Solutions Showcase: Better, Faster Magazine Production
For magazine production managers, getting accurate pages to the printer by the deadline is the name of the game. With increasing production costs and decreasing workforces at many magazines, anything that makes it easier for a production manager to do his or her job is a must-have.
With production workflow and scheduling tools, increased automation, transparency and seamless integration with ad-booking systems means an end to the days of old, handmade flat plans, storing advertiser information in binders and communicating with the printer via fax.
"If people don't have an issue-planning/ad-layout tool, they're typically creating their flat plan by hand. Not only is [that] time-consuming - and costly - but it's also a more error-prone process ... which increases the risks of make-goods," says Mark Walter, director of business development for Managing Editor Inc., developers of ALS for Magazines.
Vince Potochar, production director for Penton Media, says that, prior to utilizing Media Services Group's Production Workflow tool, material tracking was chaotic. If a production coordinator was out of the office, trying to locate information was like a scavenger hunt. Also, the company relied on Excel worksheets and log files, which resulted in duplication and errors.
Production Workflow allows Penton to store client information such as position reports, invoicing, billing and insertion orders in a central database that integrates with a production tool that incorporates all of that information into layouts. At any time, anyone at any desk can view an advertiser's history and the materials Penton has on hand for them, Potochar says.
Niche Media, which produces more than 200 magazine pages a week and processes 15,000 ads a year for titles such as Vegas and Trump, experienced a similar transformation when it adopted Mistral, Dalim Software's electronic-submission interface and print-production management system.
Shawn Lowe, Niche's director of manufacturing, says the company gained the following from this tool: the ability to see the entire book laid out and to enlarge a page on screen to determine whether or not it will print well; and a user-friendly interface that is adaptable to workflow changes and can integrate with other ad-delivery systems.