Q&A with Ronnie H. Davis, Ph.D.
Second, they can take advantage of these changes by looking for opportunities in the emerging forces—the forces that will shape the future printing industry.
Next, they can learn key strategies, tactics, business models, pricing practices, and other specific operations to increase performance.
The book also provides a user guide to strategy development in the printing industry and a “to-do list for short-term survival in challenging times.”
Once a commitment to change is made, management can follow the analysis, strategies, tactics, and other suggestions presented in the book to improve their chances of surviving and thriving.
What was the most surprising finding in your research?
The most surprising “epiphany” to me came as I took a new look at the research findings that we had developed over the years at Printing Industries of America and integrated it with new research conducted for this book. That epiphany is that print and the printing industry can have a thriving future.
There are many other industries, both media and non-media, which have gone through similar tough times as new competition has developed. In almost all cases, these industries ultimately “bottom out” and begin a new growth path. This is the future path, I believe, of print.
So, what are some key trends you’ve uncovered?
One key trend is the extreme differentiation of today’s printing firms in terms of their likelihood of surviving or exiting the industry in the competitive race for the future. The book defines four distinct competitive classifications:
- SuperPrinters—printers in the top quartile of profitability that typically earn above 6%–7% on sales. These printers will survive and thrive.
- Survivors—printers in the third quartile of profitability that are making a profit, perhaps 2%–5% on sales. These printers are not in the profit leading group but will likely survive.
- At-risk printers—printers in the second quartile of profitability that are barely breaking even or losing money and have a high risk of going out of business.
- Expendables—printers in the bottom quartile of profitability that are experiencing losses on a continuing basis and most likely will go out of business.