Top 100: The best of 2006
Upon first examining this year’s Top 100 Suppliers’ sales numbers, the BFL&S staff discovered a $241 million decrease in overall sales compared with last year. This sent the team scrambling for answers. However, deeper analysis revealed a simple explanation.
As our readership may have noticed, in 2004 and 2005, Quality Park, Englewood, Colo., ranked number one and two respectively on the Top 100 Suppliers list with sales peaking at $430 million. This year, the Quality Park brand no longer appears on the list at all.
In years past, Quality Park consisted of six companies: DealerLabel, Discount Labels, Lancer Label, PrintXcel, Wisco and Quality Park Products. However, a discussion with Mike Vejar, senior vice president of sales and marketing, revealed the decision to separate Quality Park’s statistics into the individual companies while leaving Quality Park Products out of the reported data since it does not serve distributors. Nevertheless, these companies continue to be large players in the industry as this year’s Top 100 list proves. Thus, a simple twist in information reporting accounted for what appeared to be an estimated $200 million discrepancy.
Consequently, consistency is key and the printed products industry is holding steady with robust sales of $2.92 billion for the last fiscal year completed. The sales can be broken down to represent the various printed products sectors. Forms continue to dominate at $1.08 billion in sales (accounting for 37 percent of the industry); labels and tags came in at $477 million in sales (accounting for 16 percent of the industry); commercial print sales totaled $239 million in sales (accounting for eight percent of industry totals); direct mail generated $119 million in sales (accounting for four percent of industry sales); promotional products totaled $164 million (accounting for six percent of industry sales) and the “other” category –– which includes apparel, plastic products and envelopes –– totaled $747 million (accounting for 26 percent of industry sales).
Who are the winners and losers in the various printed products sectors? According to the raw numbers and despite leading the pack, forms took a hit, dropping from $1.18 billion to $1.08 billion this year –– a difference of $100 million. Tags and labels lost two percent of the industry share, down $86 million dollars in revenue. Direct mail reported sales last year of $142 million –– a loss of $23 million this fiscal year. The “other” category reported sales of $867 million the previous fiscal year –– a loss of $120 million in sales for this fiscal year. Commercial print sales reflected no marked changes. The strongest showing this year was the promotional products sector with an increase of $2 million in sales from last year.
But numbers are deceptive without critical thinking. Note, the sum of the sales in the categories (forms, labels and tags, commercial print,
direct mail, promotional products and “other”) does not equal $2.92 billion. This discrepancy relates to the categorization of information of the various companies in the list. Some companies did not provide numerical breakdowns in each category or only reported total sales. This resulted in seemingly large losses across the board that actually do not exist. When these unaccounted figures are factored into the equation, the total sales loss is consistent with the losses of the various categories.
Further, once the numbers are tallied and Quality Park Products sales of approximately $200 million are removed from the equation, the industry is left with only a difference of $41 million, which translates to slightly greater than a one percent decrease. This can be attributed to increased fuel and paper costs and does not indicate trouble ahead. Print lives.
Related story: Top Commercial Print Suppliers