Want Less Work, Better Quality and Lower Costs?
Take the time to critique the publication (even go so far as to give it a report card) and follow up with your vendor. Don't be afraid to show your vendor that you are improving on your end; it will encourage a mutual embrace for overall improvement. Constructive criticism, though difficult to deliver, is very empowering.
Along the same lines, meeting periodically with your printer and other vendors can likewise improve quality, reduce throughput and help you find new ways to improve production efficiency.
Ritt Schiano, vice president, Western sales, Banta Publication Group, says Banta holds annual account reviews. "We hold a formal meeting between key customers and Banta staff members using a formal agenda. Our goal is to go through each process from order entry through each production department, and include billing and distribution to address ways to improve." Schiano points out those ideas come from both organizations. "If we can't get customers to the appropriate facility, we either send our staffs to the customer office or conduct these via conference call." Ask your printer to do the same.
Use your customer service rep as a resource. They can help improve the format of your print order. They've seen them all—the best and the worst. Ask for ways to improve your method of submitting instructions.
Today's electronic workflows offer new opportunities and new problems. Sharing tips, no matter how large or small, add up to a better workplace. When workflow uses common sense and adapts for new opportunities, it creates efficiencies that pay off with less work, better quality, lower costs, higher returns and happier people, including st ff, advertisers and stockholders.
—Steven W. Frye
Steven W. Frye is owner of Frye Publication Consulting in Hailey, Idaho. He is an expert in magazine- and catalog-production processes, and has negotiated printing, paper and distribution contracts for dozens of publishers. He can be reached at Steve@SteveFrye.com.