Since its inception, InnoMark Communications has aimed to provide clients with all their signage and display needs.
InnoMark Communications launched in the early `90s with a specific goal: to be a one-stop shop for retail signage and displays. During that time, if a retailer wanted store signage, there was a long lead time because the market was so segmented. One company would handle image work, another printed, another provided finishing, and so on. “Back then, the owners looked at it and said ‘Why do we need all these different steps as different vendors? Why not consolidate all of this?’ So we started out as a large-format offset print shop,” says Steve Zick, executive VP of sales and marketing.
As time passed, InnoMark added elements to the business to adapt to customers’ needs and advances in equipment. The company invested early in digital printing and worked with longstanding clients to introduce digital prints to retail environments, which helped InnoMark fine-tune the technology. Fabrication and finishing departments were added to keep up with the digital print demand.
Because the goal right out of the gate was to make InnoMark a single source for retailers’ display needs, the southwest Ohio-based company made a natural progression from store signage to also providing the dimensional displays used to showcase merchandise.
Nothing on the print side of the business is outsourced. Occasionally, specialty components of the permanent merchandising displays requiring metal fabrication or cabinet making are outsourced, but even that is extremely infrequent. The shop creates everything out of seven production sites in Ohio, Indiana, and New York. Having multiple shops was an intentional continuity plan to keep projects running smoothly. If the weather knocks out the power at the Fairfield, Ohio, building, projects can instead run on the same equipment in Richmond, Indiana. “We can print, finish, and kit pack in multiple facilities. That allows us to avoid the bottlenecks that can happen with others who are in a single building with a single production path,” Zick says. This strategy is especially valuable during the busy holiday retail season.
InnoMark built customized proprietary workflow software programs – some with a foundation in an out-of-the-box system – to manage the flow of projects. With things running steadily, sales and project managers can focus on the client relationship. Zick says the biggest ongoing challenge is cultivating communication from inside InnoMark to outside the company. Though InnoMark has many customers that have been with them for so long that they understand their business culture and what they are seeking with a project, the challenge remains with a new buyer or new point person for an existing client. “We have to quickly ramp up and learn that culture and the unwritten rules of what that client desires. Getting that translated and filling in those blanks is one of the bigger things we face when trying to be sure we are producing what they expect,” Zick adds.
Controlling every aspect of customer communication and the production line from beginning to end gives InnoMark greater accountability to the buyer, should they make a late change to their order or another hiccup occurs. Zick says, “If we need to make an adjustment, we can do so without impacting the client’s delivery date, or, in some cases, without the client even realizing there was ever anything to worry about.”
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