Strategically Speaking: India: World’s Largest Book Exporter?
- Worldwide Reach: the Book City vision is global, but leverages the critical mass provided by India's large population.
- Centralized Marketing: Creating the capability is one thing, selling it is another. If the publishing industry's slow adoption rate of digital-printing technology is any indication of how long the Book City program will need to be part of the fabric of the book business, a centralized effort targeted at C-Level publishing executives will be essential to expediting the pace of participation.
- Centralized Procurement: Access to centralized vendor management and bulk buying to provide the foundation for economically compelling pricing and a streamlined supply chain.
- Standardized Quality: The quality offered by Book City must be every bit as good as publishers have come to expect from their current sources—both domestic and international. Nothing will destroy a good idea faster than poor quality.
- Technology Access: The Book City vision includes a world-class Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system as the backbone for managing operations and communicating with publishing partners. Added to this is India's well-established information technology and prepress services.
- Publisher Education: Managing outsourced services is both art and science. Deciding to move some or all of an organization's book production overseas must be carefully considered and supported by the appropriate domestic infrastructure. While many vendor-management rules are the same, many are different, and understanding and adapting to the new rules is critical to success.
We are on the cusp of a new era that requires all publishers and their supply chain partners to take an unemotional look at their existing infrastructures and business processes—as well as their visions for the future.
Many years ago I attended a strategic planning meeting led by one of the book business's all-time greats, Jack Farnsworth. Farnsworth opened the meeting with a slide containing the first rule of strategic planning (something I've never forgotten): There's a fine line between vision and hallucination.