Gene Therapy: The 3 Cardinal Rules for Optimizing Production Management
In fact, these three practices can form a simple mantra you can post on your desk or have appear from time to time on your screen-saver: Prioritize, Organize and Deliver … or P-O-D.
You may think you are fully engaged in earning your keep as you transform to “greener” business practices, add new demand-printing resources to your supply chain, consolidate or network your distribution centers, attend the major expos to keep in touch with new developments, and periodically check costs and prices to come in under budget. And it is with good reason that you should feel that way. But unless these activities are subordinate to your P-O-D strategy, they can be costly to the company, and to you.
A few obvious examples will make the point (“answers” below):
Situation #1: You are a small publisher with an unexpected runaway best-seller on your hands, and you are clean out of stock. Or, you are a major publisher with a 500,000-copy national lay-down of a highly anticipated new title that is pushing late for the holiday season. You are also committed to a policy of using at least 30-percent forest-certified papers in all of your production. The press capacity available and almost all the stock on the printer’s floor don’t comply with the standard. What do you do?
Situation #2: Over the years, you have carefully built strong and mutually beneficial relationships with several printers whose price and quality meet your requirements and who always deliver. You have a strong evergreen backlist in nonfiction and are an obvious “long tail” candidate for demand printing at the front and back end, and your publisher wants to fully commit to a demand-printing strategy. Your regular printers have seen the handwriting on the wall, and have elected to follow a strategy of outsource alliances with printers in nearby cities to handle “long tail” demand-printing fulfillment. You have been solicited for some time by printers who have invested in a complete in-house (under one roof) solution and offer equivalent price, service and quality for your conventional printing needs, as well as a digital asset management system thrown in that can handle electronic editions of your titles. What do you do?
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.