The Multiweb production line that houses ProteusJet's piezo imaging units assembles feature-rich mailing pieces in volume with speed, allowing shorter cycle times than traditionally experienced. Daniel Thornton, president of RRD’s Response Marketing Services, states, “Consumers are continuously presented with mass advertising, but our ProteusJet Multiweb lines enable marketers to tailor and present messages precisely to the individual reader in ways that television, radio, and even social media cannot. Using the demography attached to each mailing address, our clients can present variable graphics and visuals that individual readers understand and relate to,” Thornton shares. “Likewise, they can write to the individual in terms that are familiar. Marketers can improve speed to market, deliver more timely offers, and condense countless individual campaigns into one continual run that delivers more efficient postal-ready mail that earns important postage discounts.”
A month earlier, at drupa, RRD and press manufacturer KBA introduced the much-anticipated RotaJET 76. The jointly developed inkjet press is at KBA’s main production facility in Würzburg, Germany. The digital device unites KBA’s knowledge as a market leader in high-quality web offset press engineering with RRD’s expertise and industrial application of its proprietary Apollo inkjet technology—complete with the attendant hardware and workflows.
Looking at more conventional print alternatives, RRD expanded its package printing presence by buying Genesis Packaging & Design 11 months ago. The Lemont, IL, custom packaging firm provides services that include design, printing, diecutting, finishing, and assembly. RRD is transitioning to the digital age in other ways as well. Last summer, it acquired firms that provide a number of software publishing tools that Donnelley can offer to publishers to create new online business models. LibreDigital provides digital replicas of publications and e-reading software, while Sequence Personal’s custom publishing software enables readers to select content to be digitally produced as a specialized publication. Earlier in 2011, Donnelley purchased Journalism Online, which helps media companies generate subscription revenue from their websites. Its Press+ system enables publishers to offer their audiences a blend of free and subscription-based content.
100 Minutes North
Situated about 90 miles due north of Chicago, near Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shores, is another venerable mega printer. With “only” 24,000 employees, 60 printing plants, and less than half the revenues of Donnelley, Quad/Graphics, based in Sussex, WI, is nonetheless huge, with annual sales of around $4.3 billion. Like Donnelley, Quad also has grown by acquisition, purchasing World Color Press (Quebecor World) for more than $1 billion two years ago. Shortly thereafter, North America’s largest private printer went public, adopting the “QUAD” symbol on the New York Stock Exchange. (Baltimore-based Vertis Communications now holds the title of the largest private print firm, with revenues of $1.2 billion.)
But unlike its largest North American competitor, Quad’s persona seems much more friendly and approachable. It is almost as if founder Harry V. Quadracci’s affable smile somehow is imprinted on the company, 10 years after his tragic drowning. (Were he still alive, “Larry” would be 76 and, no doubt, still donning his trademark bow tie at DMA shows.)
For the past six years, son Joel Quadracci, has been CEO of the printing firm his father founded in 1971. Quad’s management team outbid rival Donnelley to acquire Worldcolor. Mark Angelson, Worldcolor’s then-CEO who had led Donnelley as its chief executive for four years (2003-07), rebuffed his former employer’s offers. (A graphic arts mergers and acquisitions guru, Angelson also had been CEO of Canadian firm Moore Wallace, at one time the third largest printer in America, and now is deputy mayor of Chicago. As the ninth anniversary of the Donnelley-Moore Wallace deal approaches, there still is debate over who actually “acquired” whom. A slew of Canadian executives descended on the Chicago firm in late 2003, yet the Donnelley name was kept in tact, perhaps for recognition and branding purposes.)
More recently, this past June QuadDirect revealed enhancements to its 579,000-square-foot Effingham, IL, direct mail facility. The multimillion-dollar investment in commingling and inline manufacturing equipment is driving greater speed and postal savings for customers, the company reported. The year-long expansion project includes two additional high-speed letter sorters. “Our latest investment in the [Effingham] plant has focused on state-of-the-art inline press personalization, selective inserting, and on-site commingling capabilities” Joel Quadracci says. “The result is a truly 21st century facility with more of the technology direct marketers need to drive greater response while better managing production and distribution costs.”