Features Business Management
Secrets of success

November 5, 2019  By Alyssa Dalton

It’s undeniable that the print industry is in a state of constant transformation, so how can today’s printing companies best navigate these turbulent times? We ask print executives from across Canada about their business practices and how they stay successful.



Burke has been able to continue to lead in our market by investing in technology and new equipment purchases, but our greatest asset by far is our staff. We consistently promote from within and encourage our staff members to grow their departments by bringing new ideas to the table to better develop or expand our service offerings.
Ian Burke, Owner/CEO
Burke Group, Edmonton, Alta., est. 2005

To remain relevant in the print industry over the past three decades, our business has had to continually invest in new technology, training and product offerings. We are always looking for the next piece of technology or software that will help give us that extra edge relative to our competitors. We are never scared to invest in something. It doesn’t always pan out, but it’s the only way we have stayed relevant.
Bhadresh Bhatt, President
PrintPro Digital & Offset Printing, Winnipeg, Man., est. 1989

We have stayed competitive by investing in technology and our people. We strongly believe that if you are not embracing new technological advancements to improve your product offerings and speed-up your production processes, then you are moving backwards. We also believe in investing in our people, because without our amazing team, we would not be where we are today.
Deanne Sinclair, Owner/Vice president
Cambridge Label, Cambridge, Ont., est. 1998

CJ Graphics Inc. started as a boutique printing company, challenging itself on every project. We were the print shop that others sent the complex and difficult projects to. This helped align us with the best of the best designers and agencies and allowed our skilled staff to win numerous awards. We pride ourselves on hiring the best craftsman and investing in the newest technology. We always owned our real estate and did not buy a new piece of equipment until the others were paid. Our goal was to be a one-stop solution and keep everything under one roof.
Jay Mandarino, President/CEO
CJ Graphics Inc., Mississauga, Ont., est. 1981

PDI adopted a strategy many years ago based on diversification, with a strong focus on adding value to both existing product lines and all new initiatives aimed at growing our sales. We determined our customers would be favourable to us taking on more of their business if we could provide more turnkey services that enable print and justify an ROI on marketing spend.
Jamie Barbieri, President
PDI Group, Kirkland, Que., est. 2007

Simpson Print has weathered many key shifts in the printing industry. The first key shift – desktop publishing – eliminated the film and storyboard era and transformed design and prepress. The second key shift was the advance of digital print and as early adopters in wide-format, our commitment has always been in high quality digital acquisition. Ensuring we are on the leading edge of digital ink and equipment technology is essential to our core capabilities. We look to the emerging economics of sustainability and its impact on the industry moving forward. Investment in a greener process and preparation for the regulation of plastics is where we will seek to drive our competitive edge as an organization.
Carla Johanns, President
Simpson Print, Bloomingdale, Ont., est. 1964

Throughout our 51-year history, we have always strived to be better — this is a never-ending process driven by a desire to do great work for our clients and to always look for ways to add value to the services we provide. This drive inspires our continued technology investments, product and service innovations, sustainability initiatives and expansion into new markets.
Richard Kouwenhoven, President/COO
Hemlock Printers, Burnaby, B.C., est. 1968

Ingersoll Paper Box has been in the paperboard packaging industry for 97 years. We have stayed competitive for all those years by providing the highest quality packaging on every single package, which is why our tagline is, The proof is in the package. Investing in state-of-the-art equipment, staying abreast of market trends, and innovative structural designs also keeps us on the cutting edge of business.
Sarah Skinner, President
Ingersoll Paper Box, Ingersoll, Ont., est. 1922

Print Panther was first in Canada with the Konica Minolta MGI JETvarnish and Konica Minolta AccurioWide. Rather than lose ground as many printers experienced, we chose to break new ground as a truly digital print shop. We built Print Panther with a progressive, gutsy mindset – always expanding, fine-tuning and augmenting our core offerings with the newest emerging technologies.
Christine Yardley, President
Print Panther, Oakville, Ont., Trigger Communications T/A Binders Galore & Print Panther est. 1997

Our hot-foil stamping and embossing processes are still competitive even if cold foiling (to replace hot stamping) and raised UV (to replace embossing) processes are offered in the industry. Our process offers better productivity and pricing on medium and large runs, better shine than cold foil, less foil usage than cold foil and digital foil. We are closely watching the evolution of these competitive processes and we are very active in the commercial, collectibles, packaging and high security markets.
Patrick Choquet, President
Gravure Choquet, Montreal, Que., est. 1973

There are four key principles that have helped Friesens navigate the evolutions of the print industry: 1) Be responsive to your customer’s evolving needs; 2) Link every employee’s interests to the same outcomes; 3) Invest relentlessly in technology; and 4) Embrace change and continuous improvement.
Chad Friesen, CEO
Friesens Corp., Altona, Man., est. 1907

This feature was originally published in the November 2019 issue of PrintAction, now available online.

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