Hall of Fame--Gillispie - A Survivor
"Probably, the consistently most valuable experiences came from consulting, where I had to learn to help individuals and groups find solutions to their problems, and then develop the plans and behaviors that would lead to their solutions," he points out. "More than anything, this seems to be the role of senior management today. We don't know what the problems are, and we probably aren't the best qualified to find the solutions. But we are accountable for getting problems defined and solved. This can be done only by leveraging the expertise of individuals and teams, which is a good consultant's stock in trade."
Gillispie speaks fondly of the industry's general high level of honesty and integrity. Similarly, he feels the men and women working in the printing plants are the industry's biggest asset and believes it places a high value on the well-being of its workers, more so than any manufacturing field.
Change in the Air
However, Gillispie feels it is imperative that the dynamics of selling and buying print be changed. He believes the industry may be reaching the limits of what can be done, by forcing printers to accept lower margins and returns through today's highly competitive pricing process.
"Yet, there is still tremendous cost in the system that could be reduced if printers and their customers could develop the kinds of partnerships we have seen emerge in other industries, where both customer and supplier work together for lower cost but mutually satisfactory profits," Gillispie explains. "When I entered this industry, customers were genuinely concerned about their suppliers' profitability and often would ask in our negotiations if we were making enough profit. They were eager to modify procedures or alter what they were doing to help us. I would like to see some of that return because I think we could do a better job for our customers if it did."