Buying Consortia Attracting Publishers
A consortium is a huge outsource buy. Publishers already do this on a large scale buying printing. Think about the effort, contracts and recuperation from error necessary to keep that partnership afloat. Assume that a consortium relationship will have similar issues.
INBOX: What internal steps must publishers take to make buying consortia work?
SMITH: Each publishing company has to weigh the benefits and risks independently, but the key is to know your own organization and find a consortium that offers the transparency and lift―without exposing your own company to undue risk. Be prepared to compromise on specification changes, either in trim size, paper stock or even changes to your scheduled print dates.
Create a matrix that looks at all the pros and cons of your current workflow, and assign each a value to the business. Ask what would happen if this particular task or function weren't done, or done incorrectly. Examine the informal systems that exist in your organization for transferring important information.
Sometimes it's a single individual who may be fairly low-level, but who has the institutional memory that everyone relies on to clarify why something is done a particular way, or where old data exists, or when workflow changes took place. Eliminating the position may make total sense, but eliminating the individual's informal function can wreak havoc. Drill into the detail of your organization before choosing a new path.
If you do participate in a consortium, be prepared to devote some time to managing the relationship, and know that the skill set you need to bring is the ability to negotiate and compromise. You'll be managing your business operations from a distance, and it really is a different way of working.