September 26, 2022 By PrintAction Staff
Battlefield Press, Burlington, Ont., is a third-generation family owned and operated company that continues to evolve and diversify within the printing industry. Since it was founded in 1964, being first has been its mantra. In the ‘60s, Battlefield was among the first in Ontario to offer four-colour printing. In the ‘90s, they led with digital printing and workflow technology. Battlefield was the only printer in Canada to offer 12-colour perfecting on a printing press in 2005. In 2016, they were the first in North America to print on a custom Heidelberg seven-colour UV press that could handle 41.5-in. wide press sheets. That same year they were the first Canadian printer to win Sappi’s Printer of the Year Award. The year 2018 saw the installation of another XL106-8P+L equipped with LED-UV, another first for Canada. Recently, it acquired the assets of Clearpak, a leader in the clear plastic folding carton segment. We spoke to the company’s president, Jerry Theoret, about the future of the print industry.
What is the state of the print industry today, in your opinion?
JT: It has been challenging to navigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasing staffing difficulties and shortages is making it difficult to maintain, let alone grow a business. Many organizations have not survived the turmoil. Since some of them were significant market price influencers the closures have created a healthy competitive environment.
Unavailability of substrates is affecting the industry now. If you can get past these challenges, then there are exciting opportunities to explore and grow the business at a healthy profit margin. The takeaway for me is that the industry is not quiet, and opportunities are flowing. One must work harder, focus on the details and be more creative to be successful.
What attracted you to the print industry?
JT: My father founded the company in 1964. From a young age, my brother and I helped as required. My heart was in sales. The love of bringing in new business and growing the organization ultimately made me stick.
How can the industry attract more young people?
JT: Since youngsters love technology, it would be helpful to highlight on media frequented by young people the technologies used in the print industry. They must be made aware of the opportunities and the size of the industry. Structural solutions are heavily influencing the industry now. Introducing younger minds to the creative requirements for providing solution-based structures/packages will show them the printing industry is not just about ‘graphic design,’ but also creative thinking.
In such a competitive landscape, how can printers win more sales?
JT: Differentiate yourself from other companies. Offer solution-based services. Provide finished products that uniquely fill needs. Make sure you are fully aligned with the buyers’ expectations. Maintain an equipment portfolio that is technologically advanced, well maintained, and efficient enough to be versatile and cost competitive. Make sure you are giving your company good exposure to allow buyers to know your companies name. Keep evolving!
What are some of the biggest opportunities in the print industry?
JT: Producing products with special effects and/or embellishments as well as supporting sustainable options that create positive impacts for both the customer and the environment.
What do you think is the most exciting thing about print today?
JT: Technology and growing capabilities available for us as manufacturers are exciting. The possibilities are endless. Ultimately, the industry is based on creativity. Therefore, if you can dream it, it can likely be created. It’s also exciting to see what young people entering the industry bring to the table, and how it allows companies like ours to evolve.
Theoret’s responses were edited for length. For more Q&A Spotlight interviews, please visit www.printaction.com/profile.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of PrintAction.
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