On my first day when I walked into the offices at ABC-CLIO in August of 2004, I was greeted by a monstrous number of file cabinets containing all kinds of contracts, production paperwork, invoices, and of all types of purchase orders for books that had been sent to press months and years previously. I made it one of my first responsibilities, to clean up this mess and get my department digitized to a point where we were using much less paper then when I arrived.
ABC-CLIO but was spending an exorbitant amount of money on overnight shipments of proofs to send to authors, proofreaders, indexers, an all other vendors in the production process. I started by making the individual freelancers that we were dealing with print out pages from their own printers. This change in policy was made much easier be with the advent of the Adobe Suite especially the full Adobe Distiller software. With this software, we were able to send proof passes to vendors via our FTP site for digital download to whoever needed to see the pages. Using a PDF file, the individual could do whatever checks needed to be done on their computer screen and then print out only those pages that had correction passes necessary to go back into composition. This electronic transfer of proof passes and pages was a huge boon in reducing our paper usage and getting us on the road to being a more green and planet friendly production/manufacturing department.
Using technology to your advantage has always been a trademark of how I run my department or any undertaking where I am put in a leadership role. If you can transmit electronic files using an FTP site (file-transfer-protocol), have someone on the outside download those files and print what is necessary, you are going to save a huge amount of money by not having to make overnight shipments. Also, using the time necessary to get those shipments to the respective vendors is another avenue for revenue savings. In this equation time equals money and doing anything that speeds and streamlines the process makes getting your books through the pipeline a more cost-effective endeavor.
Another area that needed improvement was in the coding and distribution of invoices from our outside vendors. We took the step of asking all of our vendors if it was possible for them to supply us with their invoices in electronic format via a PDF file. All of our vendors complied with this request, and all of the individuals within the department had their signatures scanned into the Adobe distiller program so that they could insert them after they had typed in all the codes for the individual line item functions on the invoice. Although our finance department was not thrilled with this idea, I spoke directly to the accounting manager, made the case that once the invoice had been coded and signed and e-mailed back to the accounting department it would be a much more important document if printed out with all of the codes and signature in place. This final electronic file, when printed, could be the invoice that accounting kept on record in their Hard to fit a clean-file cabinets. Implementing this system into our digital workflow also cut down on our paper shipments by using Adobe file System Products and our FTP site. These technical changes were instrumental in the company saving a huge amount of money and also keeping my department from killing many more trees by excessive use of Paper Products. The entire process can be laid out in a few short bullet points:
- Manuscript is typeset using InDesign as the layout program
- PDF files are loaded onto the company website by the outside composition vendor for internal staff to parse out to the next functionaries. The FTP site is pass-protected to keep unwanted intrusion by individuals not associated with the project.
- New files are loaded into a different folder on the FTP site for the author and proofreader to download.
- Author prints only those pages that need corrections; proofreader does the same thing, and sends only those pages with corrections back to the project manager. This file transfer can be made by fax or an e-mail of scanned pages
- Author’s corrections are transposed to the proofreaders set and loaded to the FTP site for the individual vendor to pull off and make the corrections
- Vender supplies revised pages so project leader can review that the corrections were made accurately.
- PDF of the pages is then loaded on the FTP site for the indexer to download.
- Once the index ms is completed, it goes to the typesetter for layout.
- Comp loads the index pdf onto the company site for the internal project manager to download and check.
- Once the project leader approves the index, the final files are approved for final output to Printer PDFs
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This is the way to save money on paper. This is the way to internally streamline the functions and make a department get things accomplished on time and at or under budget. Oh, and the birds are happy that they still have their trees to nest in.
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