Not Just Another Benchmarking Program

By Andrew Paparozzi
In May 11, 2015

Tomorrow Epicomm will unveil Leading Indicators for Print, Mail, Fulfillment, and Marketing Services, an important financial benchmarking program sponsored by Konica Minolta. Participation is open to Epicomm members and nonmembers. There is no charge to participate.

Leading Indicators has two goals. The first is to help participants anticipate trends in their vital financial metrics because our industry is changing so rapidly that if we don’t anticipate trends we’ll always be playing catch-up. And no survives very long anymore by constantly playing catch-up.

The second is to encourage participants to continuously challenge themselves. Too often we benchmark only to confirm our current standing. If we’re happy with it, we conclude that we can just keep doing what we’ve been doing. There was a time when that was true. That time has long past.

So how does the program work? Here are the main features:

  • Every participant completes a detailed company profile. The profile tells us exactly who is participating and supports benchmarking against comparable companies, such as providers of mailing services in a particular region or printing companies of a particular size.
  • All data are submitted and all results accessed at the secure Leading Indicators website. No one ever sees a company’s data—or would even know that they participate—except the person submitting the data, anyone else the company designates as a Leading Indicator contact, and me, as program administrator.
  • Participants submit basic financial and employment data each month, from which Leading Indicators instantly calculates 13 vital metrics, including sales growth, payroll as a percent of sales, gross margin, EBITDA as a percent of sales, days of receivables outstanding, and sales per employee. Data entry takes less than five minutes.
  • Results include averages of the 13 vital metrics for both the full group and for top performers (top 20%). Participants who are Epicomm members can also break results out by company type, size, and other relevant criteria. Non-participants do not have access to Leading Indicators results.
  • All participants have the option of joining the private Leading Indicators Community, where they can discuss the program, post questions and comments, etc. The community reinforces that Leading Indicators is an ongoing process of learning, challenging, and improving, not the occasional check of “where we stand.”

To view a sample survey and participant profile or to apply to participate, visit research.epicomm.org. Questions, comments, or suggestions? Just let me know.

Andrew Paparozzi

Epicomm's Andrew Paparozzi, Vice President/Chief Economist, is well-known for his accurate and thoughtful discussions on the economy and US commercial printing industry. A foremost author and speaker on economic business trends in the printing industry, Paparozzi heads Epicomm's Printing Economic Research Center.

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