This year marks Outlook Group’s 40th anniversary. Throughout the summer, we will be announcing reasons to celebrate. Be sure to check out our social media and blog for more updates! To kick things off, we are taking a look back over the years that made us who we are today.
Founded on an innovative idea
Outlook was founded in 1977 by a group of investors who saw a need in the Fox Valley for a company that could handle direct mail projects for Banta Corporation. One of the investors owned a small print shop that became a part of the new company, which was named Mailing and Printing Services, Inc. (MPS). From our roots in the printing industry – a core competency that continues today – MPS built a portfolio of services designed to handle client projects from start to finish.
MPS quickly outgrew its original location. In 1980, A search for a new site resulted in the purchase of approximately 14 acres of land located at 1180 American Drive in Neenah, WI. The original building that was constructed was 30,000 square feet. Since then, it has been expanded five times. Today, the facility totals over 345,000 square feet. This facility includes the Outlook Group headquarters, office, production and warehouse facilities.
1980’s – Success in the premiums market
Throughout the early 1980’s, we printed cards for the popular Trivial Pursuit® games. The cards were wrapped then inserted into cereal boxes with coupons and premiums. In 1989, we began to work for major card manufacturers including Fleer, Tops, Skybox and others, which allowed us to expand our card-converting capabilities into sports trading cards. Also in 1989, we expanded our capabilities with the purchase of Olympic Label.
A major milestone for Outlook Graphics was its April 24, 1991 initial public offering of 1,561,372 shares of common stock at $11.50 per share. The offering raised $16.2 million, which was used to reduce debt, expand manufacturing facilities and purchase new equipment.
1990’s – Expansion to additional capabilities
In the 1990s, we added paper sheeting, UV coating, die-cutting, foil stamping and embossing capabilities, along with new presses and collating equipment. During the period from 1997 to 2004, additional acquisitions expanded our capabilities in flexible packaging, paper sheeting, commercial printing, pressure sensitive labels and tags, and direct mail.
2000’s – Printing industry challenges spur a new direction
Challenging times for the printing industry beginning in 2000 led to a new growth strategy for our company. Management determined that to be successful in a highly competitive marketplace, we needed to put less emphasis on individual projects and instead focus on leveraging our broad range of services into providing complete supply chain management services for clients.
Always seeking the newest technology, we purchased our first robotic system in 2005, which was used in the production of a popular consumer product. Also in 2005, “digital” became the latest advancement in printing technology and we were the first company in the Fox Valley to purchase a four-color digital press with coating capabilities.
In March 2006, we announced an agreement to be acquired by a private investment group that planned to support our growth strategies. We saw the need to consolidate operations in order to take advantage of these synergies.
2010 – Consolidation for operational efficiencies
In 2010, we consolidated our Flexible Packaging and Label facilities and moved them to the American Drive Facility in Neenah, WI. This move brought additional operational efficiencies and helped support the growing contract packaging segment of our business. We also expanded to another facility on Martin Drive in Neenah to keep pace with additional contract manufacturing business.
2016 – Merger with M&Q Packaging
M&Q Packaging merged with us under M&Q Holdings in 2016. We continue to operate unchanged from our current organization as a wholly owned subsidiary. Our plants and warehouse locations in Wisconsin were ideal to compliment M&Q Packaging’s Pennsylvania location. M&Q Packaging is a North American leader in high specification films, flexible packaging and bags.
We continue to be a leading printer of pressure sensitive labels, flexible packaging and folding cartons––as well as a vertically integrated contract packaging service provider.
A Bright Outlook on the future
As Outlook Group looks toward the future, we are well positioned to provide packaging and printing solutions to our customers. The unique combination of packaging technologies allows us to continue to create innovative packaging solutions that make it easy to do business with us. We are a customer focused organization that supports our customers’ diverse packaging needs. With a strong foundation, high-quality services, industry-leading clients, dedicated managers, and talented associates, Outlook Group is positioned for continued long-term growth and success as a leading Wisconsin based company.
Thanks for helping us celebrate Outlook Group’s 40th anniversary!