TC Delivers has a more unique history than most. He started in 1956 in a small town in Pennsylvania, where he focused exclusively on coupon printing – the old-fashioned payment coupon books printed and mailed to consumers who snatched them up each month and mailed them with them. their payments. He became, over time, the third largest printer of these books in the world, and even boasted of the legendary Eliot Ness – leader of a famous team of law enforcement officers dubbed The Untouchables during Prohibition, which focused on the downfall of gangster Al Capone – as one of its founders.
But times have started to change, notes Terry Freeman, president of TC Delivers. Coupon books remained a strong product in the 1980s, but then new technologies began to provide new options for brands, making books less needed. The company began to look for other sources of revenue and, according to Freeman, when the USPS began to look for ways to control its own labor costs by sharing parts of the mail process with third parties. , TC Delivers entered the ground floor, shift gears and transform into a fully automated courier company.
“We have become aware of the limits of [just focusing on Pennsylvania]», Recalls Jamie Freeman, vice-president. “So we looked into new geographies for expansion opportunities, and in 1994 we moved to Jacksonville, Florida. “An existing business was purchased and TC Delivers moved in, eventually adding another facility in Orlando in 1995 and a third in Tampa in 1998. services again,” he adds.
These services were a return to printing. “Instead of just taking mail that was already completed at our customers’ facilities, we started offering mail services, including mailing lists, data processing, inkjet addressing, folding and inserting, ”continues Jamie Freeman. “And, as the opportunity developed, we also moved into printing and variable imagery. “
The growth maximized the space the company used, which ultimately led to the purchase of a new 62,000 square foot building. in Jacksonville, as well as larger buildings being acquired in Orlando and Tampa.
Change over time
“Once again, the industry is changing and we are looking to adapt,” says Terry Freeman, who notes that mail volumes are changing now and customers are getting a lot smarter in their marketing. Targeted marketing, in particular, has become a major component of mail campaigns, which is why TC Delivers made the decision to augment the existing printing equipment by adding a Konica Minolta UV-LED inkjet press. AccurioJet KM-1 to its list in Jacksonville.
“We can now print on larger sheets, on multiple substrates, with precision colors,” adds Freeman. “This machine really opens the door to a lot of new opportunities that we can offer our existing customers.”
And that’s just the beginning. The TC Delivers sales team is currently more used to selling printed matter when it comes to mail, but with the new inkjet production equipment Freeman wants to start going further upstream to produce more items. Targeted marketers who are the backbone of direct response marketing today. campaigns, resulting in higher conversion rates.
The ultimate goal, he says, is to “scale up quickly” and then add additional digital inkjet equipment to their operations. And not just with printing, but the services that go with it, he notes. “It really means we’re changing again – we’ve gone from printing coupons to presorting, then to direct mail, and now we’re moving into marketing programs. “
“We may not be the biggest – we are not Donnelley or Quad – but we are very adaptable and flexible to the changing needs of our customers and the market,” continues Freeman. “Getting from Eliot Ness to where we are today is a huge transition. Even so, some things have not changed: TC is still a family business, with three sons of the owner very active in the business, and a permanent staff with an average of 30 years in the business.
Terry Freeman notes that having multiple machines has always been part of his end goal. “We plan to have at least two for this whole build – we’re not adding a single device without redundancy,” he adds. “Adaptability is great, but it’s also about moving services to suit clients’ needs. We started on one side with mail, then moved on to transactional printing and now to marketing. We have a single platform, that’s for sure.
To this end, TC Delivers obtained the option of aqueous coating with its KM-1, as well as perforation equipment. The company also still operates a full line of mail-related equipment – OCR sorting machines, inserter equipment, inkjet systems, cutters, sealers, shrink wrap, mail voting and variable imaging systems. that allow him to print high value coins such as checks, to name a few.
Executive Vice President Mark Mazurkiewicz notes that for full production printing, TC Delivers has outsourced some work, but the KM-1 press will allow them to start bringing that work back in-house to become more of a full advertisement. printing operation, instead of a simple mail printer.
Everything from utility bills to mail-in voting packages, tax notices and more can now be produced online in a single pass, instead of depending on pre-printed cases with information. variables added later.
“It will also feed other departments,” he says. “The more work we bring, the more it will be necessary to fold, insert, fill, etc. the rooms. And we will print items which are not posted, which is quite new for us.
Transformation with a goal
That said, TC Delivers doesn’t just jump in without looking first. They are always ready to transform and to invest in new markets or services.
Mazurkiewicz notes that Terry Freeman is “really smart and methodical about the way he approaches growth”. In most years, the business has “zero leverage” and everything from buildings to new equipment pays off in as little as nine months.
“Between coupon books, mail sharing, marketing, we really hit the pivot points at the right time. Usually it’s printers that go to mail, but we skipped in a way others haven’t. We are continuing our history of evolution, ”adds Mazurkiewicz.
Looking ahead, Robert Bierlein, Director of Sales and Marketing, notes that over the next 12-18 months, the focus will be on expanding new services with the company’s current customer base, capturing more their marketing work and learning how far it can push the production inkjet. “And once we’ve saturated our current customer base with what we can do with this new equipment, we’ll start tapping into new markets,” he reveals. “It will change our whole approach to business – with the addition of KM-1, we are no longer limited to local markets; we can now provide services nationwide.
The strategy for developing the inkjet production side of the business is to first focus on what TC Delivers already knows it can do well, train its sales team on the new capabilities, and then get started. to focus on new markets and clients once he has a good grasp on how best to market this type of work. “It will change the way the outside world views us,” says Bierlein.
It’s a ripple effect, agrees Frank LaRocco, Senior Marketing Representative. “You put one thing in place, then you realize you need other things to go along with it. In my mind, I see us evolving into a marketing company where, with these digital platforms, customers will be asking, ‘Offer do you also have that to go with it? ”We realize that there are other services we will have to offer to go with production inkjet.
Don’t slow down
TC Delivers has not seen as much of an impact from COVID-19 compared to other printers. Mazurkiewicz notes that while some jobs, such as the daily presortation of mail, have slowed down, others have resumed to take their place. Election printing, in particular, filled much of the capacity, with the company printing and mailing items such as ballots, sample ballots, etc.
“For the most part, we had other clients who needed to ramp up and do things differently, so that was pretty much a normal growth plan, even with COVID,” Bierlein explains. “It just drastically changed the things that were produced. Schools were to provide books to students (a 250,000-piece project), rather than sending regular correspondence to families.
The pandemic did not slow down the acquisition of the KM-1 either. According to Jamie Freeman, they realized early on that they needed help evaluating inkjet production equipment options in order to choose the one that best suited their needs. So they added an outside expert to their staff and three months later bought the new inkjet press.
“We’re a well-respected organization that is great at what we do, but it adds a whole new range of services and changes everything for us and our customers,” continues Jamie Freeman. “It’s a ‘not your father’s Oldsmobile’ thing. Our business has been around for a long time and we’ve been consistent, but take a look at us again – we’re bigger than most people know, and the KM-1 adds to that.
It’s a game-changer, agrees LaRocco. “It changes everything – I want people to see what we really are: a full-service, end-to-end direct mail company that can handle all of their projects, not just presortation. We’re not just a mail store, we’re a multi-city direct mail company that can produce data-driven direct mail items targeting very specific and interested audiences.
For TC Delivers, convergence has been a way of life long before it became a buzzword in the industry. The company is constantly on the lookout for upcoming trends and market direction, and is always looking to evolve and change to stay ahead of demand, rather than falling behind.