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Resource Library

AMSP/NAPL/NAQP resource library provides valuable insights into a number of topical issues. These resources are provided by the economists of NAPL’s Research Center and experts from NAPL’s Business Advisory Team. The aim of each NAPL resource is to present the graphic communications industry with information that can help them better understand the industry and their organization.

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New Resources:

Case Study 523:  Eliminating Discontinuity & Disruption  – A small, 24/7 digital printing company was experiencing some discontinuity and disruption within its operation. Internal communication difficulties in the super-fast paced environment were causing unforced errors and costly rework.

Case Study 435: Creating New Habits – After three years of solid sales growth, this company’s growth curve had begun to stall. While sales from two major clients had fallen off, the rest of the business seemed strong. The owners and sales team were particularly concerned because they had been working harder than ever before.

Resources by Topic


New Graphic Arts CEO: Introduction  – Bob Rosen has worked with more than 600 graphic arts companies. During this time he has learned what separates the thriving companies from those that are struggling and how the top performers continue producing such superior results. In the introduction you will learn why Bob and NAPL wanted to revisit the Graphic Arts CEO , how the industry has reshaped, and why you have to make fundamental changes in the way you do business.

News Graphic Arts CEO: Chapter. 1  – Printing CEOs are facing an extraordinary set of challenges. Virtually, every company must make a major transition – selling quite different services to quite different markets in quite different ways. It’s easy to describe what needs to be done, but not so simple to do. Most companies fail to recognize the amount of time it will require to fundamentally change their business model, and the amount of money as well.

Customer Relations

Your Clients May Be Satisfied, But Are They Loyal?  – Customers may be satisfied with the work you do for them. They may even have used your services over multiple jobs or years, but that doesn’t mean they will not walk away if someone else makes them what they perceive as a better offer.

What Customers Want – The Secret to Increasing Sales and Loyalty .  Listen to Howie Fenton, NAPL Senior Consultant, and a panel of experts explain how to use key industry resources to better understand customers, and how to use that knowledge to increase customer loyalty, grow sales, and strengthen your business.

Business Development and Strategic Planning

Case Study #423: Reaching Take-Off Speed  – A mid-sized print (offset and digital), mail, wide format, fulfillment company wanted to launch some key initiatives that would better position it for future success, but was unsure which paths would be the best to follow.  Senior Vice President Mike Philie was called in to conduct a Strategic Business Assessment, focusing on exploring areas in which the company is strong and uncovering opportunities for leveraging those strengths to meet new marketplace demands.

Human Resources

Family Businesses –  By Howard Riell. Family businesses are, and always have been, a balancing act, the superimposing of one world over another to create what at times can prove a ticklish sort of hybrid. Preventing business pressures from seeping into family time – and family dynamics from adding to the stress at work – can prove challenging, to say the least.

PPACA/HCERA and You – This 2010 white paper outlines the Affordable Care Act provisions, shows timelines for implementation stages, and shows how this massive federal healthcare insurance legislation is likely to affect you and your company.

The Universally Disliked [but essential] Interview   – excerpt from Getting and Keeping the Printing Staff You Deserve , by Molly Joss Whether it’s because business has finally begun to turn up or openings have occurred through attrition during the Great Recession, many small printing company owners are now finding they need to hire one or more new employees. But cutting corners when hiring can result in making the kind of wrong hire, especially in a key position, that can bring the productivity and morale of a small organization to its knees. Learn how to fulfill your responsibilities toward due diligence in hiring.

In-Plant Printing

NAPL Case Study #301: Analyzing In-Plant Performance  –   the following case study, Senior Consultant Howard Fenton uses his unique industry expertise to help an education in-plant remain open.

NAPL Case Study #312: Finding In-Plant Service Solutions – NAPL in-plant expert Howie Fenton is called to perform a complete analysis of the operational, financial, and customer satisfaction performance of an in-plant printer at a university in the northeast who was considering closing the facility.

Case Study #322: Determining a University In-Plant’s Present & Potential Viability  – The administration of a Big Ten university in the Midwest was considering closing down its in-plant printing department because of customer complaints. The Business Advisory Group consultants were called in to conduct an assessment of the operation.

Change Your Value –  by Howie Fenton. At a high level, products either are becoming competitively priced or retaining their value. Successful companies are increasing the value of those commoditized products, reducing the manufacturing costs, or creating new products or services with more value. How are companies increasing and monitoring their value?

How In-Plants Fight Outsourcing – by  Howie Fenton. Despite the painfully sluggish recovery of the economy, the competitive threats to in-plants are not diminishing. Fewer in-plants are achieving their goals, leaving the door open to an outsourcing or facilities management company. Only solid, quantifiable performance and benchmarking data can counter attacks from outsourcing providers. So don’t get comfortable; analyze your shop’s performance against the competition now.

How to Improve In-Plant Performance: A Practical Guide  – by Howie Fenton. Get maximum results on improving your in-plant performance by following this guide.

The State of Today’s In-Plant Printer Market – by Howie Fenton. The in-plant printers are under more scrutiny than ever before. The main reason: declining print volumes are jeopardizing the in-plants’ ability to break even financially. As a result, the threat of outsourcing, a facilities management takeover, or closing altogether looms on the horizon. Only those that can prove and improve their competitiveness and value are most likely to survive.


Case Study #514: Adding a New Voice  – Action Graphics is a graphic communications company located in the Northeast that has seen two out of three owners retire over the past three years. With the ownership shifts, the company transitioned from an owner-operator management style to a management team style of leadership.

Excerpt from Leadership Brand – by Dave Ulrich & Norm Smallwood. Some argue that good leaders should identify weaknesses and overcome them; others argue that leaders should focus on strengths and master them. A branded leadership view is that leaders at all levels of an organization need to master those things that align with the firm brand. Learn more about what it means to be a branded leader.

NAPL Leaders: Who They Are, Why They’re Successful  – by Andrew D. Paparozzi and Joseph V. Vincenzino. Learn what NAPL leaders are doing to get ahead and stay on top.

 – A small, 24/7 digital printing company was experiencing some discontinuity and disruption within its operation. Internal communication difficulties in the super-fast paced environment were causing unforced errors and costly rework.


NAPL Case Study #211: Creating an Ideal Exit  – Following the sale of its family-owned building and property, a healthy Midwest printing/marketing firm needed to find a new home and sought to merge with a local competitor. NAPL Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) expert Mitch Evans was engaged to reach out to possible merger or acquisition candidates in the area. Learn how Mitch helped construct a successful deal that included cash up front, a secured note, and an earn-out based on retained sales

Exit Strategy – Don’t Let Your Dream Become a Nightmare –  Hear from John Hyde, NAPL Senior Vice President, and our panel of business owners with first-hand experience in ownership transition discuss industry best practices for exit strategies and succession planning.

Mergers & Acquisitions: Part of Your Strategic Plan – excerpt from “Strategic Growth: The NAPL Guide to Mergers & Acquisitions”. The goal could be sales growth, or to bring in new capabilities. It could be to bring in technical expertise. It could be an introduction into a new market segment, or acquiring the management talent you need. It could also be part of your succession plan, that there is no next generation and this is a way to get your chips off the table. These are all legitimate reasons to consider M&A, and all those reasons are used today. So the first part is to really understand what the goals are.

Mergers and Acquisitions: Truth from the Trenches –Hear NAPL staff consultants, Mark Hahn and Mitch Evans discuss the effectiveness of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the graphic communications industry as a viable growth strategy. Download to learn about the opportunity, stumbling blocks, strategies to avoid them, and the case histories of successful and unsuccessful M&A deals. Sponsored by Xerox.

NAPL Case Study #201: A Reverse Tuck-In “Preview”  –  NAPL Mergers & Acquisitions experts Mitch Evans and John Hyde help bring together a rapidly growing printer and distressed printer. With the help of these experts the deal was mutually beneficial for both printers.

NAPL Case Study #501: Merging Two Local Printers  – NAPL Senior Vice President/Consultant Tim Fischer brought the two principals together in a number of face-to-face meetings to explore the three important elements of an M&A deal: chemistry; fit; and price and structure.

NAPL Case Study #701: Acquisition Candidates –  In this case study a large gravure label printer located in the Midwest  needed to acquire a Pressure Sensitive Label Company. Learn how Vice President Tom Cobery is helping them identifying qualified candidates.

NAPL Case Study #801: Should a Successful Digital Printer Acquire an Offset Printing Company? – A very successful digital printing company was experiencing growing demand for products most efficiently produced with offset printing. To satisfy that demand, the company had an outsourcing arrangement with a local traditional offset printing company that provides high-quality printing, delivers on time with a smile, and has reasonable pricing.
NAPL Senior Vice President Mark Hahn proposed conducting an NAPL proprietary Strategic Business Assessment followed by open discussions with NAPL Business Advisory team members. He suggested that the assessment include a visit to the offset printer being considered for acquisition, as well as discussions with its owner.

NAPL Case Study #722: Finding a Merger Candidate to Help Fill Excess Capacity  – A Commercial Printer was looking for a company to acquire or merge into their operations. The company wanted to fill excess capacity created by the purchase of new, highly efficient presses and improved internal operating procedures. It reached out to the NAPL Business Advisory Group to execute an Outreach Campaign to identify qualified candidates.

Case Study 742: Stay on Track for ‘The Right Deal’ – A large printing/mailing company in the Midwest was interested in making an acquisition to expand its service line. NAPL Vice President Tom Cobery had identified a strong M&A candidate that met the client’s acquisition profile. Once the candidates were selected, the senior management teams from each company made site visits, financial statements were reviewed, and the company cultures were discussed. Finally, all was in order to move forward and everything appeared to be set for a closing.

Case Study 822: Finding the Best & Highest Offer for Your Company  – A husband-and-wife team, owners of a commercial printer, were planning for retirement when their do-it-yourself approach to selling the business came to an unexpected and sudden halt. The one interested buyer they were negotiating with backed out without any explanation. They had “crossed the emotional bridge” and were ready to sell, but they now realized that they needed to cast a wider net to find the buyer that would be best for their personal situation. A disciplined and rigorous approach managed by an objective industry advisor was required.


Excerpt from Customer-Centered Marketing  – By Greg D’Amico Learn what it means to be customer-centric, which goes beyond just knowing how the customer interacts with your company, but also what the customer actually wants from you.

Learn Before You Leap – Marketing Strategies & Ideas For Your Business  – Listen to Howie Fenton, NAPL Senior Consultant, and a panel of marketing experts help printers with limited resources understand how to market their businesses in a way that is continuous and targeted rather than occasional and generic.

Marketing on a Shoestring –  by John Foley, Jr.  Print isn’t dead, but it sure isn’t what it used to be. And it’s time to make a change! Here are five tips to get you on a path to continuous and targeted marketing that maximizes every person on your staff and every dollar in your wallet.


Case Study #901: New Energy Contract Saved Member $80,000 Annually  – A sizable Northeastern member was experiencing tremendously high electric, gas, and wind renewable energy certificates (RECs) rates. The member needed to continue to use wind RECs in order to maintain its ecofriendly status and reduce its carbon footprint. When its energy contracts came up for renewal, it was interested in streamlining its business and receiving better rates. For help, the company turned to the Association’s Energy Program experts.


Digital and Wide Format Pricing Study Executive Summary –  by Mitch Evans. This executive summary will provide you with the demographic information and conclusions based upon the data that was collected as well as observations from the author on the trends in the industry.


Machinery and Equipment Safety for Printers  – Sentry.  Any time your employees use machinery and equipment there is a chance that it could lead to injury. Learn how to avoid hazards that may exist in your facility. Sentry’s recommended procedures focus on general practices, web- and sheet-fed presses, bindery, paper cutters and trimmers, and machinery maintenance.


How CEOs Can Transform the Sales Process: Become the Chief Sales Officer Your Business Needs  – by Mike Philie. Should your CEO become your CSO? This white paper shows why and how.

NAPL Case Study #401: Reviving New Sales Growth  –  NAPL sales management expert Mike Philie helps a commercial printing company with six salespeople stem eroding sales growth and revitalize new business development.

NAPL Case Study #611: Re-Focusing a Sales Staff  – NAPL sales expert Bill Farquharson helps the sales staff of a $20 million Midwest printing company become problem solvers instead of order takers.

What Customers Want – The Secret to Increasing Sales and Loyalty   – Listen to Howie Fenton, NAPL Senior Consultant, and a panel of experts explain how to use key industry resources to better understand customers, and how to use that knowledge to increase customer loyalty, grow sales, and strengthen your business.

Case Study 435: Creating New Habits  – After three years of solid sales growth, this company’s growth curve had begun to stall. While sales from two major clients had fallen off, the rest of the business seemed strong. The owners and sales team were particularly concerned because they had been working harder than ever before.

NAPL Case Study #622: Putting an End to the Summer Slowdown  – Come July 1 every year, business in this Mid-Atlantic print shop slowed to a crawl and stayed that way until after Labor Day. This “Summer Slowdown” is a common theme for printers and printing salespeople everywhere as customers scatter and attention is turned away from business in general. Learn how Business Advisory Team sales and marketing expert Bill Farquharson helped a printer avoid the dreaded summer slowdown.

Case Study 643: The Unwilling Sales Rep  – The owner of $1.5MM printing company faced declining sales, no new business of any significance and no true sales experience or training. Not big enough to hire a sales rep, he was faced with the daunting challenge of becoming the company salesman and growing sales. He met AMSP/NAPL/NAQP Vice President Bill Farquharson at a conference and explained his situation.

State of the Industry

2013 State of the Industry  – Hear Andrew Paparozzi, NAPL Chief Economist, and Joseph Vincenzino, NAPL Senior Economist talk about the 2013 NAPL State of the Industry Report. Howie Fenton, NAPL Senior Consultant, moderates as they discuss: What we can expect from our industry and the economy over the next 18 months; What company counts don’t tell us; Who NAPL Leaders are, what they’ve accomplished, and keys to their success; plus more. To download the PowerPoint referenced during the broadcast, please click here. Sponsored by KBA.

State of the Industry Summary Presentation – This 24 slide presentation (in pdf format) provides owners and managers with a summary of the NAPL State of the Industry report. Use this presentation in staff training sessions or for yourself as a high-level summary.


Digital and Wide Format Pricing – More Than Just Numbers . Hear Howie Fenton, NAPL Senior Consultant, Mitch Evans, Managing Director of NAQP and Author of the Digital and Wide Format Pricing Study, Tracey Cohen, President of Target Printing, Inc., and Joe Calagaz, VP of Commercial Printing Division for Calagaz Printing, as they tell you about the current trends in Digital and Wide Format pricing, and how to determine a pricing strategy that will enhance your bottom line. Sponsored by Canon.

Digital Services Study: Variable Data – by Andrew D. Paparozzi and Joseph V. Vincenzino. Examine the benefits and challenges of variable data and gain an understanding of how this can increase company sales, profitability, reduce cost, and broaden markets.

Digital Services Study: Web-to-Print –  by Andrew D. Paparozzi and Joseph V. Vincenzino. Examine the benefits and challenges of Web-to-print and gain an understanding of how this can increase company sales, profitability, reduce cost, and broaden markets.

Hits and Misses – Why You Need a Print MIS System –  Hear Howie Fenton, NAPL Senior Consultant, Greg D’Amico, Brian Baarman, and Joel Salzman, as they share their firsthand experiences in choosing, implementing, and fine tuning MIS systems.

Print MIS Systems –  By Dr. Greg D’Amico. When looking at the major roadblocks to successful print MIS implementation in midsize commercial establishments, the first thing that is apparent is that many of these barriers can be dealt with during the planning stages, before any actual installation activities begins.

Web-to-Print Profits   – By Howie Fenton. There’s currently a controversy brewing about the viability and/or profitability associated with Web-to-print. Many people believe Web-to-print can increase the value of your services and provide a competitive advantage. There are, however, others in the industry who maintain that implementing a Web-to-print solution does not result in additional work or profits, but only in additional expense. Although there’s scant clarity about what Web-to-print is, it will succeed only with a sharp focus and A-game marketing and service support.

Web-to-Print: The Potential and the Realities  – Hear Howie Fenton, NAPL senior consultant, Andy Paparozzi, NAPL chief economist, Don Kirkland Arbor Oakland Group president, and Tyler Koon, Lawton Printers vice president discuss the answers to How is Web-to-print working in practice? Are as many clients using the service as expected? What are the biggest benefits? What are the biggest challenges and how do we overcome those challenges? The session was based on the results of the fall 2013 NAPL Survey of Web-to-Print Services. Sponsored by Xerox.