In May 2019, Joshua Bonham joined Sepire as its Chief Operating Officer, bringing with him more than a decade of experience in high-volume digital print and mail. As COO, Joshua is responsible for all of Sepire’s operations, including client services, pre-production, and manufacturing.

It’s also his responsibility to help identify and implement the right technology workflow stacks in coordination with Sepire’s Chief Technology Officer, Nathan Williams. When setting up Sepire’s technology workflow (from scratch!), Joshua and Nathan took a forward-thinking approach, considering the client experience all the way through the manufacturing experience. To date, they’ve installed nine different production lines between print, bindery, and finishing – with more to come.

Two primary factors drew Joshua to Sepire. First, he found that his vision and approach aligned with those of Chief Executive Officer Michelle Steinberg. They share the same fundamental belief that the best results come from customer-focused decisions and calculated investments. Second, he admires Sepire’s ability to make quick decisions and adapt to the marketplace, as well as the changing needs of customers.

With Sepire, Joshua maintains a long-term outlook – rather than focusing on the short-term bottom line.

The following Q&A provides a deeper dive into Joshua’s role with Sepire and his personal insight into the company.

How do you view your role as COO of Sepire?

“My role is to provide the tools, training, and support that our employees need to be successful. My job would not exist without them. We maintain an open-door policy, which is one of the first things I tell employees in an interview and often on their first day – that they’re welcome to come to my office for anything, at any time, and can talk to me. So that we’re on the same level and can have an open, honest communication channel.”

What gives Sepire a competitive advantage?

“Our partnerships. Ricoh is the premier commercial digital press provider. They have the fullest breadth of understanding of what an operating company needs to be successful. And then with Kern on the inserting side, we have a really high level of technology that’s difficult to match.”

What kind of impact does Sepire make on the lives of its clients?

“It’s our job to make it easier for our customers to do their jobs. We want to understand the struggles a customer goes through in order to produce the work they need to produce. By doing so, we can adapt our technology to better meet their administrative needs. That might be job portals, that might be the mock-up of a mail piece, or it could be a shopping cart workflow. But we want to understand what they’re trying to produce, what their end goal is, and what workflow that they need to adapt. Then we can best advise what technology to implement or what the best manufacturing methods are for the process.

That’s how we’re different. It points back to our mission questions, which really are about asking: ‘How might we help our customers communicate with their end customers and how might we help and be eco-responsible with their production pieces?’ Because direct mail does have a massive impact in the United States. There are substantially increased response rates, especially if you do an omni-channel campaign. It’s not something that’s going away – the hard piece of paper. It’s still making an impact on people’s daily lives.”

What was Sepire’s decision-making around obtaining its certifications?

“The reason for being SOC 2 (Service Organization Control 2) certified is to be able to prove to our customers in an auditable way that we operate in a very secure manner. Whether that’s how we handle their data in the cloud, how we handle it on our manufacturing hardware, or how employees are trained to handle physical, printed pieces that contain Public Health Information or Personally Identifiable Information. So SOC 2 provides that auditable proof that we’re really doing what we say we’re doing.

Our SOC 2 certification has a HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance) mapping, so we’re required to be HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act) compliant because we handle PHI. HIPAA compliance is required to be able to handle the type of data that we do. And that’s through our front-end technology all the way out to the manufacturing floor.

We also obtained the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, because we need to be able to produce FSC certified jobs for our customers. But it goes along the lines with how we want to operate as a company. Locally, our presses don’t have Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – they’re almost emission-free. We are not required to have an air permit locally, because we don’t have any toxic VOCs. A lot of companies do because of the equipment that they selected to install. So, we’re environmentally mindful from what we do in the building, LED lights, to the person that we select on the floor, to our recycling practices. We recycle all of our wastepaper, whether that’s through a secure vendor or unsecured paper.

We’re also G7-certified, which just proves we are experts in printing as well.”

What other certifications is Sepire looking into? 

We’re in the process of becoming a Certified B Corporation, which provides an additional social level of accountability for how we treat our employees and how we treat our community at large. Because a business shouldn’t be in business just to make money, it should be in business to make the community better.”

What do you like to do outside of work?

“Chicago has a massive number of breweries and distilleries, so those are always fun to visit. Also checking out new restaurants, the different food types from around the world. I checked out a Peruvian restaurant last week, that was awesome. A Thai restaurant the week before – and my favorite Chinese restaurant.”