Is Print Technology Replacing Production Knowledge?
There’s a pretty vocal segment of the publishing industry that says production technology has advanced to the point where problems such as color consistency, fonts and high res/low res shouldn’t exist. Time Inc. maintains they don’t experience any of the common problems associated with file management. Influential production consultant Bo Sacks has previously written, "Quality control has been reduced to a logarithmic equation. You can take the subjective out of the press. It not only can be done, it already has been done. Wake up and move on to more important issues."
Still, while the technological advancement is acknowledged, problems continue to exist with standards and human implementation of the technology. And perhaps an even bigger problem is the erosion of actual production knowledge, according to Biagio Lubrano, quality control manager at Conde Nast. While printers are being squeezed on costs by publishers, Lubrano contends that many are using new technology as an excuse to replace personnel-often the same personnel that knew how to rectify problems that a machine couldn’t. "[The technology] has been oversold," says Lubrano. "The technology lets things go to the last minute, and that’s creating more room for mistakes. There have been so many cuts that you’re down to the raw mechanics of a specific task. The good knowledge of the task is gone. All the old craftsman are gone. Schools are putting out Web designers not page designers. Printers are buying technology to eliminate people. There’s no training programs and printers are not teaching the basics. Technology will replace the knowledge and the loser is the customer."
Agree? Disagree? Lubrano will be one of the featured speakers at the Folio: Show on a panel called "The Road to Print Manufacturing Predictability" on Monday, Sept. 24, at 10:15am.