Gene Therapy: Managing Workflow: How Top Publishers Keep Their Houses in Order
“Our supply chain and production teams will benefit from the digital archive and distribution system because, in addition to its consumer-focused capabilities, it will also be a boon for our internal workflow and external business-to-business needs,” says Joe D’Onofrio, senior vice president of supply chain operations.
The S&S Workflow System
The S&S workflow system all begins when an acquisitions editor negotiates a book deal with an author. That is the point at which the human and the computer workflow-management system kicks in.
The key computer system players are: the title-management system that assigns the ISBN, and tracks title information and status from contract to delivery of the finished product into the warehouse—and beyond; a production scheduling system; a digital asset management system in which all of the content files are maintained; and a financial system that tracks actual costs against book estimates.
The key human player is the managing editor who monitors data integrity and schedule fulfillment for each title throughout the process.
“The managing editor monitors all the processes that are happening in parallel: copy editing, design, art and schedule,” says Masciovecchio. “Like a traffic manager or title controller, they keep everyone in the publishing process on schedule and on target, including the editor and author.”
Frequently, much time has passed between signing the contract and when the author submits the manuscript. When the editor feels the manuscript is ready for publication, it passes to production, which then takes over building and managing the schedule for all of the interior workflow dates through copy editing, interior design, page assembly and bound books.
Moving the Title Through Production
Approximately two months prior to the bound-book date, a print quantity is set at a meeting attended by publishing and supply chain staff who work from the latest sales forecasts.
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.