Some Love, Some Hate PIA, NAPL Merger Idea —Michelson

Likewise, there has been much consolidation on the printer side with the likes of Consolidated Graphics, RR Donnelley and Cenveo, to name just a few, acquiring other companies. This has shrunk the pool of potential company memberships and attendees.

Third, the profits from the GRAPH EXPO exhibition and this year, PRINT, are shrinking, with no prognosis for any significant turnaround. Show revenues, which are split evenly between the PIA, NAPL and NPES, provide a major source of the overall operating budgets for those organizations. As a result, both PIA and NAPL have had 
to cut back their staffing levels. Unlike Wall Street, there is no government bailout in their future. So, in the end, the market may end up eventually determining their fates.

Finally, and perhaps most disconcerting of all, is that—in an industry yearning for ways printers can reinvent themselves to keep print part of the modern media mix and create new value-added services—the majority of printers don’t belong to either association. 
The PIA claims that there are 36,000+ printing establishments; NAPL has nearly 3,000 members and PIA has roughly 10,000 members through its 27 affiliate chapters. That means almost two-thirds of printers don’t value membership in either group. The value proposition that a vibrant association provides, including legislative lobbying, industry standards and research, expert consulting, group insurance, economic forecasting and more, is critical to our future. Piecing together the most viable components from PIA and NAPL, and developing what’s still missing to attract more industry involvement, would show that 1+1 can = 3.

Mark T. Michelson

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