By Susie Zimmermann Photographs by Jennifer Fiereck and Nick Caito
registration number to set up an ancillary business. Firms seeking building permits to enable expansion may likely experience similar delays. In spite of the state’s higher cost of living, however, Guertin credits the per capita income in the state and the high caliber of employees as a plus for Connecticut’s businesses. As other commercial printers have shut their doors, Specialty has benefitted from the availability of skilled print operators who find themselves out of work. “Or if we can’t find people with the skills we need, we look for people with good raw technical and people skills who share our work ethic, and we will train them,” Guertin explains.
East Windsor, CT Unlike many of its commercial printing peers, Specialty Printing’s business has been stable over the last few years and this year the company has experienced unusually good growth. “A lot of the pent-up demand is beginning to give way as customers seem to be more comfortable introducing new products,” says Bob Guertin, chief financial officer. “People are beginning to realize that they can’t stay still forever.” Specialty Printing manufactures pressure-sensitive labels and related products for retail, medical facilities, restaurants, post offices and warehouses nationwide. The explosion of the digital age as a primary means of communication has made the need for large-scale printing nearly obsolete in many instances, and many commercial printers have suffered greatly. In contrast, Specialty Printing’s focus on package printing for shortrun jobs has kept it strongly in the game. Yet Specialty shares the concerns of other firms that the cost of operating a business in Connecticut makes it hard to compete with lower-cost regions elsewhere in the country. The state’s labor and energy costs, and an overall higher cost of living create operational and recruiting challenges. “Companies are going out of business or just leaving the state,” says Guertin, who’s also on the board for the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut. “And unfortunately, state legislators are only recently beginning to consider that these departures may not be company-specific, but in fact are representative of bigger problems.” Local regulations, restrictions and bureaucracy may also be compounding the challenges that businesses face to expand. Guertin reports it took 17 weeks to receive a
“Manufacturing has lost much of its glamour and personality, and it’s much less a career goal for young people today. That’s unfortunate because we all know of the great opportunities in manufacturing, and that small companies drive overall business growth,” argues Guertin. And with the tight workforce, Guertin has observed great mobility among employees, so he advises companies to invest in making their businesses attractive to retain employees. What does Guertin suggest the state’s businesses do to stay competitive and strong in the years to come? “Embrace technology and be vigilant about driving costs out of processes wherever possible. Strengthen your organization by always hiring the most talented individuals you can find. Seek out the financing to invest in new equipment that will improve productivity. Consider new business opportunities that may vary from your traditional business focus. And always think strategically and globally.”
Danbury, CT Hologic is a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of premium diagnostic products, medical imaging systems and surgical products dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of women. More than sixty percent of the digital mammography systems in the U.S. are made by Hologic. The company has a comparable share in many other countries of the world. In FY 2011, revenues from Hologic’s breast health business headquartered in their Danbury location accounted for almost 40% of the company’s overall revenue. One of Hologic’s newest technologies is 3D mammography (breast tomosynthesis). Unlike
Published on Oct 1, 2012
The CONNSTEP advantage magazine is published by CONNSTEP, Connecticut's Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Volume 2, Issue 3 is a special...