Past, Present, Future
Almost one year ago, the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA) made a decision to shake things up in the name of revamping the 65-year-old organization.
The PSDA tossed out its long-standing business model and hired Chicago-based private firm SmithBucklin to take over operations in the hopes of better catering to members' needs and freshening up the organization. Many members voiced concerns about this move and questioned if or how it would improve the aging organization.
Despite a small loss in membership—approximately 5 percent to 10 percent— following the initial decision, PSDA Executive Vice President Matt Sanderson said the organization doesn't regret the decision. He said the move gave the organization and its members the boost it needs for the future.
"I would estimate that five to 10 percent of them were in wait and see mode," Sanderson said. "Some may have rejoined or delayed their decisions. We have been more focused on giving value to our members. The PSDA board believes the organizational management change from a year ago is already paying off for PSDA members."
When it comes to membership numbers, figures are a bit complicated. He noted in July 2010 there were 1,000 company members with 10,000 "active, engaged members" prior to the organization's SmithBucklin decision. Sanderson said the numbers "are similar to that now," but he did not provide exact figures.
"We have placed a greater emphasis on satisfying members' needs than on recruiting," he said. "Most new members this year have been through referrals from other members. We are developing programs that focus on re-recruiting."
The PSDA is more concerned with show attendance numbers. The organization held its 2011 Print Solutions Conference and Expo in Chicago in May. This was the first show hosted by the PSDA since it signed with SmithBucklin. The overall attendance at the show was approximately 1,000 distributors plus another 500 exhibitor personnel, Sanderson reported. The three-day conference also included more than 40 hours of educational programs.