Big Lots Gets Big Overhaul
Still, the in-plant has not completely abandoned its old methods. Proofing is still done either from the press or directly from the copier. The staff delivers a proof directly to the end user or has the user come to the shop to inspect the preliminary product.
The Personal Touch
"We're a very large company, but in many respects we still act like a small business," Layman notes. "We have a lot of personal touches and we do a lot of in-depth customer service to help people get through their projects. We're able to know most of the people we're dealing with, and being able to put a face to a name helps to maintain that personal atmosphere."
The in-plant may offer the nicer amenities associated with smaller print shops, but it is difficult to ignore the girth of Big Lots' operations. With a warehouse of three million square feet, Layman must use a bright yellow golf cart to motor between her office and the print shop, which is roughly the equivalent of three blocks.
One of her responsibilities is the company's six-employee mail center, which encompasses inter-office material, weekly distribution of payroll, signage and other materials that go directly to the stores. Each Wednesday, her mailing department sends out, via Airborne Express, 1,500-plus boxes with payroll checks going out to more than 45,000 employees. Plus, all of the signage produced in the print shop is brought to the mail room to be laid out and deposited into mailbags for the weekly mailing.
Layman's tenure at Big Lots has been a rewarding one. Prior to arriving at the company, she had worked for a Blue Cross/Blue Shield health plan, quarterbacking its print shop, mail room and office services.
While she has experience in other work cultures, Layman feels Big Lots is in a category by itself in terms of fostering an atmosphere of unity and teamwork. The company recently held its annual "internal town hall" meeting for employees, a lighthearted and entertaining look at the company and its upcoming endeavors. Employees got an advanced screening of the company's latest television commercials featuring actor Jerry van Dyke.