June 25, 2007 -- MINNETONKA, Minn. — Wallace Carlson Co. positions itself as a communication solutions provider with good reason.
"We do everything from small press one- and two-color work to six-color, 40-inch projects with coating," said Brian Turbeville, president.
The 47-employee company combines conventional and digital printing technologies, creative services and the transactional cross-platform efficiencies of the Internet to help manage its customers' printing and communications needs.
Serving the Twin Cities area more efficiently was the driving force behind the installation of a six-color Mitsubishi Diamond 3000S press. The printer's first Mitsubishi press replaced a 17-year-old press, also a six-color, 40-inch machine equipped with an aqueous coater.
"The existing press produced fantastic print quality, but it was older and slower," Turbeville recalled. "It was getting difficult to keep up with the increasing orders. We originally considered adding a third shift to accommodate our workload."
Turbeville had taken note of the number of Mitsubishi presses that other local printers had installed in recent years. Good references definitely played a role in his decision to buy the Diamond 3000S, he said.
"We were aware that Mitsubishi was making its presence known in the Twin Cities," Turbeville said. "The popularity of the presses, based on the installations that have occurred in the past five years, encouraged us to take a serious look at Mitsubishi. We talked to 'friendly competitors' about the presses. They told us the quality was as good as other manufacturers' presses. We also found the Mitsubishi press to offer much better value than our previous presses."
Lightning Printing Inc. dba Wallace Carlson Co. is the official name for Turbeville's company.
"I had a successful one- and two-color printing company that I started in a garage 24 years ago, running AB Dick 360 presses," Turbeville explained.
By 2005, Lightning Printing reached $2 million in annual sales. That same year, Turbeville acquired the assets of Wallace Carlson, then a $3.8 million company.
The combined operation generated $6.4 million in revenues in 2006. Turbeville budgeted revenues of $7 million for 2007.
Wallace Carlson is on track to meet its sales projection, according to Turbeville.
"We have been running the new press for three months and already have printed 9 million impressions," he said. "Two big runs accounted for 1.5 million impressions, but the remaining jobs averaged 5,000 to 10,000 impressions."
In fact, print demand has been so strong that the company elected to add a third shift anyway, despite the improvement in productivity.
Wallace Carlson currently operates around the clock, five days a week. The 36,000-square-foot facility provides creative graphic design, full bindery and finishing services, fulfillment and mailing, and web-based digital asset management. The printer's commercial products include annual reports, brochures, catalogs, manuals and booklets.
The pressroom houses, in addition to the Mitsubishi press, a two-color, 40-inch perfector and a six-color, 29-inch perfector with coater.
"Compared to the press it replaced, the Mitsubishi press delivers 60 percent more production," Turbeville said. "We went from an hour and 15 minutes to set up the press to a 20-minute setup."