Transcontinental Expands Philadelphia Print Operations

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Transcontinental's interactive marketing operation is expanding its facilities in the Philadelphia area with a new plant at a former U.S. Navy complex, the Montreal-based commercial printing house said yesterday.

Located in Warminster, PA, 25 miles north of Philadelphia, the 220,000-square-foot facility is a hanger that once was used as a training base for the Apollo astronauts. The plant will provide direct marketing services including printing, finishing, data processing, personalization, post processing, bindery and lettershop.

These capabilities currently are provided by plants in Willow Grove, Levittown and Newtown, PA. The Warminster plant is expected to be operational in August, and Transcontinental plans to finish the relocation from the existing plants by the end of the year.

The company said the move will allow it to expand the capacity of its Philadelphia-area operations by 50 percent. Transcontinental will retain the 300-employee work force from the three old plants and plans to add an unspecified number of new workers in the near future to match the increased capacity.

The move should eliminate the need to ship materials among the three old facilities and increase the speed to market of mail campaigns produced by the Philadelphia operation.

"We've grown incrementally," said Kevin Howley, vice president and general manager of Transcontinental's interactive marketing operation, which provides integrated direct marketing services. "Doing that, you end up being in a couple different locations. By bringing everybody under one roof, you reduce the cycle time."

Transcontinental is occupying only part of the former Navy hangar, which in total measures 800,000 square feet. The company has an option to acquire 200,000 more square feet and may expand the plant's capabilities next year, Howley said.

As part of the consolidation, Transcontinental will install two new eight-color Quantum 1500XP web offset presses made by Sanden Machine Ltd. in the new facility. The variable-size, 27-inch-wide presses are equipped with UV dryers, remote ink and register controls, fan folder and a commercial high-pile sheeter and will have the capability to produce materials usually handled by commercial web printers such as brochures and lift notes.

The move to a consolidated and larger facility is part of Transcontinental's efforts to increase its presence in the U.S. printing market. Transcontinental, which is a major printer in Canada and Mexico, entered the U.S. market about two years ago and after much planning and analyzing is putting its expansion plans into effect.

"The growth will have to come from the United States," Howley said. "The U.S. market is 25 times the size of the Canadian market."

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