Modern Litho: Key to 80-Year Growth Spurt Is Helping Customers Grow

Modern Litho was over capacity in terms of its ability to output more jobs. “And when I say ‘over capacity,’ I mean, we were running 24/7 and still had to turn down work that fit us,” recalls Greg Meeker, co-owner and VP of sales and marketing at the Jefferson City, Mo.-based printer. Through it all, its employees stepped up and answered the call the best they could. “But, unfortunately, you only get 24 hours in any given day,” he quips.

In response, the firm had replaced three 40? presses with an eight-color Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105 sheetfed offset perfecting press with an in-line CutStar roll-to-sheet feeder four years prior and gained some incremental capacity at the time. “But we ran out [of available press time] a year or two earlier than we had planned,” shares Darrell Moore, co-owner and president.

“The market is demanding,” he adds. That’s why the team was so excited about its latest installation last fall: a 10-color Speedmaster XL 106 perfector equipped with double aqueous coating units and a CutStar system. “This press has enabled us to add 60% more output capacity to our plant,” says Moore.

In addition, Modern Litho expanded its headquarters from 73,000 sq. ft. to 95,000 sq. ft. (9,000 of which is office and administrative space).

The $6 million press and increased floor space may not have been possible if not for a recent partnership between Modern Litho, the City of Jefferson, Cole County and Jefferson City Public Schools. Modern Litho received an $8 million revenue bond as an incentive to expand its operation, which will also result in the addition of approximately 50 new jobs at the Jefferson City location during the next five years. The company maintains that this bond will be cost-neutral to taxpayers.

In addition, Jefferson City waived 75% of the property tax on the new equipment — equal to about $1.5 million during the first five years. What’s more, the state of Missouri awarded Modern Litho $30,000 to use as part of its training program for the new Speedmaster. And under a state job creation program called Missouri Works, the firm will save another $300,000 in tax credits over six years as the new employees are added.
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