Food for Thought
THE PUBLISHER PERSPECTIVE
On the publishing front, costs and leveraging production talents are also key competitive advantages, according to Time Inc.'s Meinerth. He says there are no great technological advancements on the horizon to help the industry reduce costs.
Rather, a focus on optimizing the human side of the workflow is where cost and time savings will be had. To that end, Time Inc. continues to invest in new technologies, but the emphasis is on the production people and the processes.
"We're looking for constant process improvement, and are reinvigorating TQM (total quality management) efforts from the early '90s," Meinerth says. "By 2005, we expect to be well along with JDF, electronic insertion orders, and virtual proofing. But most of the effort is systems and processes, not new technologies."
Meinerth says the best production executives are those with "great functional expertise, but who also possess an understanding of publishing dynamics," and who effectively contribute to the strategic planning.
"By the time you are a production director," he asks, "are you participating and contributing in long-term strategy sessions hosted by publishers and managing editors?"
A PRINTER'S ADVICE
R.R. Donnelley's Campanelli coached production managers to become an integral member of their entire company, and not just lead their department.
"Don't pit one department against another," Campanelli says. "It's not win/lose. It's shared risk and shared reward."
Production managers have to choose their areas to focus on for revenue, because "we can do anything, but we can't do everything," he says. "Growth equals value creation, so you need to lead your company to growth and not be a victim of management."
Web site: P3-NY.org.
- Kathy Sandler
Kathy Sandler is assistant director of the publishing technology department at Hearst Magazines, New York. She is a past president of WIP. Sandler can be reached at KSandler@Hearst.com.