National Envelope Imprinting, Inc. (NEI Inc.) has been printing envelopes for printers since 1985. Scott Cagno, CEO and owner, came to NEI in 1988. He purchased the business in January of 2008. He has worked as a press operator, production management and sales in his 20 years at NEI. As CEO, Scott oversees all business operations of NEI Inc. NEI is primarily a trade printer working with printers, advertising agencies and print buyers. The company runs Halm Jet Presses, which are a perfect fit for their customers. Scott says his biggest challenge is making a profit while remaining competitive in their market. “We are constantly challenged with having to balance increasing costs while maintaining competitive prices.”
WTT: Where do you see the biggest opportunities in the future for your company?
SC: The web is certainly an opportunity for us to grow our business. The challenge is how to make it work. One of our core values is “Customer Care”, how we can maintain our customer relationships and still utilize the speed and convenience of the Internet for quotes, order entry and proofing has yet to be worked out, but we are working on it. The other opportunity is to offer collateral services that are a nice fit for our customers. We are constantly looking for things to offer our customers to enhance the experience of working with NEI Inc.
WTT: How would you describe the economy?
SC: I think that the economy will continue to lag. I don’t think printers should take a “hunker down”, “do nothing” approach. We will continue to offer our customers more. When our schedule is not as full we can turn up the Customer Care. We can send our people out to meet with customers that they normally just talk to on the phone just to strengthen our relationships.
If our inside people actually meet our customers face to face they suddenly have a personal stake in that customers satisfaction. When we are busy we can’t do some of those things. We will also aggressively attack new markets. We will try to fill needs for customers that we normally don’t have the time or resources to do. In a slow down we can do things that we normally don’t have the personnel or time to do. So we will look for those things. It’s like a carpenter being willing to paint if his customers needs it.
WTT: Is NEI FSC certified?
SC: NEI is FSC certified. We have been for about a year now and I think we have done one FSC job since our certification. My business behaves in a responsible manner by recycling and having waste properly disposed of. I think there is a lot of hype over environmental issues but all printers should behave responsibly.
WTT: What type of high-speed envelope presses do you have?
SC: We use Halm Jet Presses. We have 5 presses, 4 of them are two color-perfecting presses and 1 is a four-color press. A future investment will be in the area of direct to plate technology. We haven’t found the right system yet to work with our production workflow. We are big on systems and invest heavily in the development of these systems from estimating thorough delivery. We use Filemaker, which gives us a lot of power and flexibility to custom build whatever we need. We will continue to make investments in technology and systems. We have no plans, at this time, to add to our family of presses - they are an excellent fit for our customers needs.
WTT: What effect has digital had on your business, specifically as it relates to envelopes?
SC: It has had a huge effect on printing industry in general. I think that it has affected us mostly in the area of expectations of our customers. 95% of our work comes in digital format either uploaded or emailed. PDF proofs are expected within hours or minutes not days. Work that comes in today is expected to deliver tomorrow in many cases.
There is not a digital press that effectively handles envelopes so we have not seen our way of printing change much. We inventory for some customers and they have the ability to view their inventory online. It is updated on the web in real time as we add or remove items in our warehouse. Our delivery drivers have iPhones with their delivery slips and “to do” list which is updated remotely all day long from the plant. There is no doubt that a digital world has changed the way we do business.
WTT: Tell us about your customers. What are some of the challenges they have presented to you and how do you work to meet those challenges?
SC: I love our customers and I hope that all printers feel the same way. I hear many printers complain about their customers and I don’t know why. I need every one of my customers. Sometimes they present challenges but almost always it provides us a way to impress. The biggest challenge has consistently been in turnaround times of jobs. We have many customers who come to us to get quick service. It is not unusual to get a call at 3:00pm from a customer with a request to have 50,000 envelopes printed and delivered by 8:00am tomorrow. We have had to plan for these types of jobs by having more items in inventory, utilizing electronic files and PDF proofs, and creative scheduling so that we can routinely meet these challenges. For our customers it is impressive, for us it becomes routine.
WTT: Do you attend trade shows?
SC: I attend some trade shows from time to time. I mostly do so to see what’s new and what the trends are. If we have an idea I like to attend a trade show to see if anyone else has this idea and to see if others would be interested in our idea. Graph Expo and DMA are the shows I have attended the most often.