The 5 O'Clock Split: How to Manage Your Hectic Workload, Not Lose Your Mind and Still Get Home in Time for Dinner.
Last year, the paper market had huge price increases, so it was to our advantage to carry a heavy paper inventory. [This year,] falling paper prices have helped reduce paper expense, but this has created the need to quickly reduce paper inventory. My goal is to maintain paper inventory as low as possible, but it takes more time to carefully watch actual usage against projections, and then update paper orders. I work closely with our paper-inventory coordinator, along with our paper merchant, to manage paper requirements.
With so much focus on doing more with less, especially in this economy, what effective cost-cutting strategies has your department employed?
Earlywine: We have absorbed a lot of new projects [and] acquisitions into existing production staff in order to increase our efficiency. … Our goal is that everyone [in production] should be using the same workflow tools and systems, so if we move a magazine to a different production manager, the workflow should be very similar. This also makes it easier when coverage is needed for vacations and maternity leaves.
We are reviewing all of the various manufacturing costs in minute detail for each title as we look for savings that will not impact [the magazine’s] overall quality. With 50 titles, what may seem like a small amount [of savings] can add up quickly.
One of our print-purchasing managers created a new print model … for 2009 budgets that we used on 11 titles. Our print models have manufacturing contract pricing, paper expense, freight and postage calculators, along with any projected cost increases for the year. We insert pages, print run and select press platform to generate manufacturing, freight and postage expense used for budgets. Once the budget is final, we generate a report of the most efficient press platforms to schedule at our printers and paper orders based on those press platforms.