The Need For Speed
He also underscores the importance of digital technologies, calling them "hugely important" because they take days out of the schedule. RRD's Roanoke plant, for example, is optimized for digital workflows, says Conley.
An early leader in CTP technology, Donnelley now favors use of the PDF format. It's already being implemented in black-and-white work; four-color is the next target, he notes.
What's planned for the future? Donnelley has expanded its capacity to produce juvenile and specialty books by adding a Komori press at Reynosa, Mexico.
In general, says Conley, "Our strategy going forward is driving the efficiency of our core businesses," says Conley. Lest small publishers think the biggest printer serves only the biggest publishers, Conley notes, "Our goal is to provide the right service for all publishers, regardless of size."
At Quebecor, John Boylan, president, also acknowledges publishers' scrutiny of inventory levels. "The impact on manufacturers has been reduced production cycle times, lower order quantities and less (ability to forecast) equipment loading."
Quebecor's strategy includes providing as many services as possible, from a variety of printing, binding and finishing to on-demand printing to CD-ROM authoring and replication. At the same time, each manufacturing facility specializes in a product or market.
Another Quebecor long-term goal is to "improve operating efficiencies, reduce product cycle time and strengthen communications links with customers," says Boylan. Thus Quebecor is investing in improving communication and data transfer infrastructures. Quebecor is also working towards IS0 9000 certification at all facilities.
Banta, for whom the educational market makes up a significant part of its business, is experiencing especially rapid growth in its packaging and fulfillment division, says Dave Mead, vice president. Another high-growth area is Internet distribution, he notes. The book division as a whole is also growing, says Mead: "We've (recently) hired in excess of 300 people," says Mead.