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NAPL's Howie Fenton talks consulting ROI with Cary Sherburne

Published on January 14, 2010

Interviewer:  Hi, Cary Sherburne and Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with industry icon, Howie Fenton, who is Senior Consultant at NAPL.  

Howie Fenton: Thank you, Cary.  It’s nice to be here.  

Interviewer:  So, especially in times like these, it seems like printing companies really need some outside help to really help them navigate through the waters; not economically so much because I mean, we’re going to have to struggle with that anyway, but how they – how do they make their operations more efficient?  How do they reduce costs?  What kind of new revenue streams can they bring in?  And I know that you do a lot of consulting with a lot of printers, probably you’d like to do more.  Can you give us some examples of real world examples of how you’ve been able to help some printing companies achieve these objectives?  

Howie Fenton: Sure, absolutely.  We’ve got a large team of consultants with NAPL and they specialize in different things.  For example, one of my oldest friends is Ray Prince.  He’s like, been around since dirt.  He’s –

Interviewer: Oh, poor Ray.  

Howie Fenton: He’s probably one of the greatest pressroom consultants that I know of and he’ll get assignments of working with companies and he’ll go from press to press within a company and help them reduce their make ready times and increase their productivity and work with them for years doing something like that.  

We’ve got another consultant, John Hyde, who specialized in merges and acquisitions and he’s very busy these days, of course, helping companies either position themselves to get acquired, or to find other companies that are looking to be acquired.  

I’m an operations guy.  I spend a lot of time helping companies implement new technology, perform cost benefit analysis.  Really, I think that the companies that are going to survive are the ones that are going to become more efficient and more profitable because that’s really the key to staying in business today.  

Interviewer: And sometimes it’s kind of hard to see the defects from inside, right, because you live with it every day and you just sort of say, oh, well that’s the way it is.  

Howie Fenton: That’s exactly right.  One of the things that we’re asked for most is – we’ve all grown up in this industry, we don’t know exactly if we’re doing things the right things, it’s our way, but we’re not exactly sure if it’s the right way.  Can you benchmark our performance against industry leaders?  And that’s really what NAPL stands for.  NAPL’s mission is really all about leader performance.  If you look at our research, we look at leader performance in our research, in our consultants, we all specialize in helping companies become leaders.  

Interviewer: So, for a reasonable investment, companies can really get – what’s an average ROI.  I mean, if you come in and you do a project with John – Well, John that would be a little bit different, but if it’s Ray, or if it’s you coming in and doing a normal average project, what would you say the ROI is?  

Howie Fenton: You know, I think a successful project, if we can help a company increase their productivity by something like 15% that will usually translate to an ROI of within six to nine months.  

Interviewer: That’s great.  So it’s worth the investment.   

Howie Fenton: Yeah.  Absolutely.  

Interviewer: Thank you.  

Howie Fenton: Thank you, Cary.  It’s nice to be here.

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