In many ways, the sheetfed ink market is fairly unique compared to other offset ink segments. Because of the diversity of unique jobs that sheetfed printers run, sheetfed ink manufacturing is an area that requires a strong commitment to customer service. Ink companies have to be able to formulate special inks and make sure that they are running perfectly on press. For that reason, many small regional sheetfed ink manufacturers have been able to thrive, even in difficult times.
Grand Rapids Printing Ink is one such company. Founded 49 years ago, the company is now in its third-generation of family leadership, and Grand Rapids Printing Ink has grown primarily because of its dedication to servicing printers.
“We were formed 49 years ago by my father’s uncle, Roger Funghi, who had opened the West Michigan market for another ink supplier. Eventually he decided to start his own business with a focus on service,” said John Toigo, vice president of sales and marketing.
Robert Toigo, John Toigo’s father and the company’s president, joined Grand Rapids Printing Ink 41 years ago, acquiring it in 1994. John Toigo joined the company 11 years ago, and his brother, Joe, the company’s general manager, joined Grand Rapids Printing Ink three years ago. John Toigo said that above all, his father has taught him the importance of loyalty.
“I learned from my father that loyalty to our employees, our customers and our suppliers is essential,” Mr. Toigo said. “We have great people working here, ranging from being with us 48 years to new employees we have recently brought in as we continue to grow.”
In addition to manufacturing their own process and PMS inks, Grand Rapids Printing Ink distributes high quality process inks from K+E, Akzo Nobel and Toyo. Mr. Toigo said the company is also a blanket converter, handling most lines of printing blankets including Day International, Reeves International and Perfect Dot. They are also a part of a national buying group called The Print Suppliers, which allows Grand Rapids Printing Ink to service their national print customers.
“We are finding the highest quality inks from around the world and bringing them to our customers,” Mr. Toigo said. “The PMS colors require more service, which is what we specialize in.”
That loyalty to customers is shown in the company’s commitment to service.“Our customers know they can trust us,” Mr. Toigo said.“If someone calls us at 9 a.m. for a special color, we’ll have it to them by noon. When our customers call us in the middle of the night for blankets, they know we’ll be there for them.”
At a time when service has become more of a concern for small- and mid-sized sheetfed printers, regional ink companies such as Grand Rapids Printing Ink are succeeding.
“The sheetfed printing industry is coming back to service, and because of that, a lot of smaller sheetfed ink companies have done well for themselves,” Mr. Toigo said. “It’s been fortunate for us because some ink manufacturers are getting away from service, but we continue to stress it. We hang our hat on service, higher quality and relationships, which allows us to find new customers and maintain them.”