Special Report: Printers' Outlook: Not Your Father's (or Mother's) Book Manufacturers
Chief Operating Officer Walsworth Publishing Co., Inc., Marceline, Mo.
Peter Beisser: What is your company's biggest challenge today?
Jim Mead: Anticipating the future impact of technology on our markets. This will affect the final product, how it will be distributed and how it will be made. We have a diversified offering that includes products other than books. The heritage of Walsworth is yearbooks, and we have expanded into other product lines during our 75-year history. Working with our customers to understand their needs, we are constantly changing our service offerings and products to help them be successful.
Beisser: What is your company's biggest opportunity?
Mead: Leveraging our company's strength is our biggest opportunity. While the past few years have been challenging in the print industry and the overall economy, Walsworth Publishing has enjoyed continued growth and expansion.
Challenges within commercial print have been met with a broadening of product capabilities to serve additional catalog and publications markets and expanded offerings to our core customers.
Beisser: What are some of the trends you are seeing among your publishing customers?
Mead: Many of our customers want smaller production runs, faster turnaround and greater capabilities facilitated through technology and process improvement. We see the need to get products to the end user [more quickly], while minimizing investment in inventory through the supply chain. Many of our niche markets remain strong in a shrinking print world and are not presently at risk of digital replacement. Moreover, Walsworth has the ability to provide a comprehensive digital product.
Beisser: Have you made significant changes to increase your value to publishers or to address the trends you are seeing?
Mead: Walsworth has invested in capabilities for our customers to create content, identify and market to end users along with full-publication support. An acquisition [of IPC Print Services] in 2010 also enhanced our fulfillment, distribution and logistics services. We constantly evaluate capabilities to complement our print services and are forming strategic partnerships to complement our product offering.
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