The National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) is actively assembling industry peer groups by means of its Peer Group Clearinghouse Company Profile. The new online submission process makes it easy for company executives and managers to indicate their interest in joining NAPL-facilitated peer groups, where they can share ideas, experiences, and best practices.
“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 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 unparalleled 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 their 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 be about eight-to-10 companies on average 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 peer groups generally meet quarterly, including conference calls and on-site visits. Meetings held at members’ plants allow the group to tour the facilities, experience the companies’ value propositions, and see how they are handling shared issues, and enable the host companies to get a view of their operations through the eyes of their group colleagues. Special-interest groups may opt to meet at airport hub hotels or other convenient facilities.