Q&A with Joe Truncale: The NAPL’s Game Plan
IN AN era of consolidation, including among associations, some observers have called for a merger between Printing Industries of America (PIA) and the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL). Michael Makin, president and CEO of the PIA, went as far as to extend an invitation to the NAPL to consider conducting merger negotiations.
Joe Truncale, Makin’s counterpart at NAPL, declined the invitation.
Should PIA and its membership feel slighted? Not necessarily. According to NAPL’s president and CEO, the association is moving in new and exciting directions with its consultative approach, not the least of which has been its M&A Advisory Service. Truncale also didn’t rule out the possibility of collaborating with PIA on future projects. For now, however, the NAPL is loathe to stray from its carefully mapped out game plan.
Senior Editor Erik Cagle spoke with Truncale to get a handle on what the NAPL is thinking as it formulates an evolving value proposition for its membership.
PI: How have the needs of membership companies changed in the past 18 months?
JOE TRUNCALE: NAPL members continue to seek advice and guidance on managing their operations, now more than ever. We are seeing an increased need for more customized solutions instead of “one-size-fits-all” programming. We will be announcing the rollout of NAPL’s Customized Consulting Program (this fall).
PI: What was the genesis behind the recent consultative tact taken by NAPL?
TRUNCALE: We believe that our content and programming are on target and focused on helping entrepreneurial leaders manage their businesses more effectively.
As a vital part of NAPL’s array of services, our consulting practice gives NAPL members access to a collaborative brain trust that is unique in our industry. We believe that our consulting team allows us to engage with our member-clients in a personal, deeper and more substantive way depending on their particular needs, goals and, of course, budgets.
To illustrate the value and demand for NAPL consulting expertise, our team met with more than 100 printing company executives during PRINT 09 alone.
PI: How has the M&A Advisory Service been received so far?
TRUNCALE: While some in our industry are “hunkering down” to try to ride out the economic downturn, others are looking for ways to seize opportunities to grow. NAPL’s M&A Advisory team is one of our busiest practices, with engagements ranging from business valuations and financial reviews to identifying strategic opportunities for mergers and acquisitions through our M&A Outreach program. The response has been phenomenal.
PI: While some people have called for a merger between NAPL and PIA, what are some of the benefits of remaining independent at this point?
TRUNCALE: One of the simplest tests of the value of any organization is the value placed upon it by its customers—in our case, our members. They have the benefit of our clear and unwavering strategic vision for NAPL’s role in their success. We intend to stay true to that vision, and to continually assess and improve the delivery of our products and services as times and needs change, but we will remain true to our core mission and values.
PI: Absent meaningful economic recovery in the next 12 months, can the printing industry realistically continue to support two major printing associations?
TRUNCALE: We struggle with the notion that the “industry” supports any trade association. Our members support NAPL and are our reason for being. And this hasn’t changed since 1933. We spend an enormous amount of time planning and building upon our ability to deliver products and services of the greatest value to our members. So long as we continue to do that, we feel confident that our membership will continue to respond positively.
PI: NAPL recently announced a collaborative venture centered around the theme, “The Move to Marketing Services.” What are the NAPL’s other short-term plans in terms of enabling membership growth?
TRUNCALE: Other major examples of enhancing NAPL’s membership value can be found in the recent release of our “NAPL Best Practices Assessment,” unveiled at PRINT 09. The “NAPL State of the Industry” report, compiled by the Printing and Economic Research Council (PERC) of NAPL, is counted upon as the most timely and insightful summary of our industry’s economic climate.
Our publications, including the NAPL Business Review, continue to deliver thought-provoking articles and essays. We are in production of our upcoming “NAPL WorkPlan for Success,” a self-guided workbook of advice, instruction and tools necessary to implement best management practices in all areas of a member’s business.
From Webinars to conferences, our list goes on and on. NAPL has programming and content designed to help members of all sizes and all types in their quest for improvement of their operations and management. PI