Veterans in the outdoor-graphics industry discuss how their companies have dealt with changes in the market and how other recent issues, such as the economic recession and the push for sustainability, have impacted their businesses.
By Lori Leaman
MCDANIEL: We don’t actually feel that there is a recession in the outdoor-graphics market. We understand that more attention is being paid to budgets, and customers are looking for the best pricing they can get. So, the pricing has been more competitive this year. We are shifting more focus to internal efficiencies to make up the difference.
RENDA: We actually haven’t seen any downward impact. Our customers are still buying advertising. It’s helping them sell their products, so we haven’t seen anything negative.
GARCIA: There is no question that a certain portion of our customer base has cut down spending, which has a negative impact on our top line but, in general, it is still a profitable segment of our business.
SP: What is your company doing to contend with the rise in energy and raw-material costs? Have these conditions affected the way you do business?
GABRIEL: We try to pass that along to our clients, where possible. I think they understand and are open to that. We’re always conscientious of those factors (rising costs) and we try to communicate that to our account executives with as much notice as possible, and then to our clients so they can be prepared for the increase. For example, in the next three months if there is an up charge, our clients can get secure budgets beforehand, approve projects, and we’ll honor all of our quotes. Also, internally one of our goals has been to be as sustainable as possible, which has benefited us in reducing long-term operating cost. Recently, we installed a lighting system through our 80,000-sq-ft facility, which saves us tens of thousands of dollars a year by cutting the voltage usage in half. We also recently installed low-flush toilets throughout the facility, and we replaced over 80 monitors to energy-efficient LCDs. Internally, we have developed a Web-based system called Huddle, which incorporates soft proofing, asset management, and job tracking via the web. Benefits seen with this software are that we’re not printing as much paper for job tracking, produce less proofs, and have increased efficiencies and consolidated information.
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