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PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 Highlight: New services are key to a new role for

Monday, August 29, 2005

Press release from the issuing company

August 26, 2005 -- Automated Graphic Systems of White Plains, MD, has created a new Internet Department with a staff of ten to help clients with everything from website creation to database management in support of variable data printing. LaVigne, Inc., in Worcester, MA, has moved strongly into inventory fulfillment and reached out to printers in Europe to create a network of shops that can serve more customers both here and there. These are just two approaches to the industry’s most pervasive current challenge, the need to add value to services that have been in danger of becoming commodities and pure-price acquisitions. Printers looking for growth ideas will flock to Chicago in September for PRINT 05 & CONVERTINGSM 05, the world’s largest printing, publishing and converting trade show of 2005. Both in seminars and among roughly 750,000 square feet of exhibits at McCormick Place, show visitors will find hundreds of solutions to the challenge of profitable diversification. LaVigne CEO Christopher Wells recalls that "ten years ago, we were a very regional bid-and-win printer, and we were very competitive, job by job." But that was a high cost business with workflows and products that were slow and costly to change. So the company charted a course into fulfillment services and variable data printing. "We’ve been doing inventory fulfillment for five years now," Wells says. "If you are looking to go the web-to-print route, you have to do it." In addition, LaVigne is building a network of allied companies in other nations that can share business and capabilities to serve more needs of more customers. This "print management model" is similar to business strategies already widely used in Europe. The company already has several "partner" companies in Europe and is always looking for opportunities to channel business toward them. Despite the important contributions of these new services, Wells reports that 60 percent of LaVigne’s revenues still come from traditional print operations, and the company’s press room includes such familiar sights as six- and eight-color 40 inch sheetfeds. Supporting client business more broadly can also pay off in added revenues for traditional print operations, says John Green, president of Automated Graphic Systems. "If it weren’t for our ancillary services, our ink-on-paper business would be 20 to 25 percent less than what we presently do," he says. AGS has been steadily diversifying for many years, Green says, including well-established moves into fulfillment, variable data digital printing, database management and Internet services. The company has hired specialists to provide web design, CD-ROM and other services, and now has a 10-person Internet department. "Customers need help with these things," Green says, "and when you can help a customer in this area, they view you as more of a strategic partner than a printer." Growing from an ink-on-paper business into a "strategic partner" role is a big challenge to many companies, and thousands of managers will search the aisles and seminar rooms of PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 looking for solutions. The show, the world’s largest industry exhibition this year, will take place on September 9-15 at the McCormick Place Complex. Complete show information, online registration and hotel options are available at www.print05.com.




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