Gene Therapy: The 3 Cardinal Rules for Optimizing Production Management
Situation #3: Ninety-five percent of your company’s revenues and operating profits are generatedby 32-page, four-color picture books in the children’s market, printed abroad, whose paper, printing and binding cost is 30-percent below U.S. prices, and whose cost of maintaining inventory still generates cost of product below conventional U.S. printing costs. Management remains confident in its market and sees no reason to shorten time to market and risklosing their competitive cost advantage. Yet they also are concerned about transformations taking place in product customization and re-purposing emerging in the market, although the opportunities to generate revenue are still limited. Four-color digital, demand printers have been calling on you with on-demand solutions that include quick response repurposing and customization capabilities. What do you do?
Situation #4: From time to time, you wonder what your company’s strategic plan is in these transformative times. You would like to be ahead of the game and prepared for changes. What do you do?
Goldstein’s approach is to maintain an interest in the granular as well as the strategic in book manufacturing. When it comes to quality control, production managers today are relieved of agonizing over the lights and darks in press checks, for example. Computer-to-plate has “leveled the playing field,” Goldstein observed, and those issues are largely unheard of. At the same time, he can still look at a stack of hardbound trade books and tell you, without touching the book, which bindery they probably came from, simply by observing the shape and snugness in the making of the hinge.
The production and supply chain manager in the book business today delivers books in a rapidly transforming marketplace, and faces the “disruptive technologies” that are reshaping the manufacturing and distribution of books (e.g., the embryonic in-store print-on-demand Espresso Book Machine and the wireless delivery of content to the Kindle). If, under these circumstances, management is hanging on to vanishing strategies in the face of uncertainty, it is no surprise. But the production manager who is inspired by Goldstein’s mission as a service to “support the process” should find this an era of energizing creative challenge.
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.