Production: Think Bigger and Better
It's time to think bigger and better: bigger savings, bigger efficiencies, better negotiations. Dispose of the status quo. The print environment is changing and so, in turn, must your catalog production cost-cutting efforts.
Above all else, embrace the digital world and all its technologies. Yes, it’s a print catalog, but digital is your means to that end. Whether it’s digital asset management (DAM), prepress or a proofing solution, there are opportunities to trim costs and create time in the schedule.
To save the most production money possible this year, focus on these six key factors.
1. Get on the DAMwagon. DAM systems are databases that store, archive and provide easy access to all your digital information — namely, copy and images. The benefit is a centralized resource that can be altered and added upon by numerous sources — your art department, merchandisers and vendors, among others — based on your parameters.
These systems usually require a bit of up-front planning and even some changes to your workflow, but the payoffs follow over time. As a reference, over the past year, our firm helped catalogers launch Cumulus and EZ-Catalog with their page layouts, which resulted in cost savings during the first year. Greater benefits are anticipated this year and next as they fine-tune their processes.
2. Prepress efficiencies. Established print standards and technologies are as affordable as ever, so you have more options to trim your prepress costs. Efficiencies can be as simple as sending your images overseas for online masks (clipping paths/silhouettes), retouching and color corrections, or as advanced as producing your own printer PDFs and contract proofs.
As with DAM, this takes a good understanding of technology, as well as a bit of planning and preparation, particularly with your printers. But once systems are in place, costs can be substantially reduced from any outside providers.