As Print 09 was wrapping up, Michael Makin, President & CEO at Printing Industries of America sent out a memo to members about a consolidation proposal it had made to NAPL:

Recently, with the full blessing of the national board of directors of Printing Industries of America, Chairman Ken Kaufman formally extended an olive branch to NAPL to consider consolidation discussions. I regret to report that NAPL has rejected this offer. While open to potential “collaborative projects” with Printing Industries of America and other trade associations, NAPL has indicated it would like to maintain its independence and autonomy, focusing on a business model centered around its consulting practice.

You can read the entire statement at WhatTheyThink's Printing Office blog.

The NAPL statement issued to WhatTheyThink was:

As we indicated in our earlier statement on this subject last spring, NAPL continues to favor deeper, more substantive discussion with our industry partners to better identify and understand the changing needs of our industry and how we can address these needs collectively and cooperatively while deploying our resources in the most responsible way. These discussions will pave the way for a number of options and will likely lead to a productive outcome for all stakeholders.

Dr Joe contends there is no need for a merger, that competition create innovative services and printers should support the organization that serves their interests best:

It’s amazing that no one has suggested that the two associations compete for the printer’s association dollars. If they offer similar services, then printers can decide which one of the associations they want to support. Why merge and create a whole new range of costs and the problems of inefficiencies of a transition? If the associations are not differentiate and offer similar services, then shame on them for a lack of creativity and differentiation. Why not instead suggest that one of them close up shop for the good of the industry? Why not suggest that one of them create a leap forward in innovative services instead? The merger thing is quite a crutch and no printer would recommend it for their own business unless they wanted to cash out their ownership. Merger would not do anything to create new, differentiated innovative services for printers. Let them fight for our industry’s dollars instead.

Many others think funding duplicate services is a waste of money. Today Frank Romano shares this opinion in his column today:

With one strong industry association, we could move the printing business ahead. We could cut duplication of effort and provide the tools that printers need to prosper in the new world of printing. We will need new thinking and new ideas and new people. We need to re-invent our printing industry trade associations.

You should read the rest here: NAPL and PIA--and the state of American trade associations.

Frank's suggestions for NAPL and PIA (and affiliates) members:

1. Deduct 15 percent from your affiliate or NAPL dues. Send them a message that waste is not an option.
2. Tell the board members from your state or region to either get on the ball or go away.
3. Tell the suppliers that their money is supporting an old paradigm and you want a discount on their products because that money is increasing the cost of equipment or software or supplies. Ask for a 40 percent discount!
4. Tell the entrenched management at all associations that their political games do not matter any more.

Something has to change. It doesn't have to be a merger. There needs to be more cooperation between the two. What do you think?