Behind the List with Robert Mason
president and CEO of Intelligencer Printing
Q: How did last year's acquisition of Ultra-Graphics change operations for your business?
A: The acquisition of Lancaster Ultra-Graphics brought not only a higher level of equipment in terms of technology with the (Xerox) iGen 4 Diamond that came with the acquisition, but also the talent to handle variable data printing was a significant upgrade from where we were. That really helped us move forward and service clients not only from an offset printing world, but truly be able to serve their variable printing needs as well.
For 200 years, Intelligencer Printing Co. has been privately owned. Why does that remain important?
Our ownership, the Steinman family, is very committed to Lancaster. They are very committed to the community, and the family ownership is important because there is a real, live stake in our success and in our future. We've been around for 200 years, and the family ownership of this company wants us to be around for another 200 years, so they are committed to investing in our growth and, as acquisitions come up like the Ultra-Graphics acquisition, (they are) supporting that to help us continue to grow and flourish as a family business.
What is the key to being able to serve both small customers and large ones?
The customer size really doesn't matter. The difference, I believe, would be in the order size.
The way you handle a customer through Ultra-Graphics on the variable data printing side, those orders may be only a few thousand dollars and be smaller and on a compressed time frame because they want to use the most current data they have. By allowing a separate work flow for our digital, smaller-run jobs, it really focuses in on speed, quality and service, so you have a much more automated approach allowing you to automate the receipt of files for the data, automating proof generation. ...
On the offset side of the world, where you tend to have much larger jobs, we have a much more established process there.
How is technology changing the processes for commercial printing?
Technology is actually enhancing commercial printing, where it is combining processes that may have been separate at one point in time. As an example, last year was the first full year we used the Kodak Prosper Digital Inkjets on our web press. This allowed us to combine the printing of high-volume direct-mail campaigns — and when I say high volume, I mean 3 (million) or 4 million pieces at a time — combining that with the personalization or addressing of the particular piece.
Ten years ago, that would've been a two-step process. Now, we can do it in one step and do it much quicker. That speed, again, is important, because of the relevance of the data. When a retailer provides you with their mailing selection, they want to have the latest and greatest data. If you can process 3 million pieces from receipt of data to out the door in five days, that is significantly different than having to do it in two different stages maybe across 15 days. The (timeliness) of the data they can provide you and the targeting they can do is significantly enhanced.
We're able to help large retailers reduce cost because it's one step and use the most recent data because of the decreased turnaround time.
About Robert Mason
Robert Mason took communication courses at Elizabethtown College in the Steinman Communications building. Now, he works for the Steinmans.
A native of New Jersey, Mason and his wife, Deena, now live in Lancaster County. They have three children ages 11, 15 and 18.
He enjoys watching the children play sports, visiting family, reading and landscaping.