Quality is an Attitude- Jerry D'Elia
P&PE: "Value-added" is a popular buzzword right now. In your view, what defines a value-added service?
JD: When a supplier says "value added," it should first make sure it has something of value to add to! You have to start with value and quality and then add to it. The biggest value-added service that a supplier can offer me is making sure my message gets beyond the salesperson and the customer service rep to the people on the production floor. I think of our suppliers as an extension of the Hearst effort, and I want the people in the shop knowing that Jerry D'Elia at Hearst needs to put out a quality magazine.
P&PE: Finishing and distribution seem to be overshadowed by the attention given to print and prepress developments. Are your quality demands changing in these areas?
JD: Finishing and distribution are areas that never get the attention they should. A magazine can be beautifully printed, but if it's finished poorly that effort is lost. Today finishing and distribution are even more important. There are always increases in distribution costs, so we constantly have to control those. Also, more and more advertisers, and our circulation and editorial departments, are asking, "What can I do with a cover wrap or a CD in a polybag or a cover sticker?"
P&PE: What are the most crucial elements to producing a quality product, magazines or otherwise?
JD: Attitude and people. Our manager of quality assurance has a sign in his office that reads "Quality is 90 percent attitude." I completely agree that without the right attitude you can't achieve quality. I'm also a big people person, and I strongly believe that technology is only as good as the people who are using it. If they aren't trained—or they don't care—you can't produce quality work.