Bookmachine; Talking Production

Last night, Abigail and Jennie attended the Bookmachine event, ‘Talking Production’, to hear from the experts on the changing state of the production world. Wonderfully chaired by Ken Jones (Director, Circular Software), the speakers James Carey (Consultant, Q5 Partners) and Heather O’Connell (Consultant, Bluebird Consulting) took us through a fascinating discussion on today’s production landscape. With shorter print runs, tighter budgets, new formats and increased visibility on ethical resourcing, there are some big conversations to be had!

As Ken reminded us, Production is at the heart of the business; it’s the pulse that keeps our products alive. However, before we were able to get caught up in that compelling metaphor, we were quickly brought back to business with some very real news: every £1 saved by Production is equivalent to £10 generated by sales!

So I think we can all agree that Production is worth getting right and we need to talk about it. But what to say?! Well, here is a ten point question plan that we have taken from the evening that you can be discussing within your production teams:

  1. How are political and economic factors likely to impact on our costs? A natural disaster half way across the world could make a major change to our working lives if that’s where we buy paper from.
  2. Are we a customer that suppliers want to have? What can we do to be a better customer?
  3. What can we do to make our supply chain more secure than that of our competitors’?
  4. How long do we think our supplier is likely to remain in business? What’s the impact on us if they fold? And, on the other hand, would it be ethical to move supplier if they rely on us for our business?
  5. Are we sourcing paper, glue, ink etc. ethically?
  6. Is there an easier way to move our files around? What can we use that isn’t email?
  7. Amazon will sell 20x as many books as they would have on hand. We won’t reach these heights (especially if we have a lot of colour books, as POD is easier with b/w) but what can we learn from this and how can we be more efficient?
  8. Is our format right for our market? Or are we spending money creating products in a way that a certain territory simply isn’t interested in?
  9. Does the structure of our production team make sense? Does it facilitate efficient working?
  10. And now for the $100 question!! Are our books vegan?!

So that’s how we talk production and what we need to be saying. The answers will be different in every team and every organisation but these ten questions (well, we will leave the importance of the 10th up to you) will form the basis of a highly productive production discussion in today’s working environment.

Thank you again to Bookmachine. We had a great time and will see you at the next one!