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An Interview with New SGIA President Ford Bowers

(February/March 2016) posted on Thu Mar 03, 2016

Did he find print, or did it find him? What's next for the Expo? Will screen printing disappear?

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By Steve Duccilli

FB: That’s Sandy Miller’s particular genius in seeing that need and really investing and building a company around the notion that you should vertically integrate into this market. It started, I believe, with beefing up the creative [services], but over the years, they added a number of other things, such as shopper insight and consumer strategy at the front end, even before the creative development. How do you design environments that make people want to shop and create the best possible space for your brand? They added installation services, with staff in just about every state. They do thousands of full-store implementations every year. Digital signage is one of the more recent add-ons, and they have also added single-source provider services. I think I can say that they are still a print company to a large extent, but they’re really a retail services company. That’s how they’re seen, that’s how they bill themselves, and what ties all of that together is that they have really good project management. Having been on the printing side of their business, I’d say they still consider themselves as having a screen-printing heart with a lot of digital appendages. It’s been an interesting transformation for them.

SP: A lot of your members are going through similar transitions now. Through the 2000s, we tended to see a production split of about 70/30 between screen and digital in high-volume P-O-P printing companies. That ratio seems to be flipped today.

FB: The majority of the revenue on the print side does come from digital now. But because Miller Zell has a lot of national accounts, the company still has some lengthy runs. One of the last things I did there was an analysis of what the future will look like. We weren’t able to predict a time when [screen] would go away. It’s too far out into the future and they see it as a solid part of what they do. And there is so much it can do that digital can’t yet, and not just from an economic standpoint. They don’t see screen going away completely; they see it as a very viable part of the spectrum of services they do.


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