Practicing What They Preach
The magazine was distributed in 140 countries by two fulfillment houses, with a complex postal arrangement. The domestic service bureau at the time was EDS, in Plano, Texas (it's now Kable), with international fulfillment handled by QSS.
But while the need to modernize was acute, the sheer size, scope, and complexity of producing the weekly print order made the classic 'buy or build' decision an easy one. "There really aren't that many large weekly magazines with more than 1-million circulation, so there wasn't an off-the-shelf software option," Masterson says.
BusinessWeek would have to build—but they would ultimately go about the process in a singularly unique, and far more cost effective manner. First, Masterson had his print order team document their requirements, emphasizing that BusinessWeek's new system would have to be easy to maintain.
At the same time, the BW team compiled a list of five software vendors with experience in magazine publishing. The requirements were then translated into an RFP, and sent to the five vendors.
In the final analysis, BusinessWeek went with Pragmatix Inc., Elmsford, N.Y., a consulting and technology services company for publishers. One reason: Pragmatix's Print Order Management Solution (POMS) offered the fast deployment benefit of a pre-fab package, with the flexibility of a custom-built solution.
The core Pragmatix software provides functions to reduce labor, mailing, and special handling costs. This included, for example, automating label instructions for the fulfillment service bureau, eliminating duplicate keying for special requests and traffic code assignments, eliminating paper labels, merging non-subscriber labels with the production run, automating Impoze inputs, and static edition codes that provide version consistency from issue to issue.
The key to Pragmatix's POMS flexibility is extensive use of tables and modular components that can be maintained by the publisher, without requiring programming. This makes it easy to custom-tailor the application to a publisher's workflow, and speed updates in response to evolving requirements, without having to rewrite and redeploy the software.