University of Maryland Baltimore Perry Sustainability Discussion


Jeff Perry, the CEO of Perry’s Printing, calls you into his office.  As you’re walking toward Jeff’s office, you think about the company that you’ve worked for over seven years.

Perry’s Printing is a family-owned printing company that has been in business for over 70 years. The founder of the company, Lawrence Perry, started the company as a small printing and engraving shop. Now Lawrence’s grandson, Jeff Perry, runs the company, and they have grown to $20 million in annual revenues. Today, Perry’s Printing specializes in signage for retail stores.

“Take a seat,” Jeff tells you as you enter his office.

Then Jeff says, “We have a problem. Our competitor just came out with a statement on their website about being a “Lean and Green” manufacturer. So he pulls up the website, and you read it.

Lean and Green Manufacturing at Donovan’s Printing

Donovan’s is a Lean Manufacturer. The core idea of Lean Manufacturing is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.

A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes on increasing it continuously. The ultimate goal is to provide value to the customer through a value creation process with zero waste.

  • Donovan’s is FSC certified and promotes responsible management of the world’s forest.
  • Donovan’s employs both waterless offset printing and UV offset printing. These printing methods are a major advantage in eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the printing process.
  • Donovan’s maintains state-of-the-art press dryers and cooling systems that reduce energy consumption and minimal heat generation. In addition, the use of automatic ink dispensers and blanket washers aid in the reduction of ink waste and solvent usage.
  • Donavan’s recycles over 1600 tons of paper and plastic in 2019.

“I’m freaking out,” Jeff confides in you, “we don’t have anything about green manufacturing in our strategic plan.”

“But Jeff,” you reply as you continue to scroll through the website page, “Perry’s has almost all of these features! We use waterless offset printing and UV offset printing. We have new press dryers and cooling systems that save energy. We don’t have automatic ink dispensers, but we can easily get them – I think they’re even included in next year’s budget. So what’s the problem here?”

“It’s just that now that Donovan’s has made it public, I feel we have to respond. I’m not sure I even believe in all this stuff, but our operation’s manager insists on these processes. I think it all cuts into our bottom line.”

Answer the following A-C questions about this scenario:

A.  How could Jeff’s attitude toward social responsibility impact Perry’s strategy? Justify your rationale with support from course materials.

B. Should Perry’s Printing respond to this new strategic plan published by their competitor? Why or why not? Justify your opinion with support from course materials.

C.  Porter identified one of the most commonly accepted definitions of strategy as “choosing a unique and valuable position,  rooted in systems of activities that are difficult to match.” In other words, differentiation is the key to strategy. If all competitors are choosing sustainability as part of their processes, can sustainability really be a strategy? Support your opinion with course materials.

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