Generating sales by word of mouth is the best way for any company to succeed. At Horizon Printing Ink, an Anaheim, CA-based specialist in sheetfed inks as well as spot colors for heatset, their strong reputation for outstanding service and quality has led the company to put in minimal efforts in sales. Instead, the company’s satisfied customers are its best sales force.
“Our sales are generated by word of mouth,” said Logan Calder, president of Horizon Printing Ink. “That’s why we don’t focus large amounts of time on sales. Service and quality are what we have to offer. We don’t stand a chance as a commodity supplier for a customer who doesn’t care about gloss, strength or dot performance.”
Service has been the key to the company’s success. Mr. Calder began his career in the ink industry as a QC lab manager, and picked up spectrophotometry so well he became a national technician. He eventually moved into sales, but he realized that larger ink companies were phasing out service to smaller printers. That struck him as offering an opportunity.
“Big companies went away from service for smaller companies, and we felt we could form a new company that would be dedicated to serving smaller companies,” Mr. Calder said. “As it happened, we have also taken on larger companies that are also looking for service.”
“Serving our customers is our natural way of business,” Mr. Calder said. “We are in a niche. We target customers who require service, whether it’s drawdowns or ink delivered quickly. We feel that once we get an account, we take good care of them, and it becomes a partnership. We see most of our accounts on a weekly basis.”
While many ink companies are looking at ways they can cut costs, whether by using less expensive ingredients or providing less service, Mr. Calder said that is not the way Horizon Printing Ink does business.
“We work hard to cut costs too, but we do it by being very efficient in our manufacturing processes,” Mr. Calder said. “We buy the best raw materials from the very competitive world market. Our vendors have the same mindset, where a product may cost a bit more, but when we are in the lab, we can see the difference. We don’t have the giant overhead that big corporations have, which allows us to pass the saving on to our customer.”
It is that dedication to service and quality that is driving Horizon Printing Ink’s growth.
“Overall, we have a very low turnover of our customers,” Mr. Calder said. “It’s hard for someone to take an account from us – we haven’t lost any of our key accounts. We are moving into a larger building, doubling our size, and are purchasing three roll mills and mixers.”
Above all, Mr. Calder believes that printers absolutely should expect that the ink that they buy will perform perfectly.
“There are many challenges to overcome in a typical day at a printing company, and ink shouldn’t be one of them,” Mr. Calder concluded. “We at Horizon Printing Ink work very hard to make sure that ink is not one of our customers’ daily challenges. Our ink is hand made by highly trained craftsman and is checked at every step all through the manufacturing process, to insure that every ounce of Horizon Printing Ink is the best it can be. Words like ‘that’s close enough’ are not part of our quality control processes.”