By TED CARTER
The more than 125-year-old Hederman Brothers Printing and its 90 workers will soon pack up for a move from Ridgeland to a new home in Gluckstadt.
At about 50,000 square feet, the building Hederman Brothers will occupy fronting the east side of Interstate 75 is smaller than the approximately 70,000- square-foot building the company has occupied in Ridgeland since 1993. The big difference is a streamlined interior configuration that will provide much more workspace efficiency for commercial offset and digital printing operations, said Doug Hederman, president, CEO and a fourth generation of Hedermans to lead the printing company started by brothers Robert and Tom Hederman. They started the company in a second- floor office over a Chinese laundry in downtown Jackson.
The company built the Ridgeland building with the printing processes of 22 years ago in mind, Hederman said. The new building’s design provides a systematic flow with precise stationing of people and equipment, he added.
In Ridgeland, technology changes forced Hederman Brothers to put equipment “in places where it didn’t make the best systematic sense,” he said.
By contrast, with the new building “there is a method and process to it,” Hederman noted.
The Hederman family owned the Clarion-Ledger and the defunct Jackson Daily News for six decades, selling the newspapers to Gannet in 1981. The family’s printing company remained an East Pearl Street neighbor to the newspapers until moving north in 1993 to a largely undeveloped portion of Ridgeland just north of Old Agency Road.
“We were one of the first companies to move out to this area of Ridgeland,” said Hederman.
Today, the area on the west side of I-55 around the Hederman building is jam-packed with businesses. “We needed some additional space and better use of our space,” Hederman added.
The nearly 70,000-square-foot Ridgeland building sits on six acres. Hederman Brothers sold the building to Jackson insurance firm the Morgan White Group, which is expected to move to Ridgeland from its current Jackson building at 6040 Interstate 55 North Frontage Road in early spring.
Hederman Brothers bought its 10-acre Gluckstadt parcel from the Mississippi Economic Development Authority. Doug Hederman declined to give a specific cost for construction and equipping of the new building but put the figure as above $5 million and below $15 million. “Between the building and new equipment we’re purchasing, it is a very sizable investment,” he said.
The move north comes as the privately held company continues to enjoy annual revenue growth of 9 percent to 10 percent, marks reached in the PAST three to four years, according to Hederman.
Hederman Brothers Printing had total sales and revenue “just shy of $13 million,” he said.
Most of its printing business is in Mississippi but the company has expanded sales into Memphis, Little Rock, Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa. “It’s in about a 300-mile radius,” Hederman said of the company’s sales reach for its offset and digital work.
Digital printing, he said, has “has come a long way in terms of quality and speed.”
Most of the projects Hederman Brothers produces involve either posters, direct mail, catalogues or magazines. “We’re well suited to focus on small projects,” Hederman said.
This has landed the company a lot of work, he said, from universities and colleges as well as Mississippi’s gaming industry and retailers both large and small.
Advances in digital printing allow for much smaller brochure and magazine jobs that have the quality once reserved for much larger jobs, according to Hederman.
And while some run lengths may be getting shorter, the company is also seeing “multiple projects from the same order,” Hederman said.
Such flexibility also allows for closer targeting within the business-to-business and business-to-customer markets, he said.
Today, Hederman Brothers runs 24 hours Monday through Saturday, something a printing company could not have done several years ago without wearing out its equipment. Today’s equipment “is more expensive but you can run it around the clock,” Hederman said. “That certainly warrants the investment.”
Such improvements allow for a “couple days turnaround” on many jobs, he noted.
Beyond advances in printing flexibility, speeds and quality, Hederman Brothers is gaining in the marketplace through extensive use of data on its customer buying preferences and expectations. “We have a sophisticated management information system,” Hederman said. “It allows us to analyze buying habits of our customers. It feeds us a lot of data.”
Of course, shoe leather work is still a big part of Hederman Brothers’ focus, Hederman said. “We don’t only use the data. We are in touch with our customers. We sit in front of them and ask them these questions…. Our business is still based a lot on service and turnaround.”
Hederman said a lot of planning is going into the move to ensure printing projects are not delayed. Few, if any, disruptions occurred with the 1993 move to Ridgeland and Hederman does not expect any this time.
“We will be operating out of two facilities,” he said. “We don’t anticipate experiencing a whole lot of down time, if any.”
The company will install a lot of the equipment in the new building late in the year and early in the new year, when the printing work load typically falls off. “That is one of the reasons we looked at the time frame. January and February are a slower time.”
Nonetheless, it’s no easy move Hederman noted. “It’s not something you just unplug from the wall.”
Slightly more than 90 employees will make the move, 50 to 60 of whom will work in print production and outside sales, according to Hederman.
And to remember its 1888 origins above the Chinese Laundry in Jackson, Hederman Brothers will take an old linotype machine north to the company’s new home.
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