by Debra Thompson
Depends on People
had the good fortune to not only attend but also and he built them around a discussion of what he termed
present at the NAPL Top Management Conference in “Recession Facts”:
March. I also had the opportunity to listen to Andy • Recessions redistribute market share, so they provide
Paparozzi present his latest economic assessment of an opportunity to grow at someone else’s expense.
the printing industry. I was totally surprised to learn that • Beating a recession requires unwavering focus on
his presentation was all about the people. It was great what’s most important. Lose that focus and the
because he had it right. I like it when other people think recession wins.
the way that I do. • During a recession, people are looking for help. You
Andy spent some time talking about both the state of are the expert; let them know that you are there
the industry and the economy. He touched on the back- to help them.
ground for the crises and the actions that are being taken Then Andy echoed the message that I have been pro-
to resolve them. He feels that ultimately the economy will moting in my articles and presentations since we started
come back, but it will take time. to experience the downturn: You have to work hard to
Still, the major point he tried to hammer home is that overcome the fatigue brought on by the recession. Even
even when the economy recovers, the graphics industry in companies that are doing well, unless you take overt
will not be the same. It is not just a business downturn; it action to let your people know things are okay, they will
is a major restructuring of the industry, and we will not go have uncertainty and fear. They will create their own truth
back to business as usual. with rumors and speculation. It is absolutely critical to
keep their spirits up and maintain the productivity that is
Times They Are A’Changing essential to success.
Andy quoted from the NAPL State of the Industry Report
from October 2008: “With the economy getting all the Changing With the Times
attention, it’s easy to forget that our industry is changing Here are the some suggestions that I believe will make
structurally as well as cyclically. Structural change is rede- a difference. These are in the same context of Andy’s sug-
fining our clients, services, markets, competition, labor gestions, but I took the liberty to rephrase and reorder
force, critical skills, value proposition, and everything some of them:
else that counts. And because structural change doesn’t • Now is the time to upgrade your staff. If you
turn off when the economy turns down, simply surviv- have any weaknesses in your company, get them out.
ing the recession isn’t enough anymore: We now either Take advantage of the fact that top performers have been
come out of downturns stronger than we went in…or we let go or they are nervous and looking. You need to have
get left behind.” top quality staff on board with the comp