When asked the secret of Jarob’s success, Doug VanPortfleet, chairman and CEO of Jarob, Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan, said, “To offer our customers better quality for less money, and to stay ahead of the competition.” Investing in the latest digital technology has enabled Jarob to fulfill that promise.
Jarob Inc. has been in business for 41 years, starting out as a fabricator of architectural signage and graphics. Jarob’s business philosophy is to invest in technology to grow the business, so they have continually invested in new digital printing equipment since 1998. Initially equipped with three roll fed solvent printers, Jarob brought in its first UV flatbed digital inkjet printer in 2005 and six months later invested in an Inca Spyder from Fujifilm. Pleased with the performance and productivity of the Inca Spyder platform, they added an Inca Columbia Turbo to further increase capacity as they continued to grow the business.
“Jarob has a very aggressive growth strategy,” said VanPortfleet. “We don’t want to be reactive, we want to be the leader. We don’t want to chase the competition, we want them to have to chase us.” So Jarob set out to find the best wide format digital inkjet printer for their business, looking at all available options in high speed, high productivity, and high quality platforms, ultimately selecting a 6-color Inca Onset S40 with automation. “We looked at everyone in the market,” said VanPortfleet, “and the Inca Onset S40 had the best productivity for the price and best cost per print. I wanted to invest in the next step up in technology and productivity and the Onset S40 simply outperformed the competition.”
“The S40 gives us the advantage in the 500 – 750 impressions range,” said Andrew Bishop, director of sales, marketing, and design at Jarob. “We now have the ability to go after jobs we may not have bid on before, or jobs where our pricing could not be competitive.”
Jarob’s plan also included bringing outsourced work back in house. They realized an immediate benefit and a boost to their ROI when they began to reclaim jobs they were outsourcing. “From a sales perspective, we were outsourcing a lot of work to screen printers. The S40 allowed us to go after more of that business and bring it back in-house. We’ve brought about 80% of the outsourced work back already,” Bishop said. The Inca Onset S40 has given Jarob a four-fold increase in capacity, faster turnaround, and more competitive pricing, and they plan to take full advantage of their new capabilities. “We plan to offer more services to our existing customers, and to gain market share,” Bishop said. “My goal is to fill the S40 up as fast as possible.”
Shortly after the Inca Onset S40 was up and running, Jarob held an open house to introduce the new machine and its capabilities to customers and employees. “It was a chance for everyone to see the samples and see the print quality,” VanPortfleet said. “Seeing it live gave it a real ‘wow’ factor.” Customers were very impressed with the speed of the machine as the automation system stacked up sample after sample. “We ran the S40 side by side with the Turbo, and it was eye opening to see how much faster the Onset prints. We explained to everyone that jobs that took a week to run on the Columbia Turbo were produced in a day on the Onset. Everyone could immediately see the impact it would have on our business.”
VanPortfleet continued, “Once we started to send out samples to prospective customers, things really picked up. There was much more interest coming in, more quotes going out, and we received many more sample requests. We are changing conventional thinking about both quality and price with the S40. The Inca Onset S40 definitely opened a door to increased business for us,” VanPortfleet said. “We let everyone in the area know about our new S40 and the spectacular work we were doing. Customers who previously said they were happy with their current supplier saw our samples and now want to talk to us.”
The investment in the Inca Onset S40 positively affected the sales team and the company’s employees. Bishop said, “Our team was very motivated by the purchase, we felt that if management was willing to make that level of investment in us, and believe in our ability to sell, we weren’t going to let them down. We’re seeing more customers this year than we have in other years combined, and we’re aggressively promoting Jarob and its new capabilities. Jarob was once a well-kept secret, but not anymore. We’re confident the S40 is going to help us grow and expand the range of customers we service.”