From the spark of an idea, Outlook has grown to provide printing, packaging and direct mail services for some of the largest companies in the world. Headquartered in Neenah, WI, Outlook Group today has approximately 300 associates who together produce over $60 million in products and services in 400,000+ square feet to clients across the globe.
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 its roots in the printing industry, a core competency that continues today, Outlook built a portfolio of services designed to handle client projects from start to finish.
MPS quickly outgrew its original location. A search for a new site resulted in the purchase in 1980 of approximately 14 acres of land located at 1180 American Drive in Neenah, WI. The building that was built at this location started at 30,000 square feet. Since then, it has been expanded five times and today totals over 345,000 square feet, including Outlook’s headquarters, office, production and warehouse facilities.
Outlook Group’s early success was in the premiums market. Throughout the early 1980’s, Outlook Group printed cards for the popular Trivial Pursuit® games and wrapped and inserted coupons and premiums into cereal boxes. In 1989, Outlook Group expanded the card-converting capabilities into sports trading cards working for major card manufacturers including Fleer, Tops, Skybox and others. Also in 1989, Outlook Group expanded its capabilities with the purchase of Olympic Label.
Outlook Goes Public
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 the company’s manufacturing facilities and purchase new equipment.
In the 1990s, the company 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 the company’s capabilities in flexible packaging, paper sheeting, commercial printing, pressure sensitive labels and tags, and direct mail.
Challenging times for the printing industry beginning in 2000 led to a new growth strategy for Outlook Group. Management determined that to be successful in a highly competitive marketplace, the company needed to put less emphasis on individual projects, and instead focus on leveraging its broad range of services into providing complete supply chain management services for clients.
Always seeking the newest technology, in fiscal 2005 Outlook purchased its first robotic system which was used in the production of a popular consumer product. Also in 2005, “digital” became the latest advancement in printing technology and Outlook was the first company in the Fox Valley to purchase a four-color digital press with coating capabilities.
In March 2006, Outlook announced an agreement to be acquired by a private investment group that planned to continue to support the company’s growth strategies. Outlook Group saw the need to consolidate operations to better take advantage of these synergies.
In 2010, Outlook Group consolidated its Flexible Packaging facility and its Label facility in Neenah, WI, to the American Drive Facility. This move brought additional operational efficiencies and helped support the growing contract packaging segment of Outlook Group’s business. Outlook also expanded to another facility on Martin Drive in Neenah to keep pace with additional contract manufacturing business.
Outlook Group merged with M&Q Packaging under M&Q Holdings. Outlook Group continued to operate unchanged from its current organization as a wholly owned subsidiary. Outlook’s 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.
Outlook Group continued to be a leading printer of pressure sensitive labels, flexible packaging and folding cartons––as well as a vertically integrated contract packaging service provider.
As Outlook Group looks toward the future, it is well positioned to provide packaging and printing solutions to its customers. The unique combination of packaging technologies will allow Outlook Group to create innovative packaging solutions that make it easy to do business with Outlook Group. Outlook Group is recognized as a customer focused organization that supports our customers’ diverse packaging needs. With its 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.