Communications Works for Those Who Work At It
We’ve printed books locally, in Canada, and overseas. We’ve dealt with printing companies who couldn’t get much beyond the pre-press process and others that couldn’t manage shipping the final product. We’ve had companies use our projects to train their staff without our knowledge. We’ve had finished books held up in customs for months, sitting tantalizingly at a dock less than a day’s drive away.
How, as a publisher, can you know what to expect from your printer? I’ve learned the hard way that, at least in the book printing business, size doesn’t matter. We’ve been burned by one of the 10 largest printers in the world, only to be rescued by a one-man local operation and his brother’s overseas factory.
A mixed bag, to be sure, but in the disappointing print job continuum there do seem to be a couple of warning signs that may point to trouble. One example is prolonged silence from your printer. Just as it’s not realistic to expect a printer with world-class capabilities to be right around the corner, so too has the revolution in communications supposedly made the world a much smaller place. After all, virtually the entire continental U.S. is covered by cell phone networks.
So why doesn’t my printer call me? Too many times when we’ve gone to print, we never find out about any problems our printer encountered. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any, it just means we only heard about them late in the process, and usually as a result of our inquiries. Granted, it’s part of our corporate personality to trust that if we haven’t heard from someone in a while, it means everything is running smoothly. But only when we call to confirm delivery details will the printer fess up that they “haven’t started yet,” they’ve “lost the file,” or they’re “having technical difficulties.”