Distributors Set Their Sights on Profits
2002 emerges as a year for change and transition.
The past year has certainly become one that is ingrained in the minds of many. Marked by a softening economy and the tragic events of September 11, it is one that many are eager to put behind them. But during a time when losses seemed unavoidable, signs of growth and innovation have managed to emerge.
Distributors searching for the best solutions to offer clients with modern demands are beginning to move into new markets. With this transition comes the need to refine their efforts while also producing profits.
To illustrate the transition, BFL&S interviewed distributors who have found profitable product niches within the industry. We asked them how they've been able to develop and strengthen those niches, which include commercial printing, labels and tags, non-form products, direct mail, value-added services and promotional products.
A recent BFL&S survey of its Top 100 Distributors indicated a significant potential for sales in most of these product areas. One such area is commercial printing, which ranked second only to forms with $481 million in Top 100 Distributor sales. Pulling in $221 million, promotional products trailed in third, while labels and tags, other products, non-forms and direct mail fell suit with 9.5 percent, 7.3 percent, 7 percent and 4.9 percent of Top 100 Distributor sales respectively.
These numbers reflect a shift from traditional products. In fact, according to Printing Industries of America, it is expected that traditional products will account for less than half of distributor sales by as soon as 2003. This is due to the fact that many business forms printers have found opportunities in other segments to substitute for, or supplement, their traditional forms businesses. These printers have reduced their core business as a proportion of total sales by investing in other higher-growth markets.