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Redefined Printing Industry Demands Focus On Management Skills

Press release from the issuing company

NAPL VP and Chief Economist Andrew D. Paparozzi points out the challenges printers face as they reinvent their role from commodity suppliers to communications solutions providers. CHICAGO, June 20, 2002 – “We in the printing industry are positioning ourselves for a future that is different in many ways from our present and our past. Many describe printing as a mature industry.  On the contrary, printing is a growth industry that is preparing to expand its role in the overall communications process,” Andrew D. Paparozzi, vice president and chief economist of the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), said in an address to attendees of the annual GATF/NAPL Sheetfed Pressroom Conference in Chicago earlier this month.  The rapid changes in the way people and businesses communicate present printers with myriad opportunities to diversify beyond ink on paper, including Web-based and multimedia services, mailing and fulfillment, on-demand and variable printing and a host of other initiatives, explained Paparozzi.  He noted that there’s a difference between diversifying and diversifying profitably and cautioned that pursuing those opportunities profitably will not be easy.  “The expanded capabilities that printers must adopt to remain viable in today’s communications environment require substantial investments in personnel, technology, and equipment, as well as the skill sets to manage them effectively,” Paparozzi said.  “Leveraging these capabilities profitably calls for increased attention to productivity, superior management skills, including a mastery of financial management, long-range strategic planning, aggressive and targeted marketing, and, perhaps most importantly, human resources development at all levels of the printing organization.” Establishing the printer’s new role in the overall communications process also calls for a change in perspective on the part of printers’ customers, employees and sales forces.  “We have to convince our customers we can do more than put ink on paper.  We also have to work to expand the way our employees and our sales people look at the industry,” Paparozzi noted. “Integrating these new capabilities into our organizations and making a profit from them won’t be easy, but it’s something we have to do to survive.” Paparozzi cautioned that the biggest mistake printers could make in their enthusiasm to embrace new high-growth areas is to ignore their basic printing services.  “As we address how to pursue emerging opportunities, it’s vitally important that we also examine how to strengthen our core pressroom/lithographic capabilities,” he said.  A major part of that effort, he noted, is to continually measure and maximize pressroom productivity. Sponsored jointly by the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) and the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), the GATF/NAPL Sheetfed Pressroom Conference is known for providing in-depth information on the fundamentals of running a sheetfed pressroom and for putting those basics in a strategic context to help printers grow their businesses.  Next year’s Conference is scheduled for June 1-3, 2003, at the Marriott O’Hare, Chicago.

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