"Merry Christmas!" said the Grinch
The accompanying photo is a shot of me during my recent “Holiday Travel”. As you can tell, I’m not the biggest fan. Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoy getting out there and visiting our current customers and future customers alike – but I’ve got certain “travel rules” that I like to abide by and all it takes is one little snafu such as “low fog ceiling” to have a domino effect on those carefully laid plans and turn me into, well, you can see. To compound the delightful challenges of the airports, delays, rerouting and planes with malfunctioning thermostats onboard, though I wasn’t traveling to Whoville, my recent trips had me heading up to the frozen tundra of Minnesota (on a day when the temperature was minus 5 degrees. That was without the wind-chill) and Kansas City (which was a balmy 19 degrees by comparison). For anyone who has done any amount of flying, you probably have some horror stories of your own. Before I became President of Grafika, I spent some time in my younger years as a salesman and would spend 6 months out of the year on the road, so my “travel rules” are really nuggets of wisdom that are borne out of many, many months spent hopping across the globe. I’ve since had to get my sales team together and clarify some of my rules. Namely, we travel to WARM places during the winter months and the colder places during the SUMMER months. So if your company is in:
However, if you are in Alaska and any place that has a temperature with a minus sign in front of it: bundle up, build a fire, and let’s chat when things thaw out a bit, shall we? Better yet, did you know that Sinking Spring, PA is lovely this time of year? Our door is always open. Of course I’m kidding around (sort of). We are blessed and really enjoy the opportunity to serve customers in all corners of the US and beyond. And while I may have dressed up like the Grinch (which was really this year’s Halloween theme at the Elzer House), and travel can sometimes steal some of the joy from my holidays, I’m really the Grinch at the end of the story: the one with a thankful heart and a giving attitude. Thank you for a great year in 2009 and please let us know what Grafika can do to help build our partnerships into the future.Happy Holidays (and easy traveling) to one and all.
- Tampa, Florida --- let’s get together!
- California, it’s high time we have a lunch together and talk.
- Arizona? I think we need to get together to strategize while doing some triathlon training…like tomorrow!
Now introducing, the DPC!
While the economy retreats Grafika forges ahead with the introduction of its new Digital Production Center (DPC). “So what is this nebulous-sounding† Digital Production Center?”, you ask. I’m not going to lie, its ultimate definition is yet to be defined but for now we’ll just say that the DPC produces or finishes product employing computer-to-[insert device name here] production methods. I told you the DPC definition was nebulous† (great word isn’t it?). It’s not nebulous† because we can’t figure out what to do with it but more because we keep thinking of new applications for ourselves and our customers.
Traditionally, equipment such as computers, vinyl cutters and wide-format inkjet printers would provide the foundation of a signage/display graphics shop. Grafika is not looking to compete with our sign printing brethren. We’ve launched this new department by continuing to build on our strengths in the decorative wall décor and retail decoration (sometime known as POP and POS) markets (http://www.grafikaprint.com/PrintingServices.asp?Service=All). For example, we are producing custom cut-vinyl graphics and phrases for indoor and outdoor use. Part of the service involves receiving orders directly from customer’s website, producing product, packaging and shipping directly to the end-consumer directly from Grafika.Grafika does not intend to stop there. We are already looking to expand product offerings to include other wall décor products as we develop new, unique product ideas and techniques to differentiate what we can offer our customers and they can conversely offer to their clientele. In the case of the DPC, the value Grafika brings may not be in the use of bleeding-edge technology but in our drive and ability to search for and find new ways to do something better than others (or even ourselves) may be doing it currently.† ‘nebulous’ used (3) times
Labels: Digital Production Center, DPC
I Definitely Have Issues!
1 Flying Bat:$18.00
1 Giant Spider:$15.00
1 Pack Spider Webs:$5.99
1 Smoke Machine:$47.00
2 Green Spot Lights:$24.00
1 10 ft. Computer Projection of the Wizard of Oz:$85.00
The look on the faces of petrified children:
The look on their parents' faces, “this guy has issues!”:
(click here to see pics from previous Halloweens!)
I am still here!
It's now well established that I'm not so good at this blogging thing, since it's been nearly half a year since my last entry. But my lack of a post hasn't meant a lack of excitement here at Grafika over the last 5 months.During my blogging hiatus, we've continued our branding process; continued to establish new customer relationships; adapted new technologies for improved customer service and product quality (see our new on-line proofing system) and reorganized our plant for lean and green operations (see recycling stats).Throughout the past 5 months, my travels have taken me to trade shows such as CHA and Label Expo, and across the states visiting customer plants. I've seen a print industry that's been hit hard. During a recent visit to Label Expo in Chicago a salesman for a press supplier commented that his costumer base had shrunk from 100 to 25 in a single geographic location. I am proud that Grafika is still on his list. Grafika continues to strengthen not because we purchase technology different than another, but because of the way we use technologies to foster total cost relationships. Our diverse product offering and competitive "total cost" strategy has been successful in both building a loyal customer base and establishing new relationships.Listen, you will always find a cheaper price when shopping piece by piece, and if that is solely what you are looking for, Grafika may not be your printer. However, as I listen to customers I see a trend from looking at cost purely from a price point perspective and shifting to a total cost perspective. In more and more cases, we are seeing printing projects finding their way back to the USA from China.Initially price point is very attractive when looking overseas. However, there are many challenges with purchasing printing overseas. Grafika is positioned perfectly to meet the quick turnaround requirements of marketing, cost effective solutions of management, and to provide the services required to keep our customers on their competitive edge. When you look beyond ink on paper Grafika is the total cost solution.On the personal side, I'm sure you've been waiting with bated anticipation since my first post... so I will leave you with this: the video of my hole-in-one. Bernie’s hole in one link. This week is the one-year anniversary of the swing that won me a new car. And more recently I have finished up my first full triathlon season. This was a very rewarding season which deserves a dedicated blog post - so be looking for that in the next week... or so.
Customers Value Grafika Services
In 2007 we employed the services of Northstar Marketing, Inc. to facilitate our brand-building process. The pivotal piece of this process was the Grafika Customer Survey conducted in October/November of 2007. In this survey we asked our customers, suppliers, and prospects questions about price competitiveness, quality, and service.
The results showcased one resounding theme from our current customers: Grafika’s professionalism, response to customer needs, innovation, quality of product, and superior services. (See customer testimonials) We are very grateful for this recognition and thankful for the relationship we have with our customers..
One result that really shocked me was customer disclosure that Grafika, although very competitive, did not always offer the lowest price. Well, maybe shocked is a bit strong: Did I really expect our customers to say our prices were too low? Forty years of press wash and uv inks has not caused that many damaged brain cells!
All kidding aside, I appreciate the honesty and do realize we are not always the cheapest in unit price; however, Grafika does offer very competitive pricing. Our customers continually choose Grafika because of the value we provide “Beyond Ink on Paper.”
The pricing comments were consistent between our prospects and our customers. The difference is that our prospects have yet to place a value on our services. Without the experience of purchasing from Grafika, the decision is purely based on price not value. Our goal is to showcase our services and turn those prospects into life-long customers.
Grafika continually learns from each customer and from each prospect. We work hard at understanding each individual business and each unique purchasing practice. Our mid-size family approach allows us to tailor our products and services to each individual customer. Our tenacity is often rewarded through increased business; however the best reward is the partnerships and friendships which are formed along the path of discovery.
My First Post
Welcome to the new Grafika website. Please take the time to peruse the pages and let me know what you think. Through this medium, our goal is for you to learn about Grafika, our people, products and services.
I would like to thank our customers, prospects and suppliers who participated in the 2007 customer survey conducted by North Star Marketing. Your input serves as the foundation for our future objectives which includes the development of this new website and our new tag line, “Beyond Ink on Paper.” See Bernie’s Blog #2 (coming soon)
I encourage you to continue visiting Bernie’s Blog. This company has been part of my life since the day I was born and I have many interesting tidbits and stories to share about this unique printing company. (My dad cringes when I talk about working here at the age of 4 ….. you know, child labor laws.) Throughout my postings I will keep you updated on our latest developments in technologies, services and product offerings.
In addition, as all Elzers, I have the gift to talk about myself endlessly. So I am sure you will get updates on my family, triathlon progress, road running updates and I may even share a video of my hole in one last year. You will also learn about my father, grandfather and growing up in a family print business. (Did I mention I got a hole in one last year…that it was recorded on DVD… and that I won a new car?)
As a third generation Bernie, printer, and President, I am proud of our company, the people who have helped create and sustain it and the friendships / partnerships we have developed over the years. I am truly excited about our future and look forward to meeting with you and developing a relationship which goes well Beyond Ink on Paper.