November 18, 2022 By PrintAction Staff
Based out of Hemlock’s main facility in Burnaby, B.C., 34-year-old Stephanie Beveridge works as an account manager, helping clients primarily in the post-secondary, retail, real estate, and publishing sectors. As a commercial printer, Hemlock is best known for its sustainability values and outstanding quality. “I feel lucky to work for a company that delivers excellence day in and day out,” says Beveridge. “When I got hired, I think I could have started the Hemlock Fan Club by about week two, and over seven years later, I very much still feel the same.” Beveridge is currently pursuing an MBA in Sustainable Innovation at the University of Victoria.
What is the state of the print industry today, in your opinion?
SB: I really hate to say it, but the paper supply chain is such a constraint on opportunities right now. The industry is optimistic. There’s an energy to it. The business is there but we’re limited in terms of paper options and volume. I could try to spin the situation and say it’s a fun challenge, but, truly, it’s a bummer when we are so used to offering many textures, shades, colours, and weights to nail the vision of our buyers.
What attracted you to the print industry?
SB: I wish I could have been a graphic designer. I have loved desktop publishing applications since my family got their first Macintosh PowerPC in the mid-90s, but I never had any true artistic talent. The Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU’s) Graphic Communications Management program spoke directly to me. I realized I could work with creatives and help bring their visions into a tangible medium. At that time, I didn’t know I would specifically end up in sales and be the direct conduit between receiving PDFs from clients and delivering their publications weeks later.
How can the industry attract more young people?
SB: I love the idea of showing more of the manufacturing process. I had no concept how printed material was created until I went to school for it. Offset printing technology still fascinates me. It blows my mind that with some aluminum, laser, oil, and water, you can create museum-quality images with four ink colours, and that too at high speeds. This is wild!
On the Food Network there are shows about the manufacturing of cheese and chocolate products. Young people may not watch 30 minutes of cable TV, but what about short clips on social media? Show the craftsmanship and talent, as well as the innovations including robotics in the industry. With the increase in automation, I think the industry needs to look beyond the traditional print-focused post-secondary programs and explore how they can be attractive to people learning and working in the tech sector.
In such a competitive landscape, how can printers win more sales?
SB: With so many businesses in our day-to-day lives becoming more and more transactional, I think customers are increasingly appreciating really good customer service and connection. This doesn’t necessarily mean weekly in-person sales calls. Ensuring they know you’re paying attention to their wants and needs and working your hardest to meet their deliverables is valuable. This builds long-term relationships and trust, and those people end up being your best customers.
What are some of the biggest opportunities in the print industry?
SB: Young people. Not only hiring them for entry-level jobs, but also giving them careers by training, empowering, and promoting them. Increase diversity at all levels and create companies that look like the communities where we do business. There is a lot of data showing this benefits morale, turnover, productivity, and profits, and I’m excited to see the next generation of leaders who emerge from this mindset.
Beveridge’s responses were edited for length. For more Q&A Spotlight interviews, please visit www.printaction.com/profile.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2022 issue of PrintAction.
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