Adam Silk is the President and CEO of Digital Print Solutions (DPS), which was formed in 2009 by a group of individuals who specialized in the support of digital products for the commercial print industry and is now one of the largest production print dealerships in America. While he is responsible for the daily operations and strategic growth of DPS, his true purpose and mission is centered around consulting within the commercial print industry and focusing on cost reduction and efficiency improvement. We sat down with Adam to get his take on the current landscape and his advice.
What are some of the challenges you are dealing with?
Silk: Our challenges primarily involve supporting our customers’ challenges. Our customers face two main issues. First, they struggle with expanding and retaining customers. Second, they need to determine what services to provide and what equipment is necessary to deliver those services. Active selling has become a bigger challenge for them, as a significant portion of their business relies on a few customers. Losing those customers poses a major risk. They are currently grappling with how to expand their business within their existing customer base and attract new ones.
“Print plays a significant role because it engages more of our senses and listens well.”
They are focused on customer maintenance, which is a cost-effective approach, but they also recognize the need for customer acquisition. Does that effectively summarize it?
Silk: Yes. Our clients, who are exclusively commercial printers, rely on their current operations without much expansion. On the other hand, they try to control costs by maximizing the use of their existing equipment. However, if the equipment becomes outdated and fails to meet their needs, it becomes a struggle. That’s where we come in. We assist them with both sides of the equation.
What do you see at a macro level that’s impacting our industry?
Silk: The only negative impact that hasn’t fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic is the availability of onsite training material. There’s simply less of it, and it’s unlikely to return. Other than that, I believe the industry is doing quite well. Commercial printers face challenges in the digital and finishing aspects of their work. Automation is becoming increasingly important because experienced press operators are retiring and not being replaced. The lack of expertise in this area presents difficulties. Printers are looking for ways to automate processes and accomplish more with fewer personnel. Overall, I believe the industry will remain strong moving forward. The production of marketing materials is not diminishing, and there is still a high volume of materials being mailed in the United States.
What are your guiding principles for success?
Silk: Our success is intertwined with the industry itself. While we install a significant amount of equipment, our ability to thrive depends on our customers’ success. Our differentiating factor lies in our in-depth knowledge of the commercial print industry. Leveraging our expertise, we proactively work to enhance our customers’ businesses, which fosters tremendous loyalty.
We aim to turn our customers’ weaknesses into our strengths. For instance, when we became aware of the employee retention tax credit, our campaigns were not centered around the equipment we provide. Instead, we focused on ensuring that everyone was well-informed about the ERTC. We took the time to educate and assist, resulting in millions of dollars being reclaimed for our customers through that program. In essence, our mission is to serve this community.
What is print’s role in this day and age?
Silk: People’s attention spans have significantly decreased to around eight seconds. Therefore, when someone receives a printed piece, it makes a substantial impact. The goal is to interrupt their digital addiction and establish a connection. Print plays a significant role because it engages more of our senses and listens well. The impact of print in today’s world is tremendous.
What advice do you have for print business owners in this climate?
Silk: I would suggest fighting a three-directional battle. First, if you’re looking to reduce costs, explore both innovative approaches and traditional cost reduction measures related to personnel and equipment services. Second, ask yourself how you can expand your business with both existing and new customers. Finally, plan for the future. Consider how you can structure your company strategically and financially to ensure peace of mind and a secure future when you go to bed at night.