Thursday, March 11, 2010


Inspiration can come at any time, they say.

I was inspired to start this blog after being asked to speak at the recent Publishing Business Conference and Expo in NYC. As a panelist in the Magazine Production Roundtable, I was asked to share with production executives ideas on streamlining the process to handle increasing workloads, to (further) cut costs, do more with less.... blah, blah, blah.

Oh, and boost morale in a challenging time.


I'm frankly tired of seeing people pushed to exhaustion. I'm appalled at the fear that is present in the workplace today. Those who are brilliant and brave are worried about bringing up a new idea or suggest a new way. They'll get noticed. Best that everyone keep a low profile, don't make waves.. survive. Companies feel comfortable in reducing their workforce, asking the survivors to do more with less, work harder and be afraid.


You don't grow by cutting. Continuing to squeeze suppliers for even greater reductions will result in less suppliers, weaker suppliers and a lack of innovation. The hunter will become the hunted. The Golden Age of Procurement is, hopefully, coming to an end.

It's time to rethink our cost-cutting ways and focus on cutting the cost of your own internal chaos.

You've already cut your printing costs, you've already reduced your supplier base, you've already risked getting less by paying less. The time to look at your own house is way overdue. Let's start building something instead of tearing things down for a change. See how that all works out. Here are some things to think about:

  • What are YOU doing that is costly to your company or to your suppliers?

  • What can you stop doing?
    (Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's right.)

  • What technology can you introduce to work faster and smarter and do more with less (staff)?

  • How about a bit of investing in your staff, in your process, in your future?
More later... it's late.

1 comment:

  1. I feel that pain. Great questions. Tough answers.

    My take is this.

    Prior to the Golden Age of Procurement was the Golden Age of Graphics. Design had power. Presses ran 25 hour a day. DMax mattered. Skilled print and creative professionals were indispensable players in the flow of commerce and were treated accordingly. Put another way, jobs were valued in proportion to how much could go wrong. Is the message compelling? Is the color accurate? Will it deliver on time? It was people who made those calls, saved the bacon and were recognized as heroes.

    The internet changed all that. Well, most of that. The world shrank, technology improved, and the audience moved largely online. What was left for print was more efficient, measurable, and less valued. And most of the things that used to go wrong didn't any more. In fact, it became not only possible, but easy for end users to do things themselves. Fewer jobs for heroes.

    But I think there are still opportunities for people willing to take their talents and shop them around. Instead of printing a hundred thousand catalog for a customer, printers are making a single photo book for a hundred thousand individual customers. Moo Cards is growing by creating a new market for innovative business cards in the digital environment. News publishers who lament the demise of their industry ignore the success of Huffington Post online. And every one of these businesses draws on skill sets that are common to the print medium. They need heroes.

    A great resource for navigating these issues is Seth Godin's new book "Lynchpin," and I challenge everyone to read it. Instead of shaving cost, it advocates creating value and offers some clear thinking about the nature of jobs and ways we can find more satisfaction in what we do.

    The scary part is to acknowledge the changes in the industry and be honest about what we can change and what we can't. For everyone that perspective will be different, along with the answer.