Keynote: How Printing Companies Can Grow Profitably in 2023
PRINTING United Alliance Chief Economist Andy Paparozzi led a panel discussion on how printing companies can grow profitably despite supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and a looming recession.
Paparozzi pointed out that although tough times are ahead and the economy will slow over the next 12 months and, most likely, into a recession, there will be opportunity. The mixture of a weakened economy and increasing costs will “redistribute market share,” according to Paparozzi. While some print companies may retreat and deny the situation, he said others can get on the right side of the redistribution and come “roaring out of the recession.”
Major advice included:
- Rely on data and monitor leading indicators more closely than usual.
- Optimize marketing and look at changing client behaviors.
- Prepare for the data age, and use data to reduce business risk.
- Rigorously assess opportunities and base choices on what best fits a company’s resources, capabilities, and goals.
- Build an employer brand through reputation and differentiation.
- Stress test your business so it can handle unexpected outcomes related to economic downturn. “If we don’t stress test, our banks will,” Paparozzi emphasized.
Rudy DeSousa, VP of sales at Pioneer Press; and Brian Adam, president of Olympus Group, shared insights on what shops need to do both internally and externally to ensure growth. One of the hot topics was employee retention.
Adam said all print companies have the same access to the same equipment, but what differentiates each one is the people. He told attendees not to let their superstars go. If pay or benefit cuts need to happen, don’t apply them to your best people.
Another aspect of employee retention is communication. Employees should know what’s happening in the business and have a space to offer opinions. DeSousa stressed the importance of having meaningful conversations with employees. Explain the “why,” not just the “how” of business operations and decisions.
“Give them confidence that your business will come out on the other end,” Adam advised.