Market Watch

Market Watch


Business Upturn Continues for Commercial Printers

The upturn that started for commercial printers in the summer of 2003 has continued into the fall. The National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) Printing Business Index (PBI) equaled 56.1 in November, marking the fifth consecutive month this comprehensive indicator exceeded the critical 50.0 mark.

Twice as many members of the 300+ NAPL Printing Business Panel reported that business picked up in November as reported business slowed down. For the third consecutive month, more printers reported an increase in work-on-hand than reported a decrease. The economic analysis comes from NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center (PERC), which produces research and publications sponsored by Heidelberg, Kennesaw, GA.

At the same time, print prices remained under intense price pressure, resulting in a 4.2 percent drop in sales in October for the Printing Business Panel and an overall projected sales decline for 2003. That trend should be reversed this year, according to Andrew Paparozzi, NAPL’s vice president and chief economist, who projects sales will grow as much as 4.1 percent in 2004. “The sales growth we’ll see this year represents the first increase since 2000,” said Mr. Paparozzi.

He noted, however, that “not all companies will benefit equally from the upturn. The companies that will benefit the most will be those that are well prepared for the structural changes redefining our product markets. Those structural changes are profound and far-reaching, ranging from the growing demand for value-added services to competition from the Internet. The printers who develop new business models to respond to those opportunities will be the ones to survive and thrive.”

For more information, contact NAPL, (201) 634-9600 or (800) 642-6275; fax: (201) 634-0324; web:

NAPL Debuts New Customer Service Newsletter

NAPL has added a new customer service newsletter to its comprehensive roster of periodicals for its membership. To be published quarterly, At Your Service was created in response to the increasingly important role of customer service within today’s graphic communications companies.

With content geared to customer service executives, managers, and front-line service reps, At Your Service will cover the gamut of issues entailed in developing and maintaining an effective customer service program.Articles will focus on everything from developing a strategic plan for the customer service function to handling and resolving customer complaints.

“At Your Serviceis a reflection of NAPL’s ongoing commitment to provide its members with publications and periodicals that feature insights and information they can use to move their companies forward,” said Dawn Lospaluto, NAPL’s senior staff director, communications.

The debut issue of At Your Service, to be distributed to NAPL corporate and Customer Service Track members in March 2004, includes a look at why and how graphic communications organizations should take a systematic approach to meeting customers’ needs, effective strategies for gaining the loyalty of new buyers and what companies can do to retain their best CSRs.