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TAPPI Achieves $6.2 Million Turnaround with Team Approach

June 29, 2009
After 11 years of operating in the red, the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) is seeing black. The turnaround is the result of a team-based approach that focuses on involvement and ideas from association staff, board members, and volunteers. Combined with a new emphasis on emerging markets related to its core industries of pulp, paper, and packaging, the approach has helped turn a corner long in the making for the Norcross, GA-based organization.

“The association experienced 11 years of operating in the red,” said TAPPI’s president and CEO Larry N. Montague. “The deficits were not due to any one action but to myriad issues that built up over time. There were a lot of angry paper people who were passionate about addressing the association’s financial situation.”

Among the issues fueling a passion to improve financial performance was a downturn in TAPPI’s industry, resulting in a smaller North American membership and revenue base. Recognizing that tapping into investment income for operations could not accomplish the turnaround needed for future success, TAPPI chose to implement sweeping changes in 2006. As a first step in its transformation, TAPPI members and staff were enlisted to provide cost-cutting and member benefit ideas, as well as insight into new market opportunities.

Since 2006, TAPPI has dramatically changed its culture, cut expenses, and employed new technologies to build a profitable organization. At the same time, it has also strengthened member benefits and broadened horizons in related industries like nonwovens, flexible packaging, and bioenergy. The result has been a renewed focus on the individual member, as well as creation of a lean, flat organization, according to Montague.

TAPPI is the leading association for the worldwide pulp, paper, packaging, and converting industries and co-publisher of Paper360°. For more information, visit www.tappi.org.