Think Patented

Dayton-area printing and marketing company to expand

Think Patented has acquired four area companies since moving into its $4 million, 75,000-square-foot Miamisburg production facility two years ago this Memorial Day weekend.

Now the printing and marketing company plans to expand that facility over the next 12 months with a 35,000-square-foot addition to consolidate its fulfillment operations from two other locations, the firm’s top executive said exclusively to the Dayton Daily News.

“We thought when we moved in here two years ago we were set for life. Two years down the road, we’ve outgrown the place already. I guess those are good problems,” said Kenneth O. McNerney, Think Patented’s chief executive and managing partner.

Think Patented was founded in 1979 by Ed Patent as a Dayton commercial print shop called Patented Printing. It was acquired in 2006 by an nine-member investor group that included McNerney and Niels Winther, who now serves as company’s chairman and managing partner.

In recent years, Think Patented has expanded its capabilities through acquisitions and added $6 million in new state-of-the-art equipment to become a nationally recognized marketing execution company with about 130 employees and $22 million in annual sales.

No longer just a traditional “ink on paper” business, Think Patented has added technology-based products and services that also include digital and wide-format printing, marketing portals, data-driven personalized marketing, e-commerce websites, promotional products, and direct mail and fulfillment services.

McNerney said the company no longer just tries to sell customers its products and services. Instead, Think Patented asks clients about their business needs and then tries to put together programs that utilize its various capabilities to help them accomplish those needs across multiple media formats.

“I don’t think there are a lot of graphics companies and printing companies that are going to market that way,” he said.

Think Patented started its evolution in 2003, when the firm’s previous owner recruited McNerney from Chicago to build infrastructure and a management team that position the company for rapid growth.

After purchasing the company in 2006, McNerney and his management team began growing the firm’s technology base and adding developers to its staff, which has more than doubled over the last decade.

In 2013, Think Patented moved from its longtime home on East Third Street in Dayton to a new, state-of-the-art production facility at 2490 CrossPointe Drive in Miamisburg. The plant operates 24 hours a day, six days a week.

The first piece of equipment installed was a new $3 million Heidelberg XL 106 offset printing press, the “latest and greatest technology in the marketplace,” McNerney said.

The new facility also allowed the company to design new workflows and install lean manufacturing processes to create business efficiencies, he said.

Think Patented then acquired a number of area companies, including Prime Marketing Companies of Miamisburg; Miller Printing Co. of Springfield; Chinsano Marketing Communications Inc. of Miamisburg; and Middleton Printing of Columbus.

McNerney said the acquisitions provided Think Patented with additional technology and leadership talent, software platforms, business segments and customer accounts. The company also has added sales offices in Columbus and Cincinnati.

Those moves have helped Think Patented remain competitive amid rapid consolidation in the printing industry.

The U.S. printing industry, which includes large commercial printers and small print shops, has declined from 55,000 printers in the 1980s to less than 23,000 last year, according to IBISWorld research.

“We don’t believe that ink on paper is dying, but we certainly believe people that are only doing ink on paper are probably not long for the marketplace,” McNerney said.

Think Patented’s vision is “to be something more than ink on paper,” he said. Printing Impressions, an industry trade journal, touted the company in a 2011 cover story as one of the “leaders of the revolution.”

Moving into the new facility positioned Think Patented more as a marketing technology company and less like a print shop, McNerney said.

The company plans to expand the facility, on which it has a long-term lease, to consolidate two Miamisburg fulfillment warehouses and their four workers, which were part of the Chinsano acquisition.

That move also will allow Think Patented to expand its wide-format production capacity.

The company has construction plans drawn up for the estimated $1.5 million expansion, but has not yet committed to the project for financial reasons.

“As we expand our fulfillment business and get additional contracts, as we get the next contract or two in place, we will make the commitment to build the building at that point in time,” McNerney said.

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