Quality is an Attitude- Jerry D'Elia
Quality is an oft-talked-about issue in publishing and print-manufacturing circles, yet despite this ever-present dialogue, an absolute definition of "quality" remains elusive. Publishing & Production Executive invited Hearst Magazines' Vice President of Printing and Transportation Services Jerry D'Elia to share his views on what quality is and what it takes to achieve it.
Publishing & Production Executive: How do you define quality?
Jerry D'Elia: Print production quality to me means delivering a magazine to the reader so it meets or exceeds that reader's expectations. A reader can quickly like or dislike the quality of a magazine's editorial or design, but our job in manufacturing is print and bind quality. If we do our job in production, the quality is transparent and goes unnoticed. It's when quality is not achieved that it is so obviously noticeable. Print quality helps reinforce or enhance the editorial effort.
P&PE: Has that definition changed in recent years?
JD: No it hasn't. We have always had to produce magazines that meet or exceed expectations. (In today's business environment,) we talk a lot about internal customers and external customers, but I find it difficult to service more than one customer at a time. My customer focus is the reader of the magazine, and I try to satisfy that person.
P&PE: Has technology had a significant impact on quality issues?
JD: If you use the right technology in the correct way, you can't help but positively affect quality. But, used the wrong way, technology can destroy quality and increase cost. I've been in this business for 36 years, and I've seen more technological changes in the past several years than in my first 30 years. It's changing so quickly that people can't keep up with it. I've been to printing plants and prepress bureaus with the very best technology, but if they don't have people who understand our business and how the technology relates to it, it serves little purpose. To me, to have technology without properly trained people is like flying the space shuttle with cab drivers.