Contrary to the goings on at the The Office's Dunder Mifflin, where staff spent more time planning how to sabotage co-workers than ever helping customers, paper merchants play a critical role in the distribution of paper throughout the graphic communications industry. While many of the largest...
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Forming partnerships with its customers is key to the service we provide, says Simon Schaffer, CMO & Director Specialty Papers and Board and the grandson of Irv Schaffer, one of the founders of the 70-year-old company.
“Our business model is centered around responding quickly to customers, whether it’s giving them an answer or product,” says Schaffer. “We’ve had salespeople wake up at 3:00 a.m. to check on a truck because they know the delivery is important to a customer.”
That model not only includes 24/7 service, a sales force that is completely focused on providing hands-on service, but also an inventory management program.
“Printers today are keeping less inventory; one of our strengths is that we maintain and keep a large inventory,” says Schaffer.
“Reinvesting in new, top of the line equipment, increases our ability to respond to what the market needs,” says Schaffer. “If you need something custom-converted in 48 hours, we can do that.”
A new specialty division incorporates the same type of work ethic of delivering high-level customer service, and applying it to delivering specialty papers, says Schaffer.
“If a printer has a problem, we present a solution, no matter what they are printing,” he says. “There are a lot of different papers suited to what they are printing, so we take on the role of consultant and find the best fit. Because we deal on a global scale, and have access to a huge variety of paper/paperboard grades, we can offer our knowledge to our customers the right paper.”
A part of its partnership service is that customers always speak with a “live” person when ordering; despite the ubiquity of e-commerce Case doesn’t do online ordering.
Speaking to a live person allows Case salespeople to ensure their customers are making the right choice. “We had one customer that prints little cards that are shipped all around the company,” says Schaffer. “We were able to suggest paperboard that was 15 percent lighter, so even if the price of the paper was the same, the weight advantage was a no-brainer.”
A Strategic Partner
At Paper Mart, the mission is to become an extension of its customers’ business, functioning like a strategic partner.
“We work towards understanding our client’s objectives so that in turn our clients do not need to worry about their paper selection,” says Levey. “ Once a client places an order with us, the last thing the he or she should be worried about is their paper or envelope order. This in turn provides the customer with the ability to focus on other aspects of their business.
To become a printer’s partner in achieving success, salespeople are trained to listen, to understand what they really need. “The ability to understand the different attributes of the products in addition to understanding how they run on the different pieces of equipment is standard practice here,” says Levey.
Paper Mart also gives its customer personalized service from a live expert Monday through Friday. Each customer request is handled with the same high level of urgency, care and precision, says Levey.
A recent addition to its service program is a Website that offers industry specific tools for the printer, including an envelope glossary, an envelope directory and size guide, a digital stocking guide, a paper glossary, a paper estimator, and a basis weight/GSM equivalent chart.