Production and Distribution Director ﾕ The Economist
Although print orders have increased by nearly half over the past three years, she relies on traditional hard proofing and e-mail file transfers to ensure her magazine hits newsstands each week.
Dong does not use an FTP but rather still receives files from advertisers via disk or e-mail. She says she still uses hard proofs but is looking into virtual proofing options. “We’ll use hard proofs until everything is properly calibrated and printers and prepress and agencies all have the same systems,” says Dong, whose editorial is all proofed virtually. “I think it’s a natural transition for advertising but everybody needs to be comfortable with it.”
Dong handles all ad pages and transmits them to the company’s corporate office in London. She works directly with two printing houses, Perry Judd’s (recently acquired by R.R. Donnelley) and Quebecor World, in order to get the high volume of copies to newsstands and subscribers by Friday. This year, Dong is looking to add another printer to the mix. “We work very closely with our printers,” she says. “We’re always looking at any efficiencies that can be gained by running on different equipment and asking what can we do to expedite things in a different way.”
For 2007, Dong plans on introducing a customized, Web-based spreadsheet to dispatch schedules and print orders. Each week her department makes 500 shipments, including vendors, subscriptions, bulk orders and office copies. The system will compile data that is currently keyed in manually. Output will include automated print orders and shipping instructions. “We’re working on a project to put it on a Web-based system that will have automatic uploads and downloads,” say Dong. “It will reduce potential errors, allow for continuity of information and allow us to manage our growing circulation without being limited by the current system.”
Dong oversees a weekly production schedule that outputs more than 850,000 copies of The Economist throughout North and Latin America.