Like many entrepreneurs before them, Bill Henderson and Barry Vandiver decided to start their own business. Their company, Signal Printing Ink, a Chattanooga, TN-based sheetfed and forms ink specialist, has faced some challenges since it was founded 22 years ago, but its deserved reputation for quality and service have led to success for the company.
During its 22 years in business, Signal Printing Ink has faced some challenging times, but the company has relied on its quality and service to move forward.
“Like all small companies, we’ve come through some difficult times,” Mr. Henderson said. “When we started, small companies were a trend, but it went from small ink companies being very popular to larger ink companies becoming more popular, although smaller companies seem to be coming back.We dodged a bullet when our largest customer left us, and we’re still here.”
The key for Signal Printing Ink has been its dedication to quality and service.
“We’ve always put the quality of our ink first and service right there with it,” Mr. Henderson said. “We never sold by price, although we did have to make some adjustments along the way.
“We have such a good rapport with our customers,” he added. “We will make a different ink to run on a six-color Heidelberg and a four-color Miller, while the larger ink companies make one ink for all machines. We customize ink sets for specific customers. They know they can trust us and thatwe’ll do whatever it takes. We have some customers who literally have worked with us since we started back in 1984.”
In addition to serving Chattanooga, Signal Printing Ink is centrally located between four major cities – Nashville and Knoxville, TN, Atlanta, GA and Huntsville, AL – which gives the company a good niche to serve.
“We’re located between four major cities, and our market demands such quick service,” Mr. Henderson said. “We’re doing a good job at servicing our customers, and that’s one of the reasons we are still in business.
Doing the right thing is a way of life at Signal Printing Ink, and it goes beyond relationships with customers. In 1995, a fire at American Printing Ink, also located in Chattanooga, destroyed its facility. Mr. Henderson and Mr. Vandiver were friends with Jim Stanley, American Printing Ink’s owner, and they never hesitated when it came to letting American Printing Ink use their facilities while their plant was being rebuilt.
“We made our place available to them,” Mr. Henderson said. “We’ve had a working relationship with the Stanley family, where we sort of stay out of each other’s backyards. Maybe it was crazy to let them use our plant, but we are still good friends.It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, and it still does.”
Mr. Henderson knows that quality and service made Signal Printing Ink what it is today, and he expects the company to continue to do what it does best in the future.
“We’ll just maintain our niche,” Mr. Henderson said. “We operate on the basics – good products, fair price and excellent service. We really believe you get what you pay for.”