Monday, August 27, 2012

Consolidated Graphics expands international presence

Shiro Fujimoto, Vice President
of International Business Development,
Consolidated Graphics
Our international team at Consolidated Graphics, Inc. is logging some serious frequent flyer miles these days as they develop and implement international printing solutions for North America-based clients. We recently caught up with Shiro Fujimoto, the Vice President of International Business Development at Consolidated Graphics and our in-house expert on global print trends, who shared some insights into our international strategy and what you can expect from us around the world:

Q: Shiro, can you explain why Consolidated Graphics is taking an interest in international locations? 

A: Many people are surprised to realize that U.S.-based corporations often perform 50 percent or more of their business overseas. While Consolidated Graphics’ focus has primarily been on U.S. businesses, more and more we’re seeing a need to service our existing client base abroad. We want to ensure that we can support all of their needs, and that means providing them with the same quality, consistency and effective service that they receive within the United States.

Q: How do you select locations for international expansion? 

A: As with any investment we make, we’re listening closely to our clients and identifying locations that are most beneficial to them. At the same time, we’re trying to select strategic areas that allow us to reduce shipping costs, access key markets, and develop international clientele.

Q: What things do customers need to consider when printing abroad? 

A: Each country has unique nuances that should be considered, from a marketing and messaging standpoint as well as technical specifications such as paper stocks and sizes. For example, the U.S. is one of three countries (Myanmar and Liberia being the other two) that don’t utilize the metric system, which means standard paper sizes are different -- and attempting to print pieces identical to those in the U.S. could prove much more costly abroad. Translations also impact designs; for example, Spanish is often 20 percent longer than English, while Chinese is much shorter. The goal is always to build a consistent brand across the globe, but flexibility needs to be a part of any global campaign.

Q: How is technology supporting global marketing and print campaigns? 

A: Technology allows companies to centralize their infrastructure, creating consistent materials across countries. Things like style guides, imagery, and templates can be centralized and accessed from anywhere in the world. A good illustration is Consolidated Graphics’ Streamline Web2Print solution, which gives users from around the world access to order materials to be produced and distributed in the region they are to be delivered in. Even with respect to communications, technology is enabling decentralized teams to create, collaborate and improve overall effectiveness from numerous locations. 

Q: How does Consolidated Graphics ensure that customers receive consistent quality in different countries? 

A: We have invested in and partnered with the very best print facilities around the world. We have also developed our own proprietary color technology, integrated with our G7 Digital Master Certification, which ensures that, within an extremely miniscule margin of error (invisible to the human eye in most cases), colors achieve identical results across geographies, and even amongst varying printing devices. We also support our clients throughout the process via our International Print Management Offices (IPMOs), which enable translating services, scheduling, fulfillment, and more.

Q: Does Consolidated Graphics have a presence in every region? 

A: We have access to nearly every area of the globe, either through direct investment or strategic partnerships. For example, we have our own facilities in Europe and Japan, strategic partners in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, and Brazil, and vendor relationships in Australia, Mexico, and China. Our ultimate goal is to provide strategic access to every major market on the planet.

Q: What is next in terms of international growth at Consolidated Graphics? 

A: We’re being smart about where we invest our dollars and how we grow this segment of the business. We see significant opportunity in various regions, but also want to maintain our focus on serving our U.S.-based clientele. We’re looking closely at the Middle East and expanding our existing relationships. Ultimately, it boils down to what our customers want, and how we can best serve them.

For more information about international printing solutions from Consolidated Graphics, visit