Build Up in Down Time
In the period from 2000 to 2008, NAPL’s measure of industry sales showed that the group it defines as “leaders” enjoyed a cumulative growth in sales of 71.6 percent, compared to 8.2 percent for the rest of industry companies. The gap started to widen at the beginning of the 2001 to 2003 recession and greatly accelerated with the rebound.
PIA tracks “leaders” and “challengers” in terms of their profits. Davis said the association found that the challengers experienced three years of losses from 2002 to 2004 (-1.3, -0.7 and -0.7 percent, respectively), whereas the leaders continued to grow their sales at enviable rates—8.0, 8.4 and 8.7 percent. Those rates were down from the 10.5 percent increase in 2001.
So, how can a printing company come out of this economic downturn as a stronger competitor? Realistically, it just means doing the same things that a well-run organization does day in and day out—look for ways to become more productive and efficient, control costs and prove your value to clients. Here are a few quick suggestions to kick things off in the new year:
• Maximize personnel resources. Communicate regularly with employees to keep morale up, invest in training and encourage them to explore process improvements.
• Tackle projects that may have been put off in the crunch to get work out the door. It’s not uncommon for the full capabilities of an MIS software suite to go untapped, for example.
• Be a resource in helping clients make the most of their print budget and reinforce the value of print as a medium. Print in the Mix (www.printinthemix.rit.edu) is a clearinghouse of research on print media effectiveness.
• Make strategic investments, when possible, to improve production. Software has lower capital costs, and the industry is still lagging in its process automation efforts. PPR