In-plant Research: IPG vs IPMA — Who Is Right?
The opening session at the recent In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) conference featured analyst Dr. Joe Webb presenting results from a recent survey of IPMA members. Since IPG has also recently surveyed in-plants for our biennial in-plant market survey, it was interesting to compare the results.
IPMA's report, called “The State of the Industry: Challenges, Opportunities and Outlook,” sponsored by Canon U.S.A., garnered 162 respondents. IPG received 216 replies. (Thank you to those who took both surveys.)
Some of the data matched very closely. Under "services provided" the IPMA survey noted that stationery/envelopes are provided by about 78%; IPG data shows 79.5% print these items. For books, IPMA says about 58% print them; IPG shows 61.9%. For variable data it's IPMA, 70%; IPG, 69.9%. Copyright clearance assistance: IPMA, 18%; IPG 19%.
For other services there was more of a disparity:
- Direct mail: IPMA 51%; IPG 73.5%
- Fulfillment: IPMA, 65%; IPG, 41.7%
- Ordering portal: IPMA, 39%; IPG, 53.7%
- Cross media: IPMA 11%; IPG, 6.5%
Many of the questions on the IPMA survey were different than the ones IPG asked. For instance, IPMA asked what respondents call their operations. Printing Services won, flat out, with 41% using this moniker. Next was Graphics and Printing Services at 7%. Reprographics is still clinging to life at 3% of shops. But none use the term "in-plant" in their name. Is anyone surprised. (See my editorial on the topic.)
The IPMA survey notes that two thirds (66.7%) of in-plants sell to customers outside their parent organization. IPG data shows that 63.4% insource, an increase over the 52.7% that said they insourced in our 2014 survey.
In the "preferred supplier" category, IPMA notes that only 37% of respondents have a policy mandating that work be sent to the in-plant. This compares to 31.3% of IPG survey respondents who have a "right of first refusal." IPMA's data further reports that just 15% say this policy works well most of the time and 13% say it works consistently well. Of those with a "preferred supplier" policy, 58% say that enforcing it doesn't cause problems while 12% say they have been told to selectively enforce the policy.
Overall, the best opportunities for growth noted by respondents to IPMA's survey closely match what IPG's data shows: wide-format printing, new capabilities from new equipment, more insourcing, personalized printing and signage.
IPMA plans to reveal more data from its "State of the Industry" study at Graph Expo, when Dr. Webb will go into detail about the survey findings during a special luncheon for in-plants.