Remember the days when the production director ensured that the daily product deadlines were met and that the quality of the product was excellent, waste was kept to a minimum and performance and throughput of the operation was maximized? Ensuring your publisher’s satisfaction was paramount to your success and to having a good day.
Fast forward to today. These elements are still very important, but what about the additional and changing responsibilities? The change in our industry has caused a dramatic change in the role of the production and operations director positions.
First, in many cases, the operation has become a regional center producing numerous titles consisting of other company-owned dailies in addition to the anchor daily that was originally one of the sole products produced.
Second, additional area dailies are now being produced in that same regional operation. These dailies could be from a range of products including many of the national titles that are locally produced, or another area daily that is not owned by the same publisher. In the case of the latter, it is very conceivable these days that the dailies being produced can be from as far away as 100 miles to a two-hour drive depending on the landscape.
But who is chasing these opportunities? In many cases the person we knew as the production or operations director is now the friendly promoter of the capabilities of their regional production operation. If they are fortunate enough to have the capacity to handle additional products, they are chasing down every opportunity within their area of influence. This includes the aforementioned dailies along with numerous weekly and other specialty publications. They are also extending their service offerings beyond print and finishing to include such areas as ad planning, toning and distribution capabilities to name a few.
This trend will clearly continue well into the future and has become the norm for doing business today. So the next time you meet with the production or operations director, ask them if their role has changed. If so, how has it changed, and what are the challenges they face in order to accommodate the new business model that has emerged? I’m sure you will find the conversation to be informative and rewarding.
Vice President Sales, Mailroom Systems