Combined Conferences Focus on ‘Change’

ORLANDO, FL—Industry change brought about by the growth of the Internet, consolidation, global competition and outsourcing were key discussion points at the NAPL Top Management Conference and NAQP Annual Conference held last month at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes Hotel.

And even the event itself exemplified change—marking the first time the two industry conferences were conducted as one overall meeting with several combined breakout sessions, keynote addresses and social activities.

Andy Paparozzi, NAPL vice president and chief economist, kicked off the NAPL portion of the meeting with highlights from the 2006 “NAPL State of the Industry Report.” Always a crowd pleaser with his keen insight and presentation style, Paparozzi stressed the need for printers to develop more compelling value propositions to get, and then keep, clients.

He also discussed the relationship between printing and the overall U.S. economy, expressing concerns about GDP growth in the second half of the year. “Every one percentage-point reduction in GDP growth cuts our revenues about $1.1 billion,” Paparozzi noted.

Just as relevant was a “Think Globally, Act Locally” panel discussion focused on foreign competition, especially coming from printers in China. Tips on competing with offshore printers included focusing more on time-sensitive products; offering digital printing with personalization; providing value-added warehousing, mailing and fulfillment functions; increasing plant automation to lower labor costs; and even considering a hybrid onshore/offshore model where you still “own” the customer, but increase your price competitiveness and service offerings by partnering with a foreign producer on some projects.

The NAPL conference also served as a platform to recognize industry companies and individuals for their managerial, operational and technical achievement. Joan Davidson, president and COO of The Sheridan Press, received the William K. Marrinan Management Plus Hall of Fame Award. Harrie F. Lewis, 89, was honored with the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Technical Leadership Award was bestowed upon EFI’s Marc Olin and this year’s NAPL Industry Award went to Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group.

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