The 5 O'Clock Split: How to Manage Your Hectic Workload, Not Lose Your Mind and Still Get Home in Time for Dinner
Marie Myers knows a thing or two about magazine production. A 29-year publishing veteran, she has spent the majority of her career with Manhasset, N.Y.-based United Business Media (UBM), a global media and marketing services company targeting professional and enthusiast markets. She is currently the company’s senior vice president of manufacturing and is responsible for the premedia, production, distribution, print and events billing groups. Among her many contributions throughout her years at UBM, Myers created the production budget models that the company utilizes to forecast, reconcile and bid manufacturing expenses.
A testament to Myers’ accomplished career, she was inducted into the Publishing Executive Hall of Fame in 2007.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position?
Marie Myers: Downsizing of publications, reduced issue sizes due to declining advertising, and increased paper and postage costs. We are always looking for ways to save on paper and postage. One big way was the change to co-bind or co-mail all of our publications. This saves, on average, 13 percent to 16 percent in postage.
What other creative cost-cutting strategies have you employed that have particularly paid off?
Myers: … PDF workflow and reduced paper weight. One big savings we just [realized] was the changing of our express mail carrier.
How have you utilized new technologies to facilitate workflow?
Myers: We have a very automated workflow. Our ads are delivered through an ad portal and are already checked and cropped. They are then put into our digital asset management system, and information flows between our billing system, imposition software and digital asset management [system]. This reduces chances of making errors and streamlines the work.
Today’s production staffs are often expected to do more with less. What strategies have you implemented to increase efficiency in production workflow?
Myers: We have a very streamlined workflow. As our products reduce in size and frequency, the production people are taking on new responsibilities. They just finished taking on the actual billing and mailing of the invoices. Another change in responsibilities is that, as we reduced staff in our distribution department, the production managers are now arranging their own freight for inserts and other shipments that they need.
If a fellow production professional asked you for your best job-related tips or advice, what would you tell them?
Myers: Try to be as proactive as possible. It is much easier to fix a problem in advance. … I have always gone by the 5, 50, 500 rule: $5 to fix something on a page before the printer; $50 to fix it at the printer’s premedia facility; and $500 to fix it on press. Of course, pricing has gone up quite a bit since that rule started, but the meaning remains the same.