Becwin Printing is a successful local business printing company that has managed to gain a large market share. The company’s history highlights several managerial challenges and strategies of business success. Albert Becwin started the company in 1981, at the time when he was a student and working as a salesman for his brother-in-law’s printing business.
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After extensive research in business management, particularly printing, Becwin established his company with $20,000 capital, which was mostly borrowed, and another $13,000 from his friends in the printing business. The initial strategy of Becwin Printing was to go after customers with printing needs and ability to pay. Thus, the focus was on banks since it proved profitable for Becwin.
In 1982, Becwin hired Allan White as a partner and the business manager. White purchased 20% of the company because he had been working as a bank executive and was among Becwin’s customer. The business was successful because the sales reached $7.3 million and an operating profit of $657,000 in 1994. Between 1995 and 2004, Becwin registered a profitable growth of about $20 million is sales.
Despite the business growth, Becwin faced many challenges as a leader. Managing the expanding business required feasible leadership strategies, and thus Becwin opted to contact Beth Schubert from a management-consulting firm on how to run the business.
Schubert proposed that the company’s top management should delegate duties to other operational managers. The business was restructured in 1999 to ensure customer satisfaction and competitive advantage.
Becwin replaced the sales manager, the production manager, the head of the stripping department, and hired new managers to take the positions. Therefore, there was delegation of duties which elicited new policies, systems, procedures and controls to maintain Becwin’s market share.
In addition, buying out White was a challenge after his retirement in 1999. The options available for Becwin was going public, selling out, using Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP), and re-capitalization. He however assimilated the ESOP option whereby over a seven-year period, 65 percent of the company’s ownership would be relocated to the Employee Stock Ownership Trust (ESOT).
The strategy was successful because a bank loan financed ESOT, and White received $800, 000 in cash. ESOT affected the company’s funding strategy because everything had to be reported together, including the financial position of the company. Nevertheless, Becwin saw this as a challenge because it gave people a false sense of security.
Another challenge was the pressure to adopt the changing information technology. Many printing business emerged in 2000s, which forced Bercwin to gather necessary information from customers about their needs. He was successful in customer orientation because the profits were positive with a growth rate of 17.6% in 2010 as compared to 8.7% in 2005.
In essence, the major factors that facilitated Bercwin’s success include in-house design, sales force, and expansion of value chain, business description, cost control, and operating practices. The business focuses on customer’s requirements because it conducts surveys to develop ideas.
This implies that the company is more market driven than product driven. Similarly, the re-engineering of production systems has enabled the organization to embrace digital production in its value chain. In managing the sales force, the company trains its own sales people through continuous professional development programs, thus creating loyal workforce.
Moreover, the company utilizes its equipments because the press lines are specialized to reduce unnecessary cost and waste, thus encouraging lean initiatives in the production process. Therefore, Becwin believes that the company will still grow in future despite the intellectual and leadership challenges.