Founded in 1971, the company currently provides solutions for consumer magazines such as Time and Sports Illustrated, special-interest publications, retail inserts/circulars, direct mail, books, directories and commercial and specialty products. Through more than 50 print-production facilities on three continents, it also supplies media solutions that include creative digital imaging, video, photography and response-data analytics services.
With annual revenues of more than $4B, Quad/Graphics clearly recognizes what it takes to stay ahead of the competition. To better understand what keeps this industry leader on top, we caught up with its Predictive Technologies Manager, Dean Schill.
LMT: How have recent changes in the printing industry redefined Quad/Graphics’ offerings to its customers?
SCHILL: Over the last few years, the publishing industry has gone through many changes. Our customers no longer focus solely on print media, but increasingly on digital media. In such a competitive business, to remain successful, we must evolve with our customers and provide the technology to get them where they need to be. One way we’ve been able to do this is through our advanced machinery, which streamlines services and delivers more efficient results to our customers.
By customizing some of our equipment in-house, we can better focus on what our customers need to be more successful in today’s media environment. With improvements, both from a production and quality standpoint, we’ve put ourselves in a position to be more tech savvy and efficient.
For example, by designing a machine that's capable of monitoring everything from vibrations to temperature (see photo), we can be a step ahead of any potential issues and drive productivity, reduced costs and better quality in less time.
LMT: As a firm proudly committed to its core values, most of which trace their roots to late company founder Harry V. Quadracci, how would you say Quad/Graphics is the same today as it was when you began your career?
SCHILL: Our founder, the late Harry V. Quadracci, always said, “I don't think there's any right way or wrong way to run a business, but if there's a monument to be made, it’s the values that are instilled in the business, and hopefully those values will live long after me.”And they have.
I’m proud to say our core values haven’t changed much at all since I started my 29-year career, and it’s those values that drive the organization forward. Together as a company we “grow,” “believe in people,” “do the right thing,” “trust in trust” and, of course, “have fun.”
We also encourage innovation, and have worked toward developing the best possible operating procedures and have standardized those procedures throughout the company. We continually seek to find the best possible ways to maintain equipment and spread our processes throughout the company.
LMT: Today, what do you think Quad/Graphics is best known for?
SCHILL: I would say Quad/Graphics is really best known for being innovative and very progressive because of our commitment to stay at the leading edge of technology developments.
As a printing innovator, we have an extremely soph-isticated IT department; and, as I’ve mentioned, we design and manufacture some of our own equipment in-house, which is also unusual compared to the industry “norm.”
LMT: Since Quad/Graphics designs and maintains much of its own equipment, I assume having a proactive equipment maintenance plan is a top priority?
SCHILL: It sure is. We pride ourselves on our high efficiency and productivity—a lot of which comes from the performance and durability of our machinery. That’s why we put such great emphasis on choosing the right lubricants.
For much of our equipment, we use ExxonMobil’s range of Mobil SHC™ synthetic lubricants. After switching from conventional mineral lubricants, we found that using synthetic oils and greases helps deliver significant financial and operational benefits, like improved equipment performance and durability, and longer oil-drain intervals.
The longer oil-drain intervals you get from synthetics means less time that personnel need to spend on oil changeouts and less exposure to equipment—both of which are definite safety benefits. Also, from an environmental-care perspective, the longer drain intervals we get from the Mobil SHC synthetics that we use helps reduce oil consumption and minimize oil disposal costs.
Today we rely on Mobil SHC™ Polyrex™ 221, a synthetic grease that was designed for us by ExxonMobil. We use it in our gravure printing presses because it delivers excellent pumpability and outstanding oil-separation control under pressure, which helps us ensure equipment performance and durability. Additionally, we use Mobil SHC™ 600 gear and circulating oils in our printing presses and Mobil Rarus SHC™ 1020 in our air compressors. LMT