Oracle Says Goodbye to Warehouses
Imagine a college with no bookstore. When students walk into the classroom, books await their arrival. One book per student, no more, no less. Print on demand is ideal for the classroom because, with advance registration, you know exactly how many books you need. No warehouses. No returns. Today, this is exactly how things operate at Oracle University, a business unit of Oracle that offers classes on Oracle products and technology.
The way things were
Things were different three years ago. Typically, a company will enroll a group of employees and Oracle University will send an instructor to teach the class. All the printed materials at Oracle University were distributed on an inventory basis. Since classes were so widely scattered, freight charges were significant. When you print offset runs of materials in the thousands, warehousing costs can get out of hand. Add the fact that Oracle updates and improves their products on a regular basis, and course materials change. With changes coming every six to nine months, the cost of obsolescent materials also began to add up.
Since Oracle's core competency is not printing, the company decided to turn to Xerox for its North American document production needs. The goal was to employ digital presses that promised to improve quality and timeliness of delivery.
Here's how it works
According to Brian Ernst, Oracle's director of production management, the company's publishers work closely with developmental organizations to create course content. There are pre-packaged standardized courses as well as custom-tailored private tutelage.
Once the material content is developed, Oracle turns a PDF file over to Xerox. After that, all orders for courseware at Oracle University's more than 100 locations are placed directly through Xerox's production centers. Xerox then stores the files via its digital asset management system. They keep the latest versions of all coursework available for viewing, printing and updating. Within 48 hours, Xerox has print-ready proofs available. Once they're approved, printing is enabled and Xerox puts its DocuTech 6135's to work in either North Carolina, Atlanta, Chicago or Toronto. Ernst says that Oracle's standing policy is to have materials on site about a week prior to the start of class. Thus changes can still be made to the final printed materials for a class less than two weeks prior to start. Just try doing that with a textbook!