltd., Boston Towne Press and Griffin House Graphics Ltd.

Multiple-year winners continue to surprise us. Sustaining rapid growth across a five-year period is no easy task, and we congratulate Cunningham Graphics for its consistent performance.

To qualify as winners, these Top 50 outstanding graphic arts firms have to excel in growth throughout the past three years. Winners are selected based on percent of sales growth from 1996 to 1998. To be eligible, firms have to be in business for at least four years and have sales of more than $1 million during 1998. Winners are selected from those companies whose completed entry form reached us by the specified deadline date.

American Printer understands that there are some fast-growing companies not included on this list. Unfortunately, a number of entry forms were received considerably past the deadline date and other firms have decided not to enter the awards program. If your company is not included, please look for our "Call For Entries" announcements in early 2000.

Fast growth isn't always an indicator of profitability. But in our industry, still dominated by privately held firms, profit levels among companies often are difficult to compare. As a result, the Top 50 listing is based only on percentage of revenue growth. The advantages to this are simplicity and objectivity. However, we do recognize there are potential drawbacks.

This year's winners are distinguished by their growing attention to customer involvement. In many cases, their emphasis is on consultive selling and developing programs that address client problems. We are pleased to see this proactive focus, highlighting graphic arts companies as problem-solvers rather than just order-takers.

We salute the quality, excellence, management skills and teamwork that combine to make these 50 companies so successful.

For more information, please see the tables on pages 34-37 of the June 1999 American Printer.