Executive VP & Director of Training Michael Jutt Talks Minuteman Press International at 50 Years in Business
As Minuteman Press International celebrates 50 years in business, the world’s leading printing franchise is continuing the celebration of its history. Michael Jutt first started with Minuteman Press as a press operator in the original Farmingdale shop in October of 1974, which was the second location that opened after Plainview. At just 19 years-old, Mike was hired by Roy Titus, and the rest is history.
When Minuteman Press decided to become a franchise, Mike was promoted to Director of Training; he created the first Minuteman Press training program and became an integral part of the company’s expansion into franchising. Mike remains a huge part of our success today as Minuteman Press International’s Executive VP & Director of Training.
Getting Started with Minuteman Press
Mike reflects, “I was hired in October of 1974 by Roy Titus. George Holzmacher worked for Roy already and he said I should meet with Roy about a job in Farmingdale. At the time, I was working two jobs, one being in printing, and I wanted to be an attorney. I wasn’t sure I wanted to commute to Farmingdale since I lived and worked in Merrick and was attending Nassau Community College.”
He continues, “I went to the Farmingdale shop to meet with Roy. When he arrived, we went outside of the shop, behind the building. Roy and I spoke about what he wanted for the Farmingdale shop, as he was looking to make some changes. He asked me how much I was making. At the time, I was making $110/week at the printing job. Roy offered to match, but I explained the extra gas money and time I’d be spending on the commute. He smiled and then offered me $120/week to get started, and I accepted the offer. That’s how my time with Minuteman Press started, working in the Farmingdale shop that Bob Titus was managing. We worked very hard to get the business up and running, it was fun.”
Working in the Shop
Mike shares what it was like working in the Farmingdale Minuteman Press shop and the differences he found between other printers at the time and Minuteman Press. Mike says, “I had worked in one other neighborhood quick print shop before Minuteman Press, and I was very impressed my first day of employment when I saw Bob Titus come back to the shop with a marketing assistant. The fact that they were out knocking on doors and direct marketing our printing service was to me very different and unheard of at the time for printers. I asked the other press operator who that was that just walked in, and he said that was Roy’s son Bob.”
He adds, “The differences between Minuteman Press and other print shops were a few things. First, I saw that they were actively marketing to build the business. We had a ton of work. Second, the type of equipment that we had – Multi-Graphics equipment – had better capabilities than what other quick printers were using. Third, we also had a huge focus on customer service, shop appearance, and quality work.”
Mike explains how Minuteman Press was able to differentiate themselves even further at the time, stating, “Another game-changer is when Roy came in one day and handed me a brochure for a new piece of equipment made by 3M, which was a superior plate system to enable multicolor printing. This was the missing piece of what we needed to bring Minuteman Press to the next level. We had the press, we just needed a better plate system that could handle color inks as well as it did black ink.”
He continues, “We thoroughly tested the plate system with the press and evaluated the cost. The result was that we now had the perfect package to achieve multicolor printing when other quick printers did mostly single-color or just black. The 3M plate was the ticket.”
Minuteman Press Enters Into Franchising
Mike recalls, “The next major thing that happened was Roy discussing expanding the business and moving into franchising. He promoted the business opportunity and brought interested parties into the Farmingdale location to see what we were doing. The interest was really high from the people that Roy brought in, and years later, Roy told me it was during this time where he really noticed and recognized my abilities as a hardworking young man. At age 20, Roy made me Director of Training, and it was my responsibility to teach the new franchise owners everything about our business.”
“I credit the success of Minuteman Press as a franchise to leadership, hard work (long days and long weeks), treating the owners as true partners, caring and supporting our owners, and helping them achieve their success. Roy Titus said you need to treat people like you want to be treated. Roy not only preached it, but he also practiced it, and that was one of the biggest keys of our success as we grew and expanded the company.” -Michael Jutt, Executive VP & Director of Training, Minuteman Press International
Launching the Minuteman Press Training Program
As Minuteman Press grew, so did the training program. Mike shares, “From the launch of the training department, we have focused and communicated the importance of owners becoming experts in 5 major areas:
- Customer service
- Marketing their business
- Delivering quality products
- Keeping an incredible top appearance of their business and anything that represents their business
- Management with an emphasis on financial management
Within each of these areas, there is extensive training today covering every detail of what these items actually encompass.”
Research & Development Over the Years
Minuteman Press has continually invested in research and development on behalf of its owners. Mike shares, “The biggest areas that we’ve always been at the forefront of are research, development, and technology. Printing technology and enhancements with 3M products in the early days got better and better. With that said, one of the big first big efficiencies was added when our first pricing program was developed. In 1977, a new franchise owner from Dallas, Texas named Cal Baker came to the training program.”
“Cal previously worked for EDS (Electronic Data Systems). He noticed that all of our formulas were mathematically logical and that they could be automated to save hours and hours when pricing jobs. I was intrigued by Mr. Baker’s knowledge and what he was going to do, and after he wrote the software, I told Roy I had to go to Dallas to look at what he created. Roy told me, ‘Whatever you have to spend to research anything that helps our owners and our company, spend it. If it’s going to help our owners, it’s going to help all of us.’
So, I went to Dallas and saw that the computer was made by Radio Shack. The original model was called a TRS 80 and it had 16K of memory. The program was stored on a regular cassette and at the time, this was a real game changer. After the trip to Dallas, myself and Dave Scadin enrolled in a programming course offered by Radio Shack and we learned basic programming to enhance and modify what we had.
We would never ask our owners to buy equipment such as a computer until we tested it. I contacted the Tandy Corporation in Fort Worth, Texas and convinced them to give us 10 computers as a trial, which we distributed to owners to test at 10 locations. We let the owners test it for 60 days and then they had to either give it back or buy the computer. 100% of the owners purchased the computer and none of us have ever looked back.
From that point forward, we continued to invest in software development uniquely written to our policies and production. This protected us from software companies going out of business and gave us long-term advantages that we still benefit from to this day.”
Emergence of Digital Printing
In the 1980s, digital printing first emerged and Minuteman Press was ready. Mike reflects, “Another key milestone for us was the advent of digital printing. The first Apple Mac computer that came with a printer was released in 1984. Digital printing technology emerged with desktop publishing thanks to companies like Apple, IBM, and HP. For our industry, this was great because we could create various different styles and designs on very economical equipment. It also replaced photo typesetting, which took a lot longer and was a very big investment.
He adds, “We quickly recognized that digital printing would evolve. In the beginning, we also recognized that the two technologies could coexist. Today, approximately 40 years later, that is absolutely what happened. The ability, production, and ease of use of the digital equipment has only made Minuteman Press an even better company. And partnering with our key suppliers Xerox, Konica-Minolta, and Hewlett-Packard has brought us improved productivity and profits.”
Reflecting on 50 Years of Minuteman Press
Mike shares some final thoughts as he looks back on 50 years of Minuteman Press and ahead towards the future:
“Minuteman Press today has evolved to be so much more than what it was when we first started. We have developed and refined systems, policies, procedures, and a company that has a long-standing culture of caring for our owners in 5 countries. And from a personal perspective, with the diversity of products and the need for those products, the opportunity for entrepreneurs is incredible. I personally feel honored to be able to experience the emergence of such a fantastic company, Minuteman Press International.”
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