You know IKEA mainly as a flat-pack furniture manufacturer. What you might not know is that IKEA bought a Romanian forest in 2015 and one in Alabama in 2018. Just one more step in IKEA’s evolution toward full vertical integration. Their goal – better control over their supply chain – which means better control over quality, timing and costs for their end products.
Something else you might not know. Two years ago we acquired a sophisticated commercial printing operation near our headquarters in western Massachusetts. We did so for the same reasons as IKEA. Most of their products need wood. Almost every one of our sample projects – sample display boards, architectural folders, chain set covers and more – needs commercial printing. And while outsourcing this work to our network of printing partners worked well, sometimes it was frustrating not to have complete control over the production, innovation, costs and timing of the things we make for our customers. And when we’ve got much better control, our customers do too.
But adding commercial print capabilities to our extensive sampling production and processing capabilities is about more than just better control. We also want to help our customers differentiate their marketing programs two more ways:
1. One-Stop Shopping for Samples, Sales Collateral and Fulfillment
Yes, every sampling program we serve requires print somewhere, somehow. And every sampling program we serve is part of a larger marketing program that uses printed sales collateral – inserts that go with sample shipments, brochures, sell sheets, installation instructions, retail graphics and more. So, our goal is to offer customers a single source for production of samples and sales collateral. And for its warehousing and fulfillment.
2. Offering Your Agencies and Designers No Limits on What They Can Bring to Life
The people who see your samples and sales collateral are more than just potential customers. Their potential fans and advocates who can tell the world about your brand, come back for more and keep your business growing. You want to win those moments. So, when it comes to printing we wanted the world’s best production, finishing and special effect technologies so your agencies and designers are never limited by anything but their own imaginations.
How’d we do against our goals? We believe we’ve nailed them all and we’d love to show you more including offering you a tour of our printing operation once things get a little safer out there.
What’s next on our agenda for adding new capabilities and technologies? You’ll just have to wait, but it’s probably not a forest.