Recovery from our industryâs deepest recession on record has finally begun. Once that would have meant good times for allâbecause once surviving recession was enough. Now we either prepare for recovery or get left behind.
Learning from the Great Recession is an important way to prepare for recovery. Among the lessons NAPLÂ State of the Industry Â participants have learned:
â˘ âOne second of lax attention and youâre gone!!â Â Recovery used to widen our margin for error. Not anymore. One second of complacencyâone second of thinking that we have it all figured outâand weâre overtaken by competition that we didnât even see coming.
â˘ âWithout a plan you just float along. Success doesnât happen without knowing what you want to do.â Â When nothing much is changing, finding better ways to do what weâve always done is good enough. But our industry isnât simply changingâitâs being redefined, making it essential that we plan effectively based on, as oneÂ State of the Industry Â participant puts it, âall favorable business intelligence that can be gained from the marketplace to the shop floor.â
â˘ âWe can do more with less.â Â Recessions force us to do things we should have done long ago. The key is to keep doing those thingsâto not let bad habits creep back inâas recovery progresses. Quoting anotherÂ State of the Industry participant: âWeâve learned that we canât use being busy as an excuse for not getting better.â
â˘ âAdd value or die.â Â There are a lot of ways to add value in our industry, from being the most efficient, lowest cost producer in a commodity market to creating marketing programs that integrate print, variable-content digital, database management, purls, landing pages, etc. Whatever we choose, we have to quantify our contributions to the clientâs successâHow much money have we saved them? How much have we increased ROI to a marketing campaign? How much have we increased traffic to the website?âand never assume that they recognize our contributions.
â˘Â âIf you arenât thinking differently, you arenât in business.â Â Put another way, thereâs plenty of opportunity out thereâjust not in the same old places or by doing the same old things.
Â For a complete list of lessons learned and a detailed discussion of whatâs ahead for the commercial printing industry, see theÂ NAPL State of the Industry Report, Ninth Edition,Â January 2011.
Â What have you learned from the Great Recession? Please let us know by commenting below.