9 October 2013
Fastsigns growing beyond its namesake
BURLINGTON, ON—Fastsigns is continuing to push beyond the sign market, made evident by changes at a unit in Burlington, Ont., which is the franchise's top revenue producer in Canada.

"We are moving from being a sign manufacturer to more of a full-service marketing services company, a place where a business can get all of its marketing materials," said Diane Henderson, president of Burlington's Fastsigns location, in a release.


Left to right: Fastsigns Burlington table operator Eddie Scraparlis with president Diane Henderson

To expand its offerings, locations have had to adopt new technology. The Burlington facility installed a Kongsberg XN24 cutting table last December to handle a wider range of substrates, including corrugated, folding carton, wood and a variety of plastics.

"Prior to the Kongsberg XN24 table, we used a router that wasn't able to cut through all the materials we can now," said Henderson, adding that the device's quick-change tool heads has cut down the 20 minutes it used to take to switch tools.

To illustrate how the business has expanded as a result, Henderson notes a recent client, a marketing service company, that previously sourced Fastsigns to produce signs for consumer product demo kits. Before, the Burlington franchise made the signs but other vendors printed the box and built the kit. Now it completes the whole project in-house.

Pushing beyond signs has been a core mandate of chief executive officer Catherine Monson since she was appointed in 2009, spurred by sales declines during the recession and what she saw as a lack of communication between corporate heads and franchise partners.

Last year, Monson appeared on an episode of reality show Undercover Boss, an experience she credits with showing her areas where the company could improve.

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