When Disctronics Texas, Inc. was founded in 1989 audiocassettes were outselling vinyl records, VCRs were just coming into their own, electronic games were simplistic cartoons, and the prediction that every household would eventually have a PC was met with skepticism. In retrospect, it would appear that back then only a few could foresee the electronics explosion of the 1990s. Disctronics was among them.Today, consumers’ electronics baskets are filled with CDs, CD-ROMs, DVDs and sophisticated computer games. And, more and more, they are using the products manufactured by Disctronics.
As the U.S. arm of an international organization headquartered in the United Kingdom, Disctronics Texas, Inc. is part of a business that ranks among the top 10 independent replicators. The Disctronics geographic network encompasses Southwater, West Sussex, U.K.; Albi, France, and Milan, Italy. Together, these plants have the capacity to produce 1.4 million CDs and 120,000 DVDs a day. The Lone Star State operation’s share of that daily potential is 240,000 CDs and 30,000 DVDs.
The Disctronics international organization has emerged as a major player in the replication business over the past five years by recording sales growth of more than 200 perent, with a proportional percentage of that growth in the U.S. operation.
Disctronics’ comprehensive product offering includes: CD-Audio, CD-ROM, DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-Audio, vinyl records and audiocassettes. Label printing and packaging is provided on CD and DVD packages. In addition to providing 24-hour customer service that is rated No. 1 in customer surveys, Disctronics offers worldwide fulfillment and e-commerce, Internet ordering and tracking.
Says Miguel Xavior, acting president of Disctronics Texas, “Disctronics Texas offers CD and DVD replication, printing, packing and fulfillment in our plant near Dallas. We meet the highest quality standards in the industry. We provide CDs and DVDs to all types of businesses.”Thomas Groshans, sales manager, expands on the service description. “We are a true turnkey operation. We do not author, but we offer everything else – CD and DVD premastering, mastering, replication, four-color printing, packing and fulfillment.”
Located in Plano, the 107,500-square-foot Texas facility houses highly automated equipment that replicates, labels, inserts and packages CDs and DVDs. Employees number 150, with 120 of them involved in manufacturing. Groshans notes that plans for the Plano factory include imminent installation of the latest in replication technology, five-color printing processes and more efficient insertion and packaging equipment. In the international market, Disctronics UK offers CD and DVD mastering, printing and packing; Disctronics France provides CD replication, printing and packing; Disctronics Italy does CD mastering and replication, as well as vinyl and audiocassette mastering and replication.All Disctronics plants are ISO 9002 accredited to guarantee the highest standards in a fast and secure environment. As part of the process, the latest measurement equipment for CD and DVD is used to ensure that industry standards are met. Additionally, environmental tests are conducted to ensure that CDs and DVDs will remain within specification in normal use.
As a technological leader in the replication industry, Disctronics has dedicated significant resources to addressing the problem of content piracy. This crime involves replication of copyrighted material without obtaining permission or paying royalties to the owner of the material. One result of Disctronics’ effort is software known as DARCC – Disctronics Anti-Piracy Replication Control Check.
“We are at the forefront on this issue,” says Groshans of DARCC. “Ours was one of the first plants to gain IRMA (International Recording Media Association) accreditation in its Anti-Piracy Compliance Program. Our software scans the file for licensing requirements of any kind. It also cross-references to the licensing file to see if the customer has already obtained the license.”
The IRMA program, which requires that a replication company have verifiable confirmation of the right to reproduce material when a customer is not the content owner, is an industry-wide initiative. Following the Texas success, Disctronics UK became the first plant in Europe to be IRMA accredited, and all of the company’s plants are now accredited. Extending its anti-piracy program, Disctronics has made DARCC 1.0 available in single-user version for a three-month trial period to IRMA-certified replicators.
The Next Generation
When discussing Disctronics’ future, Groshans sees Disctronics as tied in, partly, to the growth of the DVD market. “The DVD market has grown so rapidly. It is the fastest-growing format and the next-generation platform for electronic information. Industry studies have shown that, since its introduction, DVD equipment use has grown faster than CD, VCR or even television. And though the audio is not fully developed yet, it will be. It’s still in its infancy.”
The company’s attention to DVD technical excellence and quality already has won it the status of “approved DVD replicator” by Panasonic and Warner. As one more step into this growing market, Disctronics UK purchased the Universal Music International (UMI) manufacturing facility in Blackburn, UK, in order to increase DVD replication capacity while also augmenting CD replication capabilities making Disctronics the third largest CD and DVD replicator in Europe.
Groshans refers to Disctronics’ tag line – “In a Different League” – when he describes the organization’s long-range plans. “We have plans for continued growth and expansion in our industry not as a follower, but as a leader at the forefront of technology. This company is open to innovation. We go beyond our customers’ expectations. We’re passionate about quality and nothing bogus ever comes out of our factories. We have a commitment to our customers’ needs and helping them meet their goals. And we keep our promises.” Sounds like Disctronics is on the right track.