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MFSA/NAPL Conference — Survey Results Are Fulfilling

June 2007 By Clint Bolte
Results of the 2007 NAPL Fulfillment Practices Survey provided a valuable reflection of today’s Mailing and Fulfillment (M&F) market. Survey results suggest there are two views to the M&F story—one that reflects the efforts and actions of larger, more successful firms and another that provides a snapshot of the fulfillment industry as a whole.

The practices and expectations of larger firms are a valuable reflection of this dynamic and evolving value-added service, both from the view of printers wanting to get into and improve their fulfillment offering, as well as the fulfillment buyers who want to compare their own service provider.

Thumbnail summaries like this highlighted the third annual joint Fulfillment Conference, sponsored by the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA) and NAPL (National Association for Printing Leadership). The event drew 161 paid registrants to Louisville, KY, from April 25 to 28.

The 2007 featured keynote speaker Tim Fischer, NAPL’s executive vice president, presented the results of the survey, which included 31 M&F specialists and 44 commercial and niche printers, a 20 percent increase in participants vs. last year. The 2007 survey was compiled by NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center, headed by NAPL Chief Economist Andrew Paparozzi. A summary of the survey is expected to be published this summer.

(Note: Conclusions cited in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those provided by the NAPL survey.)

M&F Revenues Rising

M&F specialists with less than $10 million in sales, and whose sales in mailing and fulfillment were 75.7 percent of total revenues, comprised 92.8 percent of the participants. On the other hand, 62.5 percent of the printer participants had total sales exceeding $10 million, with mailing and fulfillment revenues accounting for 15.9 percent of their total. On a direct comparison, M&F folks averaged fulfillment revenues of $2.1 million vs. printers with $1.5 million, and $2.6 million vs. $1.7 million of mailing value-add. This would suggest a comparable economy of scale in these two value-add segments.

A significant divergence comes in as the fulfillment client profiles are analyzed. M&F specialists average 25 fulfillment clients, while printers are double that number. This means that the average client revenue of the former is $85,800 vs. $31,100 for printers. This economy of scale difference is significant and surely drives higher relative administrative costs, which tend to be fixed, for printers. Both groups have solid dependence on their top five clients, with the averages being around 75 percent.
 

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