Kal-Blue designs a custom experience

STORY 269 MAGAZINE

A vision of excellence has enabled Kal-Blue to thrive since opening its doors in 1960, building a large and loyal customer base. Over the years, the print and technology specialist has evolved to meet the changing needs of both its customers and workforce at its Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids locations. “It is important to make sure you come up with ways to make everyone, especially a younger generation of workers, feel like they are part of a team,” says owner Kip Young.

That’s why each day, no matter how many orders need to be filled, every Kal-Blue employee gathers for a half-hour teambuilding meeting to share recent developments, exciting upcoming ventures, and daily goals. This ritual serves as a goal setting tool and a way to improve comradery by encouraging dialogue between groups of specialized workers that may otherwise have limited contact. No matter the department, everyone can share in the celebration of individual successes in a way that helps the team perform better together when they have to collaborate on complex projects.

“It’s a time where we can informally talk about what we did right and what we can improve; just to make sure everyone is on the same page and starts off the day on the right foot” adds Young. Over time, he has personally seen a marked difference in his company since first implementing this program. Beyond significantly boosting teamwork and morale, it has helped Kal-Blue improve an already impeccable standard of customer service as the daily meetings provide regular opportunities to focus on areas where team members can learn from the experiences of their colleagues.

And learn they must as there is no average day at Kal-Blue. The atmosphere is a place where the impossible is made possible customers. Young describes it as: “It’s never boring here; we’re dedicated, but still have fun. We print for big brands and new local projects every day—we never know what we will be working on next, but when something big is happening in the area, we are usually among the first to know. People come in asking the impossible and we make it happen for them,”

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