Pushing the Boundaries
By Scott Heeter, President of Heeter
In the summer of 2018, we found ourselves rapidly approaching the situation that 100% of the fall 2018 variable print production on our inkjet web was already committed with our current equipment. It would be a challenge for us to take on new projects for the balance of the year. It became clear we could not continue our steady growth unless we ‘pushed the boundaries’ on our willingness to invest in the latest web presses and other technologies.
We made a decision in September to work with Ricoh to become the first beta user in the world for its brand new VC70000. This newest inkjet would allow us to increase our throughput and use less expensive paper while maintaining high quality.
Throughout this 2018 fall ‘peak’ season, we were able to continue to deliver a growing set of projects for our customers. As the VC70000 came off of beta this spring, we committed to permanently running this ‘best-of breed’ press.
I was pleased that Ricoh recognized Heeter at its 2019 Interact Conference as the winner of its “Pushing the Boundaries” award for “innovative applications that push the boundaries of traditional continuous-feed inkjet work.”
Investments Pay Off
We continue to leverage our investments. For example, our Management Information System is EFI-PACE; it’s the software that runs our entire business from accounting, estimating, order entry, job costing and invoicing. It also runs much of our customer-facing portals like online storefronts, warehouse management systems and web to print.
Each January EFI hosts a very large conference where users get together to discuss best practices. Not only does Heeter bring more people than almost any other company but several of our team members have been nominated to lead the user groups at the conference – a testament to their knowledge and dedication.
On the production side, our team continues to do a great job. Over the years we’ve been implementing solid quality control processing and procedures and the results are paying off. We’ve seen a consistent drop in errors and rework, while productivity has been improving.
Data Security Is Paramount
- 2019 marks the second year of our IT security audit known as SOC2 Type II. The first year we received “Very Favorable” results with only 3 recommendations out of 100 – essentially a 97%.
- This year there were 0 recommendations –as close to perfect as one could get in this type of audit.
We’re moving forward on the HITRUST certification which we should have in place by mid-2020.
Investments Translate to a Growing and More Sophisticated Set of Business
We’ve been very fortunate (and somewhat unique in the industry) to see continued sales growth. Since 2012, our average annual growth rate has been 5-6%. Our goal is to crack the $30,000,000 mark by the end of 2019 or 2020. Since our last update, we’ve secured 2 contracts with significant, new customers.
We are excited that our work mix is changing in a positive way.
- A decade ago, 75% of our work was offset printing with the balance in direct mail, digital print and fulfillment. We employed a modest number of employees who were devoted to information technology.
- Today we now have more than half of our revenue coming from on-going, complex programs; many of these contracts involve direct interface with our customer’s ERP systems. Our technology team has tripled plus we partner with some very talented and trusted outside resources.
A good illustration of such sophisticated programs is our work on personalized drip campaigns with Highmark which Brand United showcased in its recent case study.
Our Team Continues to Drive Us Forward
This is the third year that we’ve published an annual newsletter that we share with our customers, employees and friends of the company.
Throughout the year, we publish 2 internal issues just for our employees and family to keep everybody abreast of the things that we’re doing within the company. As I look back on the older issues, I can’t help but be impressed with the quality of our people. It’s truly an honor to work alongside such smart, passionate team members who are dedicated to doing a great job for our customers. I want to commend them for all of their efforts to deliver a customer experience that keeps our clients coming back.
We often hear about the demise of the printing industry but we’re continuing to grow and add value to our customers.
We know you have many choices of print, mail and fulfillment providers; we are very appreciative of your working with us.