Take the Express to the Press
"Within four-and-a-half months —from April to September—we went bi-weekly and computer-to-plate," Fox marvels at her team's accomplishments. "We brought prepress in house. We completely revamped the entire editorial and art workflow, from story pitch to editorial delivery to the printer. We changed Donnelley plants and started shipping our files by form. We adopted electronic pagination; we instituted color management, and we adopted QPS, [the Quark Publishing System." Whew.
Give it a name
Red Herring's first action item was to get help. Fox and her colleagues knew that they needed guidance to lead them through an objective evaluation of editorial, design and production procedures, and more importantly, make some streamlining and quality control suggestions. "We hired experts to help devise a workflow conducive to all of our objectives," Fox explains. "These experts—Alex Brown of Printmark and Linda Manes Goodwin of Manes Goodwin Associates—helped us to develop and actualize a streamlined workflow that we coined, 'The Machine,' or our 'Express-to-Press' initiative.
"This new workflow starts with the story pitch and ends with digital delivery to the printer, and it was devised from input from all the players," Fox says. "Alex Brown led us by asking questions like: How much time is needed for the first draft of the cover story? At what point should art become involved in story development? Or, how much time does copyedit need to edit an
article? All of these questions and more were asked and answered by the people who have to make it happen. … As a result, everyone bought into and supported 'The Machine,' because they'd created it themselves!"
Brown and Manes Goodwin got down to the nitty gritty of the workflow, Fox recalls. During intimate meetings with staff members, they were able to glean each department's needs for time and process. They learned about their perceptions of the existing workflow and heard their ideas for change.