Semper Finds Pessimism Regarding Third-Quarter Sales in Latest ‘Industry Insight’ Survey

BOSTON—July 30, 2012—Semper International, the leading placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, announces that in spite of profitability throughout the industry, many companies have a negative outlook for the rest of the quarter. The results of Semper’s most recent “Industry Insight” survey show a negative outlook and indecision about hiring plans.

“The bad news coming out of Europe and Asia seems to be making waves here,” notes Dave Regan, CEO of Semper International. “The sentiment in the industry is difficult to read. The majority of companies reported a profitable second quarter, but sales have dropped over the last two weeks. We’re looking for the typical sales cycle, where we see a big bump at the end of the third quarter, but people aren’t counting on it this year.”

The most recent survey indicates mixed business trends:

• 75 percent of companies surveyed reported a profitable second quarter. This represents a six-point increase over last quarter.

• Looking at the first two weeks of third quarter, companies reporting an increase in current sales are down by 15 points. The number of companies reporting a decrease in sales is up 12 points over the previous quarter.

• 46 percent of companies expect sales to increase through the remainder of third quarter, while 40 percent expect sales to stay the same. In the second quarter, nearly 53 percent expected a sales increase and only 33 percent expected sales to stay the same.

• The greatest competitive threat to printers remains largely unchanged from last quarter. The current economy (52 percent) is the biggest threat, far exceeding lower cost competitors (18 percent) and emerging technology (10 percent).

• Just over half of companies reported that healthcare is the labor cost component that increased the fastest last quarter. Base pay, the next largest component, continues to increase steadily. Companies are taking steps to control costs, but healthcare has remained the fastest growing component of cost for the last nine quarters.

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  • Wake up people

    The biggest competitive threat is the industry itself and its lack of strategic thinking. Continued failure to innovate along with mediocre sales talent has shaped our industry into what it is today. Companies that continue to blame pricing pressures from print buyers need to revise their business model to eliminate commissioned sales reps and move to an inside sales person/CSR driven sales organization. Anyone can get specs and send them to an estimator.

    The opportunity is ripe for companies and leaders that realize the lack of good market competition all doing the same things and start focusing on what their customers really need help with. Here’s a hint…it surely isn’t putting ink on paper!