Not Just Kids Stuff
As a result, says Oborski, "All the decisions traditional production managers have had to make in deciding where production work should go have been taken away. There is no more cold calling by salespeople. Instead, we capture (the pricing data) once, and it is put into a relational database that can be sorted and dumped in any configuration that we need."
Now, when a production staff member enters book specs into the database, the program spits out three estimates on a single sheet of paper. It also prints out purchase orders for the various components of the book work, including paper, printing, prepress and binding. All that's required to finish the process is an authorized signature.
Not every book can be estimated this way, says Oborski, but nearly 90 percent are. In the juvenile division, in particular, some books are often exceptions, because of the variety of production needs. However, even there, trim size options have been reduced from 114 to 14, Oborski notes.
Besides saving time, the ability to get rapid estimates has also meant that less paper must be carried in inventory, because the company can work closer to deadline. "Linda used to have $1,200,000 worth of paper tied up in inventory," Oborski notes. "Now there's $1 million less carried every day."
* Looking ahead. Other items Oborski is simply keeping his eye on for now include computer-to-plate technology and electronic book technologies. The company is on a holding pattern for both. In general, says Oborski. "I think CTP will happen, when the plates become cheaper or at the same price as surface plates. When CTP gets to a point where it is priced in a competitive way -- right now it's not -- when I can see a savings in cost and time, one or both, that is when we would jump in that direction," says Oborski.