Big Picture - August 2018 - 26
InnoMark Communications produces
all the display
which are swapped
InnoMark used a
Durst Rho 512R to
Ultraflex Vulite vinyl
and attached to a
light box fixture.
and banners to custom
jobs, such as a wrap
with a Plexiglas
structure that looks like
bourbon pouring from
a barrel, which
camouflages a Kentucky
Being a one-stop
shop grew out of
Rogers' primary goal to
produce quality work.
He's learned firsthand
that outsourcing - and
letting go of control -
can lead to mistakes or
delays, which reflects
poorly on Spectra
Imaging in the eyes of
the customer. With so
patrons, Rogers doesn't
want to risk errors.
"When we've outsourced, sometimes
they do a great job, but
sometimes the job gets
messed up. It comes
back to us, and when
the client says they
need their order, we
have to explain what's
going on," he adds.
involve dozens of
Imaging relies on an
efficient but low-tech
method for tracking
their jobs internally. Each employee has a personalized stamp that goes on the job ticket as a project moves from
design to print to finishing to installation.
Customer demand typically drives expansion. Rogers has
to balance a conservative business approach with the desire
to maintain quality and control by avoiding outsourcing. He
often will spend a year or two assessing if they truly need to
invest in a new machine, but when a bottleneck is clear or
customer needs increase, Rogers opts to make the purchase.
With his many years in the printing world, Rogers says
the biggest change he sees today is that print buyers want
their job completed faster, which is another reason to keep
all elements of a project under one roof. He maintains a
steady roster of clients by subscribing to a philosophy of
producing high-quality work on time. "My guys in production know that if it doesn't look right, it's got to be done over
again," Rogers says.
InnoMark Communications (innomarkcom.com) launched in
the early `90s with a specific goal: to be a one-stop shop for
retail signage and displays. During that time, if a retailer wanted
store signage, there was a long lead time because the market
was so segmented. One company would handle image work,
another printed, another provided finishing, and so on. "Back
then, the owners looked at it and said 'Why do we need all
these different steps as different vendors? Why not consolidate
all of this?' So we started out as a large-format offset print
shop," says Steve Zick, executive VP of sales and marketing.
As time passed, InnoMark added elements to the business
to adapt to customers' needs and advances in equipment. The
company invested early in digital printing and worked with
longstanding clients to introduce digital prints to retail
environments, which helped InnoMark fine-tune the technology.
Fabrication and finishing departments were added to keep up
with the digital print demand.
Because the goal right out of the gate was to make
InnoMark a single source for retailers' display needs, the
southwest Ohio-based company made a natural progression
from store signage to also providing the dimensional displays
used to showcase merchandise.
Nothing on the print side of the business is outsourced.
Occasionally, specialty components of the permanent
merchandising displays requiring metal fabrication or cabinet
making are outsourced, but even that is extremely infrequent.
The shop creates everything out of seven production sites in
Ohio, Indiana, and New York. Having multiple shops was an
intentional continuity plan to keep projects running smoothly.
If the weather knocks out the power at the Fairfield, Ohio,
building, projects can instead run on the same equipment in
Richmond, Indiana. "We can print, finish, and kit pack in
multiple facilities. That allows us to avoid the bottlenecks that
can happen with others who are in a single building with a
single production path," Zick says. This strategy is especially
valuable during the busy holiday retail season.
InnoMark built customized proprietary workflow software
programs - some with a foundation in an out-of-the-box system
- to manage the flow of projects. With things running steadily,
sales and project managers can focus on the client relationship.
Zick says the biggest ongoing challenge is cultivating communication from inside InnoMark to outside the company. Though
InnoMark has many customers that have been with them for so
long that they understand their business culture and what they
are seeking with a project, the challenge remains with a new
buyer or new point person for an existing client. "We have to
quickly ramp up and learn that culture and the unwritten rules
of what that client desires. Getting that translated and filling in
those blanks is one of the bigger things we face when trying to
be sure we are producing what they expect," Zick adds.
Controlling every aspect of customer communication and
the production line from beginning to end gives InnoMark
greater accountability to the buyer, should they make a late
change to their order or another hiccup occurs. Zick says, "If we
need to make an adjustment, we can do so without impacting
the client's delivery date, or, in some cases, without the client
even realizing there was ever anything to worry about."