How Advanstar Saved $400K on Pre-Press
Multiple-magazine publishers invest in impositions.
Digital workflows have saved production departments and pre-press both time and aggravation by automating processes. Once the publication pages are created and delivered to the printer, the printer creates laser proofs to be checked with the production department for approval. Upon approval, all of the page files are combined and imposed—placed in the proper position—for printing signatures (a group of pages printed on same sheet of paper) using imposition software.
In order to avoid issues of missing pagination, misplaced ads and forgotten glossary pages, it’s been a standard for printers to furnish a folded, trimmed, and bound imposition proof to their customers as a final point of quality control. But what about bringing the imposition and signature process in-house?
For pre-press staff, it’s a universal fact that the DIY of creating and sending imposed files to the printer requires additional work. But for Keith Hammerbeck, corporate director of media operations at Advanstar Communications, bringing these processes in-house has saved the company $400,000 from 2007-2008.
Advanstar is able to reap the benefits due to its quantity of publications. “Our production team began imposing 35 to 40 of our 40-something titles back in 2007,” said Hammerbeck. Because of the high quantity of publications sent to the printer, as well as no longer needing a printer proof as a final point of quality control, Advanstar receives a discounted production price.
Publishers looking to outsource should deal with one printing location as opposed to many, suggests Hammerbeck, as “some printers may not be open to [it] because they want to be in control of this function, but if the publisher takes responsibility for quality control, the printer shouldn’t have any reasons to not let the publisher do it.” He also notes the importance of having competent production personnel, since bringing this means that the publisher takes on the responsibility for making sure impositions are correct.
Hammerbeck warns bringing impositions in-house isn’t necessarily a money saving measure for all publications, specifically the smaller ones. “It is really just a cost savings measure, so the larger the volume the sooner the break-even,” said Hammerbeck. “Smaller publishers may not have sufficient volume to make it pay.”
Case in point: Advanstar’s investments since bringing impositions in-house. Since 2007, the company has hired a full-time pre-press production staffer responsible for positioning pages in a signature and sequencing the impositions.
Despite the cost of hiring a pre-press employee and implementing RIP production technology, Hammerbeck said, “we still save a great deal of money by taking this process in-house.”