Tapping the Supply Chain Opportunity
Craig also notes, “The diversity of the participants in the chain can create a complex and long process. All parties must understand how, and especially why, the chain is supposed to function.”
The design of the supply chain should begin “from the end user back through the various product and service providers,” he continues.
An apt example can be found in the “Big Picture” flow chart (above) that Kent Freeman, chief technology officer of Ingram Digital Ventures, presented to the International Supply Chain Specialists Meeting at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2006.
Standing out from the pack
Craig provides insight into the ease with which companies lapse into commodity marketing status.
“For years, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers have tried to define their core competencies,” he wrote in another article in World Wide Shipping called “Three PLs Need to Take It to the Next Level—How to Do It.” “Core competencies were held to be central to the company strategy.” Supply chain management (SCM), however, “was not held to be a core competency,” Craig wrote. “Such companies … failed to realize that SCM is a process that crosses their entire organization and expands into their customers and into their suppliers. Since supply chain management was not held as essential to business success, they looked at outsourcing as a way to reduce costs, not improve their company with supply chain management.”
By evaluating all the links in your supply chain, new strategies can emerge. Craig noted, “The key point is to give customers what they want in their particular industries—be unique. This seems like standard advice, but it is not always practiced in the pursuit of growth.”
This is especially apt for printers as providers to publishers who are becoming more aware that the act of publishing a book is an act of content management, and that there is benefit to placing the “legal” XML and PDF file for the title in the hands of one outsource vendor that will handle the supply chain management of the title in its different formats and revisions.
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.