My view is that it will primarily provide a resource for small commercial printers not wanting or willing to join a franchise. They obviously need help navigating the rough waters of this consolidating industry, and this segment of smaller shops seems to be at most risk. Naturally, I feel we are doing a good job of that in the franchise community and especially at Allegra Network. Shameless plug intended.
I don’t see NPOA having the resources to provide the typical services that trade associations should provide. The very modest dues NPOA is charging may make it easy and affordable for small shops to join. However, unless they get literally hundreds of members and are able to charge a lot for services rendered I don’t see how it will provide what the expectations will eventually become. Can volunteers effectively do the work that is typically done by association staffs? I am doubtful that can happen. I know and respect the capabilities of many of the founders of NPOA. I wish them well and hope they have either thought through these concerns or do so as time goes on. It looks to me like they need the strategic plan that NAPL admits they did not put in place after merging with NAQP. And, I hope they don’t give up on a potential reconciliation with NAPL.
Art Coley, president, AlphaGraphics, Inc.
The way we look at NPOA is the same as the way we would look at any association or membership group, and that is, what is the value proposition? The reason we are a member of NAQP and NAPL as well as other organizations is because of the value they provide—studies, reports, research. We recently joined the Direct Marketing Association and the reason we did so is because the value proposition made it worth it.
It’s not just a question of money or dues. The real value is what we put into it. Yes, we invest money, but also our most precious commodity, which is time. We need to know that we will receive value by attending the functions, participating in the studies, etc.
I agree with Carl Gerhardt that everyone in business needs to be part of some sort of network, whether that is an association or a franchise. But I also have to disagree with Carl—I believe that AlphaGraphics would be the best choice! Whatever you choose, you have to know what the value proposition is in order to make a wise choice. And we just don’t know yet what that will be for NPOA.
Michael Vogel, owner, Printplex USA and NPOA member
What NPOA's founding members all have in common—participation in the free sharing of knowledge and experience on the PrintOwners forum—speaks volumes about the spirit of the organization we envision. I have benefited from being among them, and look forward to a vital NPOA focused on helping guide us through our industry's challenging future.
Richard Lowe, President and Chief Operating Officer, Franchise Services, Inc.
I think this is a bit of a loaded issue; mainly because NPOA is moving ahead regardless of the thoughts of the leaders in this business community. So if I am not on board, it is a bit contrary to the group that is.
That being said, I do not believe we need a new association. I think it only serves to dilute the associations currently supporting the industry. The current associations have done the best they could in the face of change in our industry. They certainly could do more, but that could be said of almost any association.
I certainly do not blame this group for coming together to support the small commercial printing segment. I think it is well intentioned, but associations today need members, money, and clout to fight issues on behalf of the industry or segment that they support, and I think all of those will be hard to come by. I certainly wish NPOA no ill will, but I would rather see this group of people support the associations that are currently in place.
Scott Cappel, owner, Sorrento Mesa Printing and NPOA member
The smaller printer has always been a highly adaptable creature: first into desktop publishing, first into quickness, first into digital. The small business printer has known nothing but change over the last 20 years. Many were also connected to each other in a virtual community via the original social media, the email listserve far before we all knew the words “social media.”