Executive Q&A: David Spiel, Co-Owner, Spiel Associates

Q: Tell us about Spiel Associates, the segment of the market it serves, and who you consider to be your core users.

A: Spiel Associates has been solving America’s bindery problems since 1963. Our company specializes in mechanical and perfect binding equipment. We offer new and used machinery for both short-run and large-run printers and binderies.


Q: What is your background and how did you get involved with your company?

A: Like many people in our industry, I studied hard, went to college, got good grades, flapped my wings for a while, and then went into my father’s business.


Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in this market?

A: Fifteen years ago there was no way to bind plastic coil automatically. We developed the first functional automatic plastic coil binder, the first in-line plastic coil former and binder, as well as the first tabletop automatic plastic coil binder.

There are very few shops that still do a large amount of plastic coil binding on manual, tabletop machines. This is mostly due to the technology that we have developed.


Q: If you could change anything, either about your career, your company, or the market as a whole, what would it be and why?

A: I would like to see more people reading books.


Q: What do you consider to be the greatest challenge for the industry right now?

A: Struggling in this tough economy and maintaining a steady flow of business.


Q: What do you consider to be the greatest asset for the industry right now?

A: The biggest asset has to do with digital work. Now many printers can finish products themselves, rather than send their work out. This allows the customer to get what he wants, when he wants it. This is our biggest bulwark against the immediacy of digital communication.


Q: What are the biggest changes to the way we communicate with one another in the past few years? How would you recommend this industry take advantage of that?

A: If printers are upgrading their presses and prepress software, it makes no sense to continue binding books the same way that they did 20 years ago. Upgrade to digital bindery equipment.


Q: Looking ahead, what major innovations or technologies do you believe will shape the future of the industry? Why?

A: Equipment that is easier to use and set up is a must. We all know that finding talented, technically talented people is getting harder and harder.


Q: What one piece of advice would you like to give to printers and others involved in this industry?

A: This may sound self serving, but I find that printers pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the latest prepress and press equipment and only save what’s left over for the bindery. The bindery department can be a money maker and the equipment has a much longer lifespan than presses and prepress equipment.


Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with Printing News readers?

A: There was a recent study reported by ABC News, among others, stating that if every American purchased $96 worth of goods made in America, it would create 200,000 jobs. That means if you purchase $96,000 worth of machinery built in the US, you will create a job in the US. We here at Spiel Associates are part of a dying breed: A manufacturer that builds machinery in this country. If you can, buy American.