The National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL, Booth 3649) has begun an initiative to help assemble industry peer groups, bringing printing company leaders together with industry colleagues of similar size and interest, with whom they can share ideas, experiences, and best practices. NAPL is implementing the plan by means of its new Peer Group Clearinghouse Company Profile, an online tool that makes it easy for company executives and managers to indicate their interest in joining NAPL-facilitated peer groups.
“Peer groups are a great resource, especially during a time of rapid change,” says NAPL President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D. “A peer group lets you make a connection with colleagues from around the country without worrying about revealing competitive information to someone in your market. These are people you can call on for advice and assistance at any time—in fact, many members say that their peer group colleagues are among their most trusted industry resources.”
Experience has shown that self-directed peer groups tend to start off strong and then fade over time; peer groups have the greatest chance of success and longevity when they are managed by independent third parties that can provide outside, consistent administration and group momentum. With its industry information and contacts throughout the North American printing community, NAPL can structure, monitor and facilitate peer groups that meet regularly, tackle real-world issues, and produce actionable outcomes for participants.
“Unlike a self-directed peer group, an NAPL-facilitated group enables each member to participate fully in the discussions without worrying about group logistics such as making transportation and meeting arrangements or setting agendas,” says Truncale.
“And NAPL brings tools, processes, and programs that can be deployed in the peer group atmosphere,” he adds. “Our Performance Indicators program, for example, is a great way for a peer group of CEOs and owners to compare key metrics in operations to each other, and then to similar groups of different demographics in the industry.”
CEO peer groups generally share key performance metrics, providing a context for discussions and bringing a confidential transparency to membership in a group that seeks to help each other grow and prosper. Based on the Clearinghouse profiles, NAPL is currently assembling peer groups for company owners and chief executives, as well as groups for financial, sales, marketing, human resources, and plant operations leaders.
“CEO/owner-operator peer groups will generally meet quarterly and be comprised of about eight to 10 companies so we can be sure the companies are not competitors,” says Truncale, “while special interest groups will typically be somewhat larger, since there is less of a competitive aspect involved. In either case, these are roll up your sleeves, get involved meetings, where everyone participates fully. And every meeting is facilitated by an NAPL business adviser who is fully versed in NAPL best practices and offers the groups access to NAPL business management tools, research studies, surveys, and other programs.”
Owner-operator group meetings are usually held at members’ plants, allowing the group to tour the facilities, see how they are handling shared issues, and enable the host companies to get a view of their operations through the eyes of their colleagues. Special interest groups may opt to meet at airport hub hotels or other convenient facilities.
For more information on NAPL’s Peer Group Clearinghouse, visit NAPL at Booth 3649, call 800-642-6275, or visit www.napl.org.