Savvy Managers Strategies
by Rose Blessing
"It's so much easier to get the work delivered on time when there's a really good flow of information back and forth from the publishing house to the outside source," noted Tony Fisher, director of operations, Brown Publishing Network, a company that provides outsourcing services to educational publishers. Fisher was joined by Sally Steele, principal, Thomson-Steele, and Karen Judd, editorial director, GTS Graphics, at the "In-house Vs. Outsourcing, Part Two" panel at the BookTech 2000 conference.
What's the key information you as a publisher should be providing? Fisher presented a checklist of starting items which was added to by audience members.
--Contact list. Inform service suppliers whom to call first regarding editorial, design and production issues.
--Alteration approvals. Some-times an editor or junior production person will request a project change without realizing how much more time and expense it adds. Eliminate such misunderstandings from the start by providing the vendor with a list of names of people able to authorize additional work.
--Schedules and check points. Identify who is to create the schedule: you or the service provider? If it's the service provider, outline what kinds of work-in-progress reviews or update meetings should be incorporated. If possible, define the number of expected proofs.
--File-naming conventions. Define how you'd like files named, so final files can be easily incorporated into your archiving operations when the project ends.
--Manufacturing specs. Don't leave your supplier playing days of telephone tag to find out what trim sizes, margins and pagination guidelines to adhere to.
--Software and design tools. If you have requirements as to what software programs (or versions of them), page templates or color palettes must be used, let your supplier know at the start.
--What happens next? If you are likely to reuse final files for another purpose, such as CD-ROMs, inform the supplier, who may have suggestions as to storage or workflow processes that will make later conversions simpler.
--Communication mechanisms. Projects often change in scope, size or purpose. The sooner the vendor knows the better, even if the vendor will be working on the changes much later. Agree on a way to keep the vendor in the loop if such changes occur: through regularly scheduled meetings, e-mail, or fax? Find out how the vendor will notify the publisher if the initial project price tag is likely to increase as a result of such change.