How Will This Really Work?
Cadmus Communications’ executive vice president of sales and marketing John Miller tackles the tough questions surrounding outsourcing production to India.
Working with publishers in the journal market has made John Miller an expert at addressing the issues surrounding outsourcing production to India, including how it will affect your day-to-day workflow and the publisher-printer relationship. Here he comments on why b-to-b magazines are a natural fit for outsourcing offshore.FOLIO: Why is outsourcing to India a good idea for b-to-b publishers?
MILLER: If you look at a publisher’s P&L statement and balance sheet, there are alot of costs and overhead associated with the production of the printed page. Many publishers are looking for ways to reduce costs while maintaining quality and service standards. Everyone wants to save money and the biggest question from publishers is, ﾑWhat am I going to give up to save all this money’? The answer is that you’re going to give up a certain degree of creative expression on the fly. It’s not going to be as expeditious as if you’re working side-by-side with your production director, but the reality today is that alot of magazines have art and production departments in different parts of the country anyway.
FOLIO: How will a publisher’s day-to-day work environment change by outsourcing production to India?
MILLER: You do not need to change printers to use Cadmus’ outsourced design and production services. When we bring on a new customer we will have agreed upon style sheets for the magazine. It’s not a template, but with any magazine it has a certain style, look and design to it that’s consistent month-to-month. We agree on the parameters up front and we lay out the pages accordingly. We are trying to move upstream into the publisher’s office and take on some of the responsibilities and heavy lifting of page creation. We own our facilities in India and we have a workflow set up there. This isn’t something new that’s bleeding edge. We’ve been doing business in India for over six years. We’re not going to sign-up a couple of magazine publishers and use them as guinea pigs to see if it works or not. There are several companies providing services in the book and journal space and it’s a natural progression for the magazine industry to do the same.
FOLIO: How will outsourcing production to India affect the publisher/printer relationship?
MILLER: The typical printer role is to receive final PDF files and output, print and bind the magazine and distribute it. All the printer has to do is agree upon a file delivery date with the publisher and our group in India will ensure the files are ready in time. We’ve put together a process where the publisher will still remain in control of the two core elements: Editorial and advertising, but the process of combining and composing pages is done in India.
FOLIO: Does the printer interact with the staff in India at all?
MILLER: No. The printing company will not have to participate in any way with our India operation. Our group in India sets up workflows where we build your pages based on agreed upon schedules. We go through proofing cycles with you and once the publisher signs-off, we compose a final PDF and then e-mail or FTP it to the printer.
FOLIO: Is it easier to use the same vendor for production and printing?
MILLER: It’s going to work better for you if you work with the same company for the entire workflow where we can manage everything from beginning to end. The more control and the more participation we at Cadmus have in the process, whether on the front-end or distribution and printing, the more concise our schedules can be. Plus, it’s a cost reduction play for the publisher.
FOLIO: What changes can editors expect on their end?
MILLER: The editorial side shouldn’t change a bit. The production and layout component is the part that will be different. It’s not as easy as popping your head over the next cube and talking to your art director, but we have people that are accessible via phone and e-mail 24/7 in our India operation. That’s how we’ve done it for over six years with our book and journal clients.
FOLIO: What if the editor wants to make changes to a story?
MILLER: We have procedures and workflows set up to accommodate last-minute changes. During the proofing cycles back and forth, the editor can have unlimited access to stories to make changes and add components.