Regroup, Retool, Rebuild
Considering the days when business success could be sustained with a mimeograph machine and a good calculator, it’s obvious industry professionals have been broadening their horizons and expanding product lines for quite some time to serve customers. What’s newsworthy, as this year’s State of the Industry report bears out, is the amazing diversity and creativity with which today’s manufacturers and distributors are going about business. Naturally, profound market shifts also impact the national association representing the independent supply channel.
The Oct. 2007 decision to rebrand DMIA—the appellation introduced in 1996 when document management challenges dominated—as psda (Print Services Distribution Association) reaffirms the power of print in all its varied forms, and the importance of myriad services and distribution efficiencies in supporting printing needs.
“The key word is print—we represent the entire print industry from an independent distributor channel model,” stated psda president Bob O’Connell. “The distributor name is being redefined every day. Over the last 10 to 20 years, the industry has gone in a consultative direction—how to design something so it’s economically fit to print, distribution methods, best direct-mail practices, postal-discount issues, database management ... all these things [have] become very important.”
O’Connell made reference to a recent survey indicating approximately 45 percent of distributors’ sales are now generated by commercial printing. “Most [psda] members have gotten into commercial or color print,” he continued. “We use the term loosely in our industry, but I define commercial printing as anything [featuring] color print, including letterhead, stationery, brochures, flyers, direct mail and all types of digital print.”
O’Connell said the organization’s shifting focus brings with it a commitment to revamp educational offerings to cover the broad base of print, and even the spring technology meeting has been restructured as a spring technology conference. “We definitely see the need to help distributors with the educational side of commercial print; more [like] the mechanics of it all,” he observed. “There is no better training than touring a plant and seeing it all happen, but there is a certain amount of technical training, due to the color involved, which I think everyone needs.”