No More Big Squeeze
Another service being aggressively promoted at Transcontinental: remote soft proofing. Transcontinental offers both the service, the software, and the on-site training to help publishers quickly leverage this popular and cost-saving approach.
The soft-proofing service depends on a reliable exchange of PDF files, so helping publishers learn to generate PDFs for e-proofs is another crucial service. "It's important they build their files to our standard, so when they reach the plant there are no hiccups," Gregoire says.
Gregoire projects 100% of publishers will be proofing 100% electronically in two to four years, noting that PDFs already comprise about 50% of all proofs handled by Transcontinental.
At Quebecor World, efficiency means increased capital spending, with specific goals in mind. The company purchased a Hewlett-Packard Indigo 3000 digital press to handle custom publishing and short print runs on demand at lower cost per page.
Another $19 million is being plowed into Quebecor World's Dubuque, Iowa, plant, to make it "an efficient producer" of elementary, high school, and higher education textbooks. The plan calls for the revamped plant to be on-line in the second quarter.
"This investment was driven by customer feedback," says Allee of Quebecor World. "[Textbook publishers] indicated that an investment in a specialized facility that enabled them to create efficiencies and reduce cycle times was the correct approach to winning more of their business."
Translation: textbook publishers aren't content to place large orders that end up in some warehouse, unsold, on the inventory report. They want shorter runs, and more highly customized runs, too.
Quebecor World's goal: to become an agile producer of shorter textbook runs, allowing the book manufacturer to efficiently react to 'demand spurts' just in time. And by investing in customized and shorter run textbook capabilities, Quebecor World can potentially reduce returns.