Where graphics production is a family affair
By Lori Leaman
Ramsey employs what he refers to as the Lazarus Return Policy, based on the well-known department store's commitment to keeping its customers satisfied. He says Lazarus used to guarantee customer satisfaction by replacing returned items with products of a shopper's liking. Ramsey strives to extend the same commitment and dedication to his clients.
If clients are not satisfied, Advanced is prepared and willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means redoing a job. Part of this practice includes honesty with clients about limitation, time constraints, and the occasional inability to accommodate a particular job on a tight deadline.
"We are constantly in touch with our customers," Ramsey says. "Communication is huge, and that is wrapped up in our relationship with our customers."
If a problem should occur in the 11th hour of a print job, and sometimes it does, the folks at Advanced contact their client, explain the problem, offer alternative options, and work with the client to find a solution. "Customer relationships—you can build and build and build them, but if you screw it up once, you lose the relationship and have to start over," Ramsey says.
Ramsey once read a business statistic that startled and motivated him: Ninety percent of all business fail in the first five years. Seeing that number boosted Ramsey's determination to be among the 10% that succeeded. Many times, that meant that he'd have to work long, hard hours and many weekends to get his business off the ground and running, build his list of customers, and keep his customers happy. "I was never a printer," Ramsey says. "I was a manager. But when you start a printing business, you become a printer."
Advanced Digital and Screen Printing produces a variety of P-O-P work. Most of the job orders come from five loyal clients. One of them—a national grocery chain—has been Advanced Digital and Screen's biggest account for years, and this client's work occupies a majority of the shops production time. Even though Advanced's clients keep the jobs coming in and the presses running, the company continues to work on expanding its client list. The company focuses on retail chains, including pharmacies, clothing stores, and restaurants. Ramsey says his goal is to secure up to 150 new accounts, and possibly as many as 300.
The Chromatix program will play a crucial role in the company's plans to diversify its clientele. Ramsey explains that third parties often conduct much of the business when Advanced works with retail accounts, so the shop must be able to present consistent, repeatable results to all parties involved in winning a job order.
Preparing for transitions
One of Ramsey's primary goals is to turn over his business to his children, who will then hand the business down to their children (Figure 5). Therefore, he must keep his family in mind when making decisions that affect the company. Training is another tool Advanced uses to make sure future generations will be able to manage operations.
Training at Advanced mostly occurs on the job through hands-on experience. Ramsey and Nordmoe make sure that employees keep current with industry knowledge by sending them to training courses offered by companies and organizations in the digital- and screen-printing industries.
Advanced also plans to diversify its product offerings, and to support this goal, the company intends to add more wide-format digital-imaging equipment. The team is currently researching and considering several options for its next purchase. On the screen-printing side, Advanced's main goal is to complete its Chromatix program, which will enable the company to deliver more consistent color. The company also is investigating the possibility of bringing an automatic coating machine to its screenroom.
Advanced Digital and Screen has been evolving its operation to be a full-service provider of high-quality graphics for a variety of applications. By focusing on building a strong staff, versatile equipment line-up, a broad assortment of printing and finishing capabilities, and wide selection of products, Advanced is positioning itself as a one-stop shop that can handle the design, printing, packaging, shipping, and application of graphics. The company's vision has paved the way for success that is likely to continue increasing with each new generation of the Ramseys that becomes involved in the family business.
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