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American Screen Art: Capitalizing on Change

(May 2006) posted on Wed May 24, 2006

Find out how the company has benefited over the last five decades by constantly transforming its production capabilities.

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By Lori Leaman

American Screen Art is a company that eagerly embraces innovation and change. As such, it boasts many firsts. The company says it was among the first national large-format screen-printing operations to use multicolor-inline-press technology and the first to offer its customers a higher level of service through inventory programs, just-in-time delivery, design, and turnkey international program management. It also was one of the first screen printers to invest in small- and large-format digital-printing technology, offering full-color, short-run capabilities.

American Screen Art's ambition to implement new technologies, take on challenging applications, and develop innovative products has earned it recognition throughout the industry and accolades in various categories of competition. For example, the company was recognized in the 2005 HP Indigo Ribbon Awards for a product that it entered in the specialty printing P-O-P/P-O-S category. The company also has received quite a bit of attention for Perma-Bright, a specially designed diffuser laminate it developed for backlit applications, and Tough Cal and Tough Hide products, which provide extra-durable graphics for soft-drink vending machines.

On the horizon

American Screen Art maintains its focus on the three major markets in which it has cultivated solid relationships: beverage, fleet, and retail graphics. Some of the company's goals include striking a better balance in those areas, maintaining growth in the beverage market, continuing to develop in the fleet market, and expanding in the retail market. American Screen Art also provides OEM products for vending equipment, confectionery equipment, and decals for the electronics industry. The company plans to explore additional OEM opportunities in the near future.

American Screen Art's production capabilities allow the company to fulfill a plethora of job orders of various sizes, quantities, and numbers of colors in the beverage, fleet, and retail markets. However, to support its goals for continued growth and market expansion, the company intends to build up its digital-imaging department with the addition of more printing and finishing equipment over the course of the next year. American Screen Art has significantly increased its sales force over the past year to capitalize on its production capabilities. In addition, the company has been pursuing a strategy of building its sales through acquisitions of complementary businesses.

Alexander says that American Screen Art would like to expand the digital side of the business to the point that digital printing accounts for 1⁄3 of the shop's business. The management team has yet to decide whether those digital additions will include flatbed, roll-fed, or hybrid printers.

"Statistics show that screen printing, at least on the graphics side, is flat as far as growth—maybe even slightly declining. I still see that it has a future, but the growth from a graphics provider is on the digital side," Alexander says. "So we try to use digital printing to take care of short runs and give us an opportunity to produce prototypes when it's not cost-effective to do so with screen-printing technology."

Alexander isn't sure whether American Screen Art will ever be an all-digital shop. He believes having screen and ink-jet technologies in house offers a nice balance. But regardless of what direction the company takes, Alexander says American Screen Art will continue to look for and embrace changes that benefit the company and its customers.


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