John Wolf III Brings Speedy Action to Wolf Printing / Grandson of Founder Organizes Casual Labor to Handle Innovative Rush Jobs

Article excerpt

It was 9 a.m. when Carl Gadd of DPR Co. of Oklahoma City called John E. Wolf III to print 460 press kits and deliver them to Sarasota, Fla.

So what's unusual about that?

Well, they had to be in Sarasota by the next morning.

"We had to print 14 news releases, varying from one to seven pages - a total of 20,000 impressions," said Wolf. "We had to collate and staple each one, then collate them together with 12 photos. Wehad to assemble the kits and deliver them 1,300 miles."

That kind of rush job, with quality printing and delivery on time, is becoming a specialty with Wolf Printing and Mailing Inc. at 1130 Linwood Ave. in Oklahoma City.

"We are not a quick print company," said Wolf. "We are a company that does quality printing quickly and delivers on time. We have a casual labor force so well organized that we now have about 100 people we can call on short notice."

- For the long term, this quick reaction is just one way in which the 27-year old John Wolf III is working to bring Wolf back as a premier name in Oklahoma City printing and mailing.

It goes back to 1930, when the original John E. Wolf Co. was started by his grandfather, John E. Wolf Sr., to develop direct mail advertising for retailers. He developed the "Wolf Plan," a direct mail system of follow-up letters for auto dealers.

- For the short term, John III is going back to areas where his grandfather first started 55 years ago, with direct mail printing and mailing for outstanding firms such as Balliet's, Orbach's, Fretwell's, Boecking Machinery and Macklanburg Duncan.

He also is developing new services, such as a newspaper for the local advertising industry. In the two years since his father died, John III has increased the firm's sales by 15 percent to well over $400,000.

However, it is his willingness to take on the challenge of combining speed and quality in both printing and delivery that sets him apart.

It fits with one of the major changes under way in the computerized telecommunications society.

Computers seem to be changing the very essence of our approach to work and play these days. We want everything done immediately. Computerized speed seems to require more work done faster, instead of the same amount of work completed easier.

The world changes so fast, that good ideas stay fresh only a short time. So clients seem to want their ideas put into action by advertising agencies immediately in more and more cases.

These ideas vary extensively, with more and more gimmicks to be "different." Anyone who has received an invitation lately to an open house, tied to balloons, hats, bottles of wine, flowers, pieces of cake or a coffee mug, knows what I mean.

It all has to be coordinated. Logos have to be stamped on coffee mugs or tin cups. They have to match the printing on envelopes and news releases. All this has to match the press kit cover and the envelope.

Most of all, they need it now - today, tomorrow or maybe even yesterday, because next week the world will be off to something else.

"When Gadd called, I had to immediately call in 16 people to get the work done," said Wolf. "Then I had to find a way to get it delivered. One express firm said I had to have all 460 press kits there by 8 p.m. I needed more time.

"Finally, I found Airborne, which gave us until 10 p.m. That saved us two hours. We put the last stamp on the last envelope at 9:26 p.m."

Now you may think that John E. Wolf III learned all this by growing up in the printing and mailing business, running presses, stuffing envelopes and running postage meters, not to mention learning how to order supplies, estimate jobs and call on clients.

Well, that's a long way from the truth.

"In 1981, when I was still at Oklahoma State University, my father (John E. Wolf Jr.) asked me to come that summer and learn the family business (then called Wolf Advertising) from the bottom," said John III. …