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The proof is in the print

Forum Communications Printing uses state-of-the-art technology - and care - to deliver client dreams

By Kaylee Cusack, Senior Communications Specialist Minnkota Power Cooperative

The Highline Notes newsletter you receive every month doesn’t just … happen. It’s a collaboration between your team at Cass County Electric Cooperative (CCEC) and our business member Forum Communications Printing (FCP), a commercial printing and mailing company nestled in the northern industrial area of Fargo.

In his dual role of Plant Manager and Mail & Digital Operations Manager for the FCP Fargo location (one of three plants in the region), Jeff Foss’s kingdom is the facility’s sprawling production floor. That’s where the work of FCP Fargo’s 120 employees – from salespeople to machinists – collates into beautifully printed magazines, mailers, information sheets, education packets, postcards and a myriad of other paper-based projects.

“This press is brand new. We just put it in,” Foss said of the hulking Komori-brand eight-color sheetfed press stretching 50 feet beside him. “When the project goes through it’s done in one pass, versus the old press, where we ran it through, flipped that stack over, and printed the other side. Speed-wise, we’re at almost three times the speed of the old one.”

Foss and the FCP staff are investing in the enhanced speed of evolving technology to keep up with the requests of the company’s 1,200-plus recurring customers, which have spanned nearly every U.S. state and Canada. Pallets of college alumni magazines and grade-school planners wait to be sorted with smart mailing equipment, quickly replaced with bundles of the next client’s order.

CCEC Communications Manager Jocelyn Hovland says Highline Notes has been in this fast-paced rotation since 2009, and she has yet to notice a hiccup in the service she receives when she sends a newsletter design to print.

“You guys do a good job of making me feel really special when I’m just a minnow in this ocean,” Hovland told Foss during a recent tour. “It’s amazing. I had no idea!”

It takes a lot of electricity to power all of the innovative equipment that keeps the FCP ecosystem humming. The company’s new sheetfed press runs nearly 24 hours a day, producing around 15,000 sheets of product every hour. And that’s only one of several essential presses. Strong electricity is also needed for the lightning-fast mail sorter and the facility’s paper recycling system, which pulls paper trimmings through a series of tubes to be baled and delivered to the local recycling service.


The power need is high, but so is FCP’s trust that electricity will always be there. A recent upgrade to the substation that serves the facility and its neighbors will help to ensure reliability into the future.

“In the last 20 years, I can count the amount of times we’ve had problems on one hand,” Foss said. “When those web and sheetfed printers are running wide open, and you have a hard shutdown, it raises heck – everything wraps up. It’s a big thing if we get a power outage, and we’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had very few over the years.”

CCEC provides reliable service for Forum Communications Printing, and that reliability goes both ways. FCP Customer Service Manager Carmen Wallander has been with the company for nearly three decades and has had the co-op as a client since the beginning, from member mailings to special projects to Highline Notes.

“They are never not on time,” Hovland said in praise of Wallander and her colleagues. “Getting specific messages out to the membership, especially ones that are time sensitive – if the magazine doesn’t go out on time, and the members don’t get those notifications, it’s a big deal.”

“I get warm fuzzies when clients are super happy and they reach out by phone or email and just say, ‘Thank you so much,’” Wallander said. “And I try to share those good stories with everyone here because it makes them happy, especially in the plant.”

Wallander and Foss know they are making a difference for their clients, and they find ways to go above and beyond at every turn. Profits are great, but it’s the people they serve that really matter.

“For me, with every customer I think about what we can do to better to help them,” Foss said, recalling a recent order for a California school system. In that case, he helped save the school district tens of thousands of dollars on
packaging and postage costs by suggesting one simple sizing change on an order of 1.2 million reading program books. “Pointing that out to them and saving them money so they can turn around and do more down the road is kind of the goal to help them grow their business.””


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