Written by Howie Fenton
Senior Technology Consultant, NAPL

NAPL State of the Industry Report

The NAPL State of the Industry Report, 11th Edition, was unveiled at the Print 13 show and included the most recent research about how leaders are different from the rest of the industry. It provides insight into the importance of listening to the voice of your customer, understanding your value, actively asking the tough questions, and being willing to change.

What I have learned by working on several NAPL Digital Services Studies is that there is a component of leader research in every research project. It does not matter if the research project is the State of the Industry, Digital Services, Financial and Operational Benchmarking, or Marketing and Sales. At Print 13, my friend and colleague Andy Paparozzi and I made a presentation entitled “The Secrets of Leading Digital Companies.”

We covered a lot of ground in our lunchtime presentation but here are a few highlights:

The industry leaders are not a particular size, they don’t sell particular products or services and don’t have a unique business model. Some are large and some are small, some are general commercial printer and others specialize, some focus on traditional products and services and others focus more on digital services.

In our presentation, Andy, who is the chief architect of our research, explained how our latest research shows that leaders are more aware of their perception of value to their customers. When asked, “Has creating value changed over the past several years”, 44% of the leaders said yes, as compared to only 27% of the non-leaders.

He explained that the leaders are more willing to change. It doesn’t matter if it’s an easy change such as buying a new piece of equipment or gut-wrenching change such as offering radically different services or acquiring a new company. The leaders are better at recognizing the need to change and are better at implementing that change.

One of the changes that we are hearing more about are companies diversifying their services. In fact, a large portion of the upcoming NAPL 2013 State of the Industry Report talks about diversification. Leaders do not simply add a new service. They integrate it both into existing systems as well as into their value proposition.

In summary

1. Leaders are better at asking questions (Do I need to change and how should I change?)
2. Leaders actively pursue change and are better at implementing change
3. As they change, they integrate the change throughout the organization, especially changing their value proposition


Howie Fenton is a consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers and in-plants on benchmarking performance against industry leaders, increasing productivity, and adding digital and value services through customer research. For more information click here.