What Concerns You Most? Part II

By Andrew Paparozzi
In March 11, 2010

NAPL Stateof the Industry research extends far beyond checking boxes and circling letters to in-depth telephone interviews with industry owners and executives. The interviews put the numbers in context, telling us what they mean and don’t mean, and uncover what’s really on the minds of the people on the front line of our industry.

Two of the critical questions and responses covered in our current set of interviews:

Q:   How are you protecting yourself from commoditization?

A:   Overwhelmingly, State of the Industry participants are acutely aware of whether their services are being commoditized or not and what commoditization means for their business with respect to competition from within the printing industry. But only a few have embraced what NAPL has long emphasized and our industry leaders recognize: Competition is no longer limited to traditional competitors.

      The Internet and digitization are breaking down boundaries, letting everyone into everyone else’s business. Where the competition was the printer across town, it may now be the printer across the country, the printer across the world, or the non-printer who is offering electronic alternatives to print. Where we used to know the competition, we now have to anticipate the competition, because the next wave can come from anywhere. And because that
next wave may well have a completely different cost structure and value proposition from the traditional competitor, being
the low-cost provider among today’s competition is no guarantee of being the low-cost provider among tomorrow’s.

Q:   What else we should know about the state of the industry? 

A:   Consensus responses among our research group are cautious. Few expect the recovery to bring back the business lost in the recent recession any time soon. However, many are increasingly interested in acquiring new technology and potential merger deals. As NAPL has long stated, leaders take advantage of the recession to revaluate their business in order to provide more value to their clients and come out of the recession stronger and more profitable then when they went in.

What is on your mind about 2010 for your business, the industry, and the overall economy? Please post your thoughts at the comment section below.

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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