In With the New
Hazelden Publishing and Educational Services is the world's largest publisher of products focusing on addiction, recovery and prevention. Hazelden books, video and audio programs, direct mail, catalogs and other products are sold in 32 countries - at a high rate of warehouse orders a day.
With an output of this magnitude, the non-profit knew it had to upgrade its workflow management system. Hazelden had been working with two prepress vendors and a piecemeal workflow that had evolved over the years.
First, each prepress vendor stored Hazelden's hi-resolution images separately in different systems, which caused duplication, versioning problems and retrieval issues. Files were not logically named and multiple variations of the same images created confusion, and finding the desired version became time consuming.
Under the old workflow system, the staff worked without access to the latest generation workstations and networking systems. There were no file naming conventions and no procedures or standards in place for back up or disaster recovery, putting valuable data at risk.
Hazelden's graphic design team also manually searched for required images and sent them along with Quark files to prepress vendors by overnight courier. The prepress vendors then made film and Matchprint proofs and sent them back to the organization by courier. Hazelden reviewed the proofs, marked up corrections and returned them back to the prepress vendors. The vendors made the corrections, reproofed and returned the materials back to Hazelden, who sent the proofs to the printer, while the prepress vendors sent film to the printer.
An initial investigation was performed by Banta Corporation, who recommended and implemented a server-based workflow where Banta became the single source vendor for prepress at Hazelden. The heart of the system is the file server installed on site at Hazelden and connected through a dedicated line to Banta's data center, to manage the connected workflow.
Banta provided a centralized content management system with logical naming conventions. Coinciding with this activity, the printer performed an evaluation of Hazelden's internal network, desktop hardware and software, identified and completed upgrades, which provided consistency and performance to the production environment. Digital photography capabilities were also integrated into the system, shortening the production cycle. Full, remote redundancy and automated back up systems were implemented to make the system virtually fault tolerant.
Benefits of system
The new systems and procedures created:
• Digital content management (DCM), which provided an efficient image management capability that allowed for fast identification and retrieval of digital assets, while eliminating duplicate incompatible versions.
• On-site server and data storage, which provided rapid and secured access to content and additional levels of redundancy.
• Remote data backup, which provided disaster recovery, off-site storage and multi-level security for asset protection.
• Standardized software and desktop applications, which provided compatibility and consistency throughout the organization, and eliminated incompatible versioning of images and fonts.
• Network and desktop administration feature, which allowed the Banta data center to administer the network, adding another layer of support.
• On-site proofing feature eliminated overnight courier charges.
Under new optimized workflow, the graphic design team at Hazelden now retrieves and drags and drops low-resolution, FPO images (for position only) from the DCM database and places them in the document. The file is submitted to the transfer folder where it is processed and automatically generates a PDF. (Low-res images are later replaced by hi-res versions.) The PDF is dropped into a hot folder and is immediately available for proofing. Hazelden reviews the proofs, couriers them to the printer and transmits the files to the printer via a high-speed network.
As a result, the cycle time dropped from as much as eight days to one hour, at a price reduction of approximately 15 percent per page. Hazelden also reduced its internal manufacturing costs and increased its production capacity by 30 percent.
Warehousing and fulfillment
A few years ago, Hazelden made a request for proposal for outsourcing of its publication warehousing and fulfillment. Having used Banta as its prepress and printing vendor for soft cover books and catalogs for 13 years, Hazelden included the printer in the request-for-quote process.
"We needed to upgrade our warehouse and distribution technology and inventory management system, but we couldn't justify the capital expense," says Nick Motu, Hazelden's vice president of marketing and sales.
As an alternative, the organization conducted an extensive needs analysis and accepted a proposal to develop a comprehensive supply-chain solution that encompassed a full spectrum of inventory management and fulfillment services from Banta's Harrisonburg, VA facility.
The Harrisonburg facility now warehouses, assembles, fulfills and distributes all of Hazelden's publishing orders, which, in addition to books and catalogs, consists of calendars, pamphlets, CD-ROMs and assorted gifts.
"Outsourcing to one supplier that warehouses, assembles, fulfills and distributes all our orders allows us to focus on our core competency of providing educational services and creating publishing materials," explains Motu.
Based on this experience, Hazelden will consider outsourcing its database and Internet capabilities to revamp its Web site and online bookstore, as well as the implementation of a digital content management system.
"I'm looking forward to developing a state-of-the-art digital content management system, which allows us to put all our marketing and sales tools into an integrated system," explains Motu. "I envision content development, digital image storage and retrieval, archiving, product management, promotion, circulation, sales management, and marketing all incorporated in a real-time database management system."
A company that seeks to revamp its workflow management system should look for "more than a vendor," recommends Motu, one that clearly emphasizes service and demonstrates a strong understanding of business needs. He advocates doing as much as you can with one supplier, in order to maximize the relationship and to gain access to new technologies, techniques and trained personnel for greater efficiencies and faster time-to-market.