Blog Posts - Economics

  • 07/12/2016

    Key performance metrics (KPMs) evaluate the success of a business, but can differ between companies based on various factors including the size of the business and geographic location.

    Below, you can see the sales-per-employee KPM in the graphic communication industry over the last ten years for profit leaders and profit challengers. Profit leaders are printers in the top 25 percent of profitability while profit challengers are those in the bottom 75 percent of profitability. In this timeframe, the average profit leader in our industry saw around $15,000 more in sales per employee than the average profit challenger.

    How can you align your company to have sales-per-employee numbers that line up more closely with profit leading printers? First, you need to know where you stand. The new Printing Industries of America Dynamic Ratios will...

  • 06/15/2016

    Key performance metrics (KPMs), used to evaluate the success of a business, differ for businesses based on various factors. These factors can include the size of business and geographic location.

    One KPM that should be on every business’s must-have list is the metric for before tax profit as a percentage of sales. Before Tax Profit is a measure of profitability as it allows for a company to view profits before they have to pay corporate income taxes. 

    The above graph tracks before tax profit as a percent of sales for the past ten years for profit leaders and profit challengers. The Dynamic Ratios take this profitability measure and turn it into a proportion of sales. Turning before tax profit into a ratio of sales allows for this figure to be comparable across many companies.

    How do you compare to your competitors? Over...

  • 02/23/2016

    Jim Workman, Vice President, Center for Technology and Research, Printing Industries of America

    Technological capability is a critical competitive advantage for commercial printers. It is one reason that even companies with in-house printing capabilities rely heavily on commercial printers for their business printing needs.

    The issue came to the forefront again during a recent survey of 400-plus marketing and business executives at medium and large companies across different industrial sectors. Printing Industries of America and FedEx Office jointly conducted the survey, which delved into the executives’ use of and attitudes toward business printing.

    Among the many topics explored in the survey, respondents indicated if they would like more services in seven specific areas. Technology-related services were three of the top four print-related requests by business and marketing executives. The top four included the ability to print from the Cloud...

  • 02/04/2016

    By Dr. Ronnie H. Davis, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, and Tai McNaughton, Economist, Printing Industries of America

    Even companies with in-house printing capabilities rely heavily on commercial printers for their business printing needs. Why?

    A recent survey of 400-plus marketing and business executives jointly conducted by Printing Industries of America and FedEx Office revealed the answer. The survey respondents were managing marketing activities at medium and large companies across different industrial sectors.

    According to the survey respondents, there are several important reasons to use commercial printers—nine specific reasons listed in the survey were cited by over 7 out of 10 respondents. Product quality was given as the number one reason to rely on a commercial printer, followed by volume considerations, cost issues, color consistency, and color accuracy. A key takeaway is that customers recognize the array of advantages that...

  • 12/01/2015

    Secrets aren’t any fun. When you’re left in the dark about what other companies in your industry are up to, growing your business can be difficult. That’s why benchmarking—especially financial benchmarking—is so important. As Arthur Rothberg from CFO Edge explains, “Benchmarking is one of the most effective things businesses can do to improve their operations and boost profitability and productivity.” Essentially, you need to know where your business stands now in order to move forward later.

    Financial benchmarking tools help you determine the overall health of your business. They are a resource for finding strengths and weakness in your strategies—then they help you patch up sections that need the most work. Benchmarking tools also offer a great way to motivate your employees and push them to the next level. When you lay out numbers, steps, and goals so...

  • 04/29/2015

    Profit leaders—printers in the top 25% of profitability—saw profits increase to 10.3% in 2013 and the forecast looks like increasing profits into 2016, based on the 2014-15 Ratios results. Now is the time to make a decision—do you invest those extra profits into growth areas, or do you save for a rainy day? Here Ed Gleeson, Director, Center for Economics and Market Research and Stu Margolis, Partner, Margolis Partners, give a plain-English explanation of the Key Printing Industry Ratios you need to be aware of—to keep your business strong both in good times and in bad.

    Increasing profits enable companies to grow by generating capital that can be invested into additional productive capacity, hiring additional workers, and moving into new facilities. ...

  • 04/29/2015

    This post was contributed by Stuart W. Margolis, CPA, MT and Suzette Margolis from Margolis Partners, LLC. Together with Printing Industries of America and membership participation, Margolis Partners brings you the annual Ratios Survey. Visit to learn more or participate in the 2015 Ratios Survey. 

    For most of us, ratios are not something we think of every day, at least not until springtime and the onset of baseball season. If you want to compare two Major League home-run hitters, you are likely to compare their batting averages.  If one is hitting .389 and the other’s average is .236, you immediately know which is doing better, even if you don’t know precisely how a batting average is calculated.   When applied to business, think of ratios as “batting averages for business”. In baseball or in business most ratios measure some form of productivity. They...

  • 05/07/2014

    When you boil it down, a financial ratio is a simple mathematical formula that compares two or more sets of numbers. However, as our market still struggles to find solid ground post-Recession, this formula is critical to maintain control of your firm’s operations.

    Financial benchmarking is the number-one way to take the reins and control operational costs.

    Few people understand financial ratios—and how printers can apply them—better than Stuart Margolis, CPA, MT, of Margolis Partners, LLC. If you’ve participated in the Ratios, you probably recognize his name. He’s a long-time partner of Printing Industries of America who helps industry members increase profits with Ratios financial benchmarking.

    Why is financial benchmarking so vital to success? If you’re a business owner or...

  • 11/19/2013

    You have big goals for your company. How much do you know about your customers, your products or services, your competitors, and the market you serve? There’s a high value in big data insights that provide a clearer focus, helping you determine where your company stands and where you need to go. Yet, if you are like the majority of companies, you don’t have professional custom surveying, analyzing, and reporting capabilities in-house. That’s why more and more companies are turning to our Economic and Market Research department at Printing Industries of America for custom market research services.

    In this market research case study, learn how Magner Sanborn, a full-service advertising and brand design agency, worked one on one with...

  • 11/19/2013

    The latest Custom Market Research Case Study told how the Printing Industries of America Economic and Market Research team developed, analyzed, troubleshot, and delivered solutions for Magner Sanborn, a full service advertising and brand design agency. Fully aware of the value of big data insights, Magner Sanborn “wanted to leverage their client’s brand, but first they needed to know where they stood in the market,” according to Ed Gleeson, director, Economic and Market Research.

    Jill Hulswit can tell you how she and her associates did just that. As account supervisor at Magner Sanborn since 2008, she is responsible for maintaining client relationships and managing projects internally for her company. The goal was to determine the current market awareness of their client’s digital...