NAPL (National Association for Print Leadership)

New NAPL State of the Industry Report Shows Post-Recession Path Critical to Success

Tracking sales growth of NAPL Printing Business Panel members from 2000 to 2007, NAPL Research Center economists see variations from 50.1 percent sales growth to more than 20 percent sales loss, depending on the strategic path businesses followed. The results, which offer a cautionary lesson for printers now trying to deal with a fledgling recovery from the industry's deepest recession on record, were revealed in the newly released NAPL State of the Industry Report, Ninth Edition, sponsored by Heidelberg.

Report co-author NAPL senior vice president and chief economist Andrew Paparozzi will look at what the economy holds in store for graphic communications and the key questions every executive should be asking to successfully move business forward in his session, "2011—What's Ahead for the Industry?" at the new Vision 3 Summit leadership conference, March 13–16 at the Desert Springs J.W. Marriott Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, Calif.

The new State of the Industry Report follows four post-recession paths: Leaders' Path, taken by those who prepared for recovery and focused on creating value for clients; Industry Path, by those who used recovery to buy time to adjust or just ride with the economic times; Temporary Boost Path, by those who made no substantive changes, rebounding with the recovery initially, then regressing quickly; and Out of Time Path, by those who never repositioned themselves to respond to structural change and consequently struggled before, during, and after recession.

"The same four paths will play out as recovery from the record recession of 2008-2010 progresses," notes NAPL senior vice president and chief economist Andrew Paparozzi. "Companies will move from path to path, depending on who's best prepared for our industry's new era. No company—not even a Leader—is exempt. And no company is guaranteed even a modest share of recovery.

Preparing for recovery begins with asking the right questions about our business, cultivating organizational flexibility, recognizing that plenty of opportunity still exists—although not in the same old places or by doing the same old things; finding ways to become so valuable to our clients that it would be painful for them to leave us, and analyzing our environment; then planning and executing more effectively than our competition," he continues. "Build productivity, competitiveness, and value to our clients, and we will participate fully in the recovery. Expect recovery alone to make everything right and we get left behind."

The new report shows printers how to take the steps necessary to make the most of economic recovery, starting with a careful assessment of what's happening in the commercial printing industry and what lies ahead, examining the four post-recession paths in detail, providing a set of realistic sales expectations, reviewing the key lessons learned from the recession, and explaining how to develop the organizational flexibility and agility critical to future success.

The report is the flagship publication in NAPL's State of the Industry Series of comprehensive surveys, studies, and flash reports on current industry conditions and future trends. The State of the Industry Series is sponsored by Heidelberg. Each NAPL corporate member company receives a free copy of the 54-page State of the Industry Report as a benefit of membership.

The State of the Industry Report, Ninth Edition, is based, in part, on data supplied by more than 450 industry companies located across the United States and Canada, with sales from under $1 million to more than $300 million. Authored by Paparozzi, senior economist Joseph Vincenzino, and former research associate Kong Lue Wang, it also features dozens of comments from respondents obtained through a series of one-on-one interviews.

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