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Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Shaun's Corner" - What's That Light I See?

By Shaun Meany
The PEiR Group

Thanks for all your calls and email these last few weeks. Your feedback, ideas, and good humor are essential to my getting a handle on our industry's mood and overall perception of market conditions.

I'm not here to be a cheerleader. That's not my role. I'm here to help our members get through this downturn in any way I can, and to share any insight I may have that indicates light at the end of the tunnel.

While some may wryly say the only light they see in the tunnel is on the front of the train running straight at them, there are indicators of a turnaround - certainly not tomorrow, or the next day - but coming. And we all need to be prepared to catch the wind when it starts to blow our way again.

Why so optimistic, you ask? Well, I'm hearing that while public construction projects are in a holding pattern, private jobs are still buzzing in certain sectors, and there has been some shift in attention given to non-AEC work by our members.

I'm not going to lie, we're in for a bumpy ride. But if we "Manage for Success" and make the right moves, I believe we can come out of this economic malaise stronger and with more opportunity ahead for all of us.

The target areas that reprographers need to focus on are federal government agencies like DOT, Harbors, Navy, Marine, Army and Air Force, US Army Corp of Engineers and prisons. Call on state and local agencies like building departments, DOT, Public Works and Schools, prisons - there are projects there and jobs to be had.

Private sector institutions, hospitals and stadiums, energy alternatives (wind, solar and other) are also weathering the current storm.

I believe the stimulus package will include two key components that should help the AEC market; significant infrastructure funding increases and beneficial changes in the tax code to promote more business investment. The transportation sector will be a major beneficiary, along with significant investments in water, energy and school and other public construction projects.

A recession is often a stimulus for the adoption of new technologies which means our AEC customers will be looking to deploy technologies that allow them to re-invent their inefficient processes. One process that is sure to be retooled is the bid process.

This is not the time to sit back and wait for the marketplace to reignite itself. Reprographers need to be out in front of their customers discussing their technologies and explaining that this is a perfect time for their customers to invest time in learning these new systems. So when the market does catch fire again these new systems can be used to increase productivity and - by extension - revenues for the reprographics industry.

And The PEiR Group will be here to help in any way we can. Good times or bad, just pick up the phone or drop an entry into this blog. We answer every call or email we get and we look forward to hearing from you.

We're going to get through this. And we look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it to Las Vegas on March 5th.

We'll have some fun and get down to business,



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