In 1946, the Chicago Bears cemented their reputation as the “Monsters of the Midway” by winning the NFL championship. That same year,  VISOgraphic, a traditional commercial print shop, opened its doors in nearby Addison, IL.

Fast forward to 1980, when the Dahlke family took over the reins at VISOgraphic. Today, we have augmented the traditional offset equipment with a fleet of digital printers.

Cautious, but courageous

We realized early on that if we wanted to survive, we needed to expand our lithographics only shop into the digital space. This expansion began in 2005 with one new printer. As workload grew, our team ramped up the shop to 27 percent digital, with the purchase of four additional presses, enabling us to achieve a major goal: eliminating potential errors by automating processes.

Not only has this move proven to be one that brings us new customers, it also empowered us to branch into new vertical markets.

In another bold move, in 2014, we purchased 3e Marketing Communications for our diverse client base, most notably sports teams. VISOgraphic now has customers looking for output and solutions ranging from variable data printed pieces, such as direct mail and Web-to-print solutions, to brochures, displays, posters and more.

With 50 workers in its modern 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, our team is adept at using its hybrid technology combinations of litho and digital to move work out the door on time – a major feat, since each month we produce more than one million pieces of mail. In fact, the ability scale to meet highs and lows of jobs is only achievable due to our digital footprint as it provides us with added flexibility and speed to meet more jobs, including shorter runs.

About one-third of our business is generated by direct mail, at times combined with other channels. For one campaign, we mailed out 2,000 variable letters with a call to action and a giveaway. The sender realized a 10 percent response rate. This job was done directly through our digital presses which helped not only with turnaround time, but with our ability to produce more jobs, helped do so in shorter runs.

Also, we try to stay savvy. Not long ago, a customer in the entertainment industry requested 1.2 million pieces made up of 95 different versions and asked for one 13×27-inch proof for each version. Quite a test for digital technology overall. The result was a slam-dunk. What would have taken all day on an offset press was delivered to the customer — on the exact paper stock to be used in the final file — in minutes!

Overall, with the flexibility digital print has provided us, we have grown our family business to become a multifaceted commercial print services provider that continues to drive new business. We so strongly believe the addition of digital has not just helped us grow, but helped us survive, that we encourage our commercial print peers to do the same if they haven’t already.  It’s survival of the fittest after all!

Is the time right for you to make the leap across the digital divide? Get more info in our latest podcast, below:

Podcast: How Digital Print Can Grow Your Business

What are the benefits of digital print? Tune in to this exclusive podcast to get one commercial print executive's perspective.