Greater together: Building a fleet graphics powerhouse

4 August 2020By Turbo Images

Greater together: Building a fleet graphics powerhouse

Reflections on Turbo Images’ first-ever acquisition

By Pier Veilleux, President & CEO, Turbo Images

The first acquisition in our company’s 27-year history happened during a global pandemic – and we’d do it all over again.

Fleet graphics and large-format printing experts join forces in the face of COVID-19

One month ago, Turbo Images acquired our competitor, Lettrapub and its U.S. operation, Team Coach Imaging. We are both based in the Beauce, Quebec, region and we both have a long legacy of delivering high-quality fleet graphics products and services to customers across North America. We started talking about joining forces early in 2020, recognizing that we were both good but we could be even greater together.

Discussions were going well. Then COVID-19 hit.

We considered pausing, in anticipation of a tumultuous economic outlook across North America. If we had decided to halt talks, we wouldn’t have been alone: Toronto-based investment bank Crosbie & Co. has recently reported that Canadian M&A activity dropped by 25% quarter-over-quarter in Q2.

However, both Turbo Images and Lettrapub / Team Coach Imaging could see greater benefits than risks in moving forward. We had a vision: we believed that coming together would make us larger and stronger, which meant we would be more resilient and less vulnerable to changing market forces. That, we decided, would be better for our employees, our customers, our partners, our suppliers, and our community.

So, mid-pandemic, we forged ahead and came to an agreement. The deal closed in late June 2020, and I’m pleased to report that it has all gone smoothly. I credit our success to three strategic elements: (1) solid planning, (2) open communications, and (3) a strong and supportive team of partners around us.

Establish a sound operational plan at the outset and execute against it

With our vision firmly in mind, we prepared our plans carefully and meticulously. We established a directors’ committee which built an operational agenda that included all potential challenges and recommendations on how to overcome them. Each director had accountability for their own area of responsibility, and each was required to present to the group in our weekly meetings to ensure that all elements were coming together smoothly. It gave us the opportunity to share our thinking across the leadership team and tackle obstacles together, and it was fundamental to the success of our acquisition. We engaged Lettrapub’s owners in our planning, with the objective of moving together as one team as quickly as possible.

Share messages and answer questions so employees and customers are fully informed

A cornerstone of that plan was clear and transparent communications at the management, employee, and customer levels. First and foremost, we wanted all Turbo and Lettrapub / Team Coach Imaging employees to know that the acquisition was a result of their tremendous hard work. We announced the acquisition to staff in person at the Turbo Images and Lettrapub facilities, giving everyone an opportunity to ask questions, and in subsequent days we brought together both teams for a celebration. We’re fortunate to have amazing people on both the Turbo and Lettrapub / Team Coach Imaging teams. It’s their work that has made us leaders in fleet graphics and large-format graphics, and they all know that my door is always open if they want to know more about what this acquisition means for them or if they have other questions. I believe that honest, transparent communications are essential to building trust and I always want everyone on the team to know they are part of a family here at Turbo Images.

Throughout the acquisition, and beyond, we also focused on customer communications. Given our excitement about the deal, and what we knew would be tremendous advantages for our customers, we made sure we contacted them via email and on our social media channels. We also contacted each customer personally to answer questions and explain what would and wouldn’t be changing in their work with us. By coming together, Turbo Images and Lettrapub / Team Coach Imaging can offer our customers greater capacity and faster turnaround, along with the continued commitment to excellence that we are known for. Feedback from our customers so far has been overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to continuing to serve them as an expanded company.

Count on trusted partners to provide financial, legal advice along the way

Of course, we didn’t go into this acquisition completely alone. We had strong partners, particularly in our banking, finance, and legal teams, and we greatly valued their advice and guidance. We were fortunate to have longstanding advisors who had faith in our capabilities and were well-positioned to help and support us along the way.

Looking ahead to continued growth as a vehicle wraps and fleet graphics specialist

Turbo Images is going to keep growing. This will include organic growth, arising from our companies coming together. We are also open to further acquisition opportunities down the road, as we continue on our quest to become the leading North American expert in fleet graphics. Our customer-focused strategy includes award-winning design, world-class production, comprehensive installation, personalized attention by industry specialists, and systems to protect and maintain clients’ corporate images with stunning and creative vehicle wraps. Together, we now have the ability to invest more in our business. We are already adding $1.5 million in equipment and we have plans in the works for further expansion.

Undertaking an acquisition during a global pandemic is not without its risks and uncertainties. But, would we do anything differently? No. We empowered our leadership teams, focused on communications and ensuring that cultural integration was central to everything we did, and selected supportive strategic partners. As a result, we now have the experience and track record of a successful acquisition under our belts, and we are in a strong position to face the future.

My advice to others considering an acquisition during these difficult days: establish a vision, believe in it, and stay true to it, no matter what might come your way.

It’s working for Turbo Images and Lettrpub / Team Coach Imaging. We’re greater together.

Building a vehicle wraps powerhouse Turbo Images