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Do the right thing

Mar 1, 2011 12:00 AM

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A few years ago, Bruce Boyarsky was waiting to disembark from a cruise ship. “I can't wait to get back to work,” Boyarsky told his family. A fellow passenger overheard this remark and demanded to know Boyarsky's occupation. “I told him that I owned a bindery and that I loved what I did,” Boyarsky recalled. “He didn't understand how someone could love a job. But I love this business.”

Boyarsky, who bought the bindery 11 years ago, traces his love of the business to when, at seven years old, he was helping his father make boxes. Ocean State Bookbinding occupies 13,000 sq. ft. in Providence, RI. “We have 30 employees and we run two shifts,” says Boyarsky. “They are hard workers who also enjoy what they do.”

General manager Joe Jackson was a key hire. “Joe came to work here two months after I purchased Ocean State,” says Boyarsky. “We are cut from the same cloth. Both of our fathers owned binderies.”

Jackson and Boyarsky share a commitment to service. “If we have to die score a job at no cost because it is the right thing to do, we will. Joe sets up a folder at our expense on every job we die score, even if we are not folding it, to ensure there will be no cracking when the customer does the folding.”

Ocean State employees enjoy some fun fringe benefits, such as gift cards recognizing their efforts on jobs for a local restaurant. There's also a profit sharing plan.

“A few years ago, we had to suspend some of our benefits for nine months,” says Boyarsky. “When things turned around, we put the benefits back. We communicated what was happening during the entire process. Communication and trust is the most important part of business ownership. Employees, customers and suppliers must trust that you will deliver what you promise.”

Bring out the best

“We look at the best machines available for a specific process,” says Boyarsky. “We need high-speed, efficient and reliable equipment.” Recent additions include a Bobst diecutter, a Vijuk minfolder and Spiel Associates' B-535 Rilecart wire-o binder.

Boyarsky found that wire-o options ranged from low priced machines with equally modest output of 300 to 500 books per hour to million-dollar machines capable of producing 2,500 to 3,000 books per hour. Spiel Associates' Rilecart compared favorably to the high-end machines at a significantly lower price.

“The Rilecart is [a great value] when it comes to automated high speed wire-o equipment,” says Boyarsky. “It can produce 2,500 books per hour — we can compete on wire-o books at any quantity.”

Boyarsky is enthusiastic about the machine's engineering and overall durability. Positive feedback from fellow users sealed the deal. “I called six or seven binderies that have used the Rilecart from four to 15 years,” says Boyarsky. “Every person I spoke to said the machine is fantastic.”

Embracing automation

Ocean State can produce 2,200 books per hour on its Rilecart with four operators. Two semiautomatic machines with four operators would chug along at 600 to 1,000 books per hour. “It is not unusual to see 10 or 12 people working six wire binders when three or four operators could bind up to 4,000 books per hour on Rilecart's B-599,” says David Spiel. “But binderies and commercial printers are realizing that they can't throw labor at every problem.”

In this online article, Spiel does the math to show how a slow wire binder can cost an owner $30,000 over 15 years. See