Two For One
Putting textbooks and ancillary products in the hands of not always eager students is stressful work. A math program, for example, can be an 18-month project with investments in the $25 to $50 million range for writing, research, art direction and final production for educational publishers such as Harcourt Educational Publishers and McGraw-Hill. In terms of time and cost, the latter stages of production workflow can be most critical, when it comes down to the ability of the publisher and its vendor partners to get the books in A-plus shape in a matter of weeks. That's where the Mazer Corporation comes in. Within a matter of days or weeks, Mazer completes the final page file production segment of the workflow process and then outputs color lasers for client approvals.
"Projects can become extremely stressful because of tight deadlines and file volume processing," confesses Lisa Waters, Mazer's system administrator. "At any one time, we can be producing and processing hundreds, or even thousands, of pages for a variety of products with very challenging timelines. In these situations, data processing speed and proof product quality become our primary objectives with little margin for last minute issues to resolve."
With deadlines being an ever-present factor, Mazer accepts client detailed specifications—such as raw text, art files and template Quark documents—and creates high-resolution, electronic page files for the publishers' printers. The composition process is a give-and-take process of, first, constructing page files, and then printing proofs to ensure the color and layout are correct. Over the course of days, or even hours, page proofs can be output four or five times as a result of content change or revision and quality control corrections.
"Every page Mazer creates needs to be output via a color printer for customer approvals," says Waters. "Even though these proofs are not considered contract proofs, such as those for on-site press approvals, our customers still want to see high quality and consistency in the proofing product we deliver to them."