Association Insights: Innovative Industry Outreach

From interactive online tools to one-on-one personal interactions and live broadcasts, innovative new programs from the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) are helping printing companies reach new levels of success today while working toward an even brighter future.

NAPL’s comprehensive WorkPlan for Success business development program, for example, puts into the hands of NAPL members a compendium of strategies, tactics, and tools for handling many industry business issues successfully, all in a user-friendly format.

WorkPlan for Success includes guidelines, step-by-step instructions, and interactive applications for implementing the most effective management policies in every area of a 21st century graphic communications company. The recently introduced Marketing section is the fourth component of WorkPlan now available, joining earlier Strategic Planning, Sales, and Financial Performance units. Operations and Human Resources/Leadership units will be added in coming months.

Built upon knowledge derived from NAPL’s Management Plus System, NAPL Research Center surveys and studies, and the frontline field experience of NAPL’s Business Advisory Team members, each section not only helps members learn what they can do to achieve greater profitability, but puts the tools for doing so in their hands.

The program comprises hundreds of pages of information and instruction accessible online whenever it is needed—worksheets, tables, and charts in template form so that users may adjust them to fit any company’s individual structure and requirements. Users may download an entire section or a PDF of any individual chapter. Each unit is updated regularly to add new approaches and ideas for dealing with evolving industry challenges and changing business conditions.

Although WorkPlan for Success has been designed as a do-it-yourself tool, NAPL is presenting a series of free webinars that will help members understand how to get the most from the program, demonstrate the importance of different business concepts, and walk them through some of the exercises or worksheets.

Live & Unscripted

Webinars of the informal and unscripted version are at the heart of another innovative outreach program, NAPL NewsTalk Live, where NAPL experts engage in a live—and lively—“roll-up-your-sleeves” exchange of ideas and opinions with leaders from throughout the industry. The inaugural broadcast in March featured Heidelberg USA president James Dunn and NAPL senior vice president and chief economist Andrew Paparozzi. The free podcast series, open to everyone in the industry, is moderated by NAPL senior consultant Howard Fenton.

A respite from the canned response webinars and static PowerPoint presentations, NAPL NewsTalk Live offers listeners “a free-wheeling informal exchange,” according to Fenton, who notes that each segment will “generate new insights and ideas” that will be “both entertaining and compelling listening.” The discussions also include responses to questions submitted in advance by program registrants.

The idea behind NewsTalk Live is to give participants the time and freedom to go far beyond buzzwords and brief responses, and open up with their own candid opinions about happenings in our industry. Notes NAPL chief marketing officer Cindy Woods, “It is sure to appeal to those in our industry who want to know what leaders think, understand the reasons behind today’s trends, and leverage that information to improve their own company’s performance.”

Training for Tomorrow

Leadership development is a critical business strategy for every company and for our industry, whose growth will be greatly dependent on the management strengths of those who will lead it in the years ahead. To help ensure a successful industry future, NAPL has created the NexGenLeaders program, a facilitated three-year program that trains companies’ leadership candidates for senior level executive and operational management decision making.

The NexGenLeaders program helps these future executives hone their management skills, teaches them proven strategies for maintaining a successful life/work balance, and offers opportunities for significant peer interaction and developing business building relationships with others of their own generation.

Each year of the program includes four day-long workshops, where participants receive real world business management training from industry-based instructors and experts with hands-on knowledge of the skills needed to run a successful 21st century graphic communications company. Topics include managing financial and manufacturing operations; identifying, hiring, and managing top performers; developing strategic business, sales, and organizational plans; and building management and leadership skills.

Three of the quarterly workshops will be intensive training at various sites around the country, while the fourth session will comprise an on-site facility tour, operational analysis, and best practices assessment at a leading industry company. The inaugural session was held in Atlanta, GA, in February; the next is being held this month at New York University in Manhattan.

Candidates for the NexGenLeaders program must be sponsored by an NAPL member company, be willing and able to make a three-year commitment to the program, and hold a position within the sponsoring company where they can apply the processes they learn. There are no age requirements, but candidates must have at least three years of industry experience, and have been identified by their sponsoring company as an up-and-coming executive in the industry. Fifteen companies have already enrolled leadership candidates in the first year of the NexGenLeaders program.


For information on any of these NAPL programs, please contact David Fox at 800-642-6275, ext. 6357. To learn more about the full range of NAPL membership programs and services, please call 800-642-6275 or visit Joseph P. Truncale is president and chief executive officer of NAPL. Reach him at 800-642-6275, ext. 6310 or