How do you revolutionize an industry? Flexpress Digital Printing has created the blueprint
In a time when society appears to be going more digital, there is a local company that is defying the odds and not only expanding, but revolutionizing an industry.
Flexpress is not your ordinary printing company.
In fact, the owner, WP Ward, proudly states that the company he founded almost 27 years ago is a publishing company, not a printing company.
With a loyal staff that feels more like family, a solid base of customers and partners that includes both local mom and pop shops and global corporations, and a laser focus on technology, it’s not difficult to understand why Ward feels so confidently about the direction his Farmers Branch based company is headed in.
We got an opportunity to sit down with the West Texas native for a deeper dive into one of the region’s true success stories.
Flexpress has been in the printing business for several decades. What do you specialize in?
We specialize in thinking outside of the box. Digital printing allows us to be nimble and responsive to our customers by providing printing in the exact quantities they need with minimal set up time. Our state-of-the-art presses allow us to produce everything from business stationery to brochures, catalogs, menus, training manuals, direct mail, labels, packaging and much more. Our flatbed and wide format printers can print banners, signage, fine art canvas prints, magnetics and window clings. We also have the capabilities to custom print promotional items. We like to go above and beyond of what’s expected. If it can be printed we do it.
Technology is making printing more adaptive, not obsolete.
It’s often said that the printing industry isn’t evolving, that it’s dying. Would you agree or disagree with that?
From our perspective, we see a constant and natural evolution with this industry every day. Technology is making printing more adaptive, not obsolete.
One way that printing is evolving is in environmentally friendly innovations. Digital presses, for instance, don’t require the solvents and chemicals that older offset presses have traditionally used. They also require much less make-ready prep on press, saving paper and ink. Also, because digital presses can print as many or as few sheets as needed there is much less paper waste caused by overruns.
Not only are digital presses pushing the industry to become more environmentally friendly, they are also more budget friendly for customers. Startups benefit tremendously from the flexibility of small run prototype packaging, for instance.
Another way in which printing is evolving is in response to the emergence of a growing self-publishing market.
It is now possible for online retail outlets to lower overhead by utilizing printing-on-demand. It not only lowers initial print costs, it also reduces the need for storage and allows for updates to be made to materials without scrapping existing inventory.
Advances in variable data technology have spawned new opportunities in direct mail, packaging and special event materials. Coke’s personalized packaging demonstrates this on a large scale, but it can just as easily be done on a smaller scale for any client or event.
How does Flexpress continue to stay relevant and innovate?
We are constantly researching printing trends and technology. As a result, we recently added a new hybrid flatbed printer capable of printing on both rigid and flexible materials and a laser die cutter capable of intricate shapes far beyond the usual square and rectangular signage often offered elsewhere.
We continue to stay relevant by staying committed to the principles we started with when we first began. Service is king. Technology is a wonderful thing which makes our lives easier in many ways and awes us with the advances, but a service industry such as ours will always need human expertise to guide customers through the printing process, explain the options and make sure the customer always gets exactly what they need.
Given the longevity of the company, what are the three top reasons it continues to be successful?
Flexpress is a bit unique in that we embraced digital printing from the very beginning 27 years ago and as a result, our experience and commitment have kept us at the forefront of the changing technology in print every step of the way.
Our business philosophy actually has four key points we strive to uphold every day. They might sound basic, but we believe if you have a strong core everything else will follow:
- Give the customer what they ask for and stand by the product.
- Continue to stay informed and educated about the latest technology and share our knowledge and expertise.
- Be a part of the community.
- Treat every employee like family.
Philanthropy plays a big part of the Flexpress story. Why is giving back so important?
At Flexpress we believe we are all members of the community. When we help our neighbors thrive and succeed, we all grow stronger. Some of the causes/events we have supported include:
DFW Rescue Me
Minnie’s Food Pantry
Lung Cancer Research Foundation/Free to Breathe Walk
Riley’s Round Up for MS
Children’s Cancer Fund
What’s next for Flexpress?
We’ll continue to keep our customers first, go above and beyond of what’s expected and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to what can be printed on paper, metal and canvas. We’re always on the lookout for new partnerships, even more ways to give and the continued expansion of our Etsy platform as well.
Technology is a wonderful thing which makes our lives easier in many ways and awes us with the advances, but a service industry such as ours will always need human expertise to guide customers through the printing process, explain the options and make sure the customer always gets exactly what they need.
Join WP and the Flexpress team on October 20th at the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge (next to Trinity Groves) as they raise awareness and funds for lung cancer research at the 2018 Free To Breathe Dallas Walk. Sign up for Team Janice (affectionately named for Ward’s sister who passed away six years ago from lung cancer) or make a donation to the cause.
Regardless of the industry that you’re in, you can apply some of the same winning strategies Flexpress deploys.
Focus on people
Invest in the people on your team just as much as you invest in technology. Treat them like family – support them consistently, challenge them when they need it and inspire them to be great.
Build philanthropy into your company’s mission
According to a Shelton Group study, 86 percent of consumers believe companies should take a stand for social issues, and 64 percent of those consumers are “very likely” to purchase from a company that makes that pledge. Giving back to the community isn’t just a hobby for Flexpress; it’s a critical part of their DNA. Not only does charity feel good, but it provides a great way to to build comaraderie with your team and can organically lead to new revenue streams.
Success opens doors
Build a solid company that produces quality work (or services) and generates consistent revenues and you open the door for game-changing partnerships, funding opportunities and recognition.
The Flexpress team represents individuals from all walks of life, ethnicities, languages, age, gender, and education levels. This eclectic mix is a key ingredient in building a strong team Ward shared. As you build your own team, look for ways to incorporate an inclusive workplace culture. Embrace older employees. Make a commitment to having women and people of color in leadership roles.