Who Stands at the Point of Production?
Have you had a productive year? Do you want another one? Look back over the production cycles you’ve performed this year in merchandising, creating, printing and mailing your catalogs. Each part of the process has one or more important points of production. The point of production is the part of the process where the real work gets done — specific items are selected, images are placed beside copy, ink is put on paper, and your catalogs are delivered to bulk-mail centers.
As a circulation director several years ago, I found it very important to see firsthand the points of production. So I made it a priority to visit the catalog printing plant. The factory staffers were very cooperative in explaining each step they performed. In the various offices, I got to see the data-handling and color-separation systems, as well as the proofing and color checking. On the plant floor, every machine from the rotogravure press to the bindery line to the ink-jet addressing conveyor was run by friendly, skilled employees pleased to tell me what they did.
I wanted to make an impression, so I wore a bright shirt with the company logo emblazoned on it and carried a box of imprinted coffee mugs and pens. Each person I met got a smile, a handshake and a “thanks for doing such fantastic work on the catalog” from me. If they didn’t have their hands full, they also got one of the imprinted gifts.
The immediate results were all positive:
* Productivity on the catalogs jumped, and printing costs went down;
* Catalog requests went out faster;
* Last-minute bindery changes were accepted and not charged for;
* Printing spoilage declined so less paper was needed for each run; and
* Ink-jet addressing problems decreased to insignificance.