Continuous Improvement Strategy Changes the Game (and the Name!) for United Direct Solutions
thINK CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT:
UNITED DIRECT SOLUTIONS
Casey Hendrick, Chief Operating Officer
United Direct Solutions recently rebranded, changing their name (from United Mail) to reflect the company’s evolution into a technology-driven entity that offers a wide array of services beyond traditional direct mail. Founded in 1980, United Direct Solutions’ directive has remained unchanged: to enrich connections between companies and their audiences. With locations in Louisville, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, United Direct Solutions serves small-to-medium businesses and Fortune 500 companies nationwide. With more than 150,000 sq. ft. of office and warehouse space, 250 employees, an expansive logistics network, and an array of traditional and digital services, United Direct Solutions works to deliver on the promise of relevant and meaningful communications at any scale.
Recently, United Direct Solutions was honored with the prestigious Printing Impressions "Innovator of the Year" award for their outstanding leadership in harnessing cutting-edge inkjet technology and their unwavering commitment to fostering a thriving company culture.
Casey Hendrick, Chief Operating Officer of United Direct Solutions, shared the secrets to their success and details of their journey: “Initially we were known for our printing, direct mail and production of physical marketing materials, but we have continuously evolved over the years and expanded to offer a wider array of services to provide our customers with the ability to create a personalized relationship through a direct marketing experience, which includes digital, email and online solutions in addition to, of course, billing, data and document security.” United Direct Solutions is an ISO 9001:2015 certified direct mail and marketing company with SOC 2 Type 2, HITRUST CSF certifications, which is critical for serving the high trust print needs of customers in the healthcare, health insurance and financial services industries. “Our name is just catching up with our full-service offering. The re-branding publicly states our commitment to industry-leading innovation and service, as well as the industry's highest focus on data and document management, privacy and security.”
Casey, a print industry veteran for more than 20 years, shared his insights on the successful evolution of United Mail to United Direct Solutions: “Success is all about continuous improvement. You strive to get a little better every day. To do that, you have to consistently evaluate what you can do better, and then do it.” As an example, when Casey found they couldn’t offer competitive pricing on toner devices for self-mailers and postcards, he knew there was an opportunity for significant improvement—not only to support their customers with better pricing and gain competitive advantage, but to improve operational efficiencies as well.
“Our decision was easy once we ran the numbers. We did our homework, and the answer was obvious; the Canon varioPRINT iX inkjet sheetfed press. We are pleased with how it handles coated stocks and the inline finishing, and it has enabled us to bring in outsourced shell work to run a white paper solution. The varioPRINT iX has been sold out since we installed it—we’ve been working six days a week, 24 hours a day,” Casey said.
Casey applies the same “continuous improvement” philosophy to United Direct Solutions’ company culture. “By nature, I’m very competitive; I like to win, and I like to build the teams that win.” To achieve this, he places a strong emphasis on creating a work culture that fosters ongoing growth. The culture is based on core values including optimism, determination, teamwork, integrity, respect, trust, excellence, and the commitment to continuous improvement. According to Casey, nurturing the right culture is key. Such a culture is built upon trust, and it allows for vulnerability, which in turn stimulates both personal and professional growth. “Take care of people, stay focused on and live and die by your core values: that is my recipe for success.” In addition to his professional career, Casey applies this same passion in his family life, and he and his wife have instilled the same passion for mental and physical excellence into their three daughters, ages 15, 16 and 18, all of which play competitive soccer.
“I cannot agree more with the high priority Casey puts on cultivating United Direct Solutions’ culture. Company culture is the foundation for success, and, with a strong company culture, everyone wins,” said Francis McMahon, executive vice president, Production Print Solutions, Canon Solutions America, Inc. “With this type of leadership, it is evident why United Direct Solutions was named as one of the best places to work by Printing Industries of America.”
When asked what recommendation he has for others who wish to gain a competitive edge with inkjet, Casey replied, “Start by documenting your business needs and the needs of your customers, then take inventory of the investments you already have. Once you fully understand your needs and where the gaps are, start talking to a lot of your peers in the industry and take a hands-on approach to explore the different solutions available to determine what fits you and your company best. Be sure to evaluate all factors, including the market share they have, the culture they have, the service they offer, and of course the price—it’s a research driven decision."
About United Direct Solutions
United Direct Solutions provides clients with the most effective methods to connect, engage and communicate with their audiences. Since 1980, their marketing solutions have grown from direct mail service to digital marketing, billing, data and document security, embracing and engaging the latest platforms and technologies. At the forefront of innovation, automation and expertise, United Direct Solutions develops and implements communications strategies that demonstrate the value of connection and the power of personalized communications. For more information, visit udsolutions.com.
About thINK Forum
thINK is an independent community of Canon Solutions America inkjet customers, solution partners, and print industry experts, and Canon Solutions America is a proud executive sponsor. Led by some of the most successful inkjet service providers in the country, it provides a forum for members to network, gain knowledge, discuss common challenges, and share best practices. For more information, visit thinkforum.com.
Canon is a registered trademark of Canon Inc. in the United States and elsewhere. varioPRINT is a trademark or registered trademark of Canon Production Printing Netherlands B.V. All other referenced product names and marks are trademarks of their respective owners. Neither Canon Inc. nor Canon U.S.A., Inc. nor Canon Solutions America, Inc. represents or warrants any third-party product or feature referenced hereunder. Views and opinions expressed in this testimonial are based on the actual experiences of each voluntary participant and are not intended to represent or guarantee that the same or similar results will be achieved.
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