We are in an old industry where the process has stayed
the same in principle for centuries.
There have always been the production stages of
prepress, printing, finishing, distribution and marketing.
Mainly due to information technology, our environment
is subject to quick change.
This applies to all the phases of operations. The end result has been lacking of up-to-date education among
technical people, including executives and decision-makers.
Before the advent
of computers and information technology, it was sufficient to
regard the whole production process as a sequence of separate
stages, each optimized to the existing limitations of
the paradigm has changed.
The thinking is: “How can we best serve our customer
and even his customer in a way that gives me the best return
on investment capital?”
This implies total simultaneous optimization of the
A good way of
tackling this problem is to consider as a system.
Once customer-related parameters have been fixed
(including quality and reliability of deliveries) it is
logical to go back in the production process in reverse order
seeking the most-cost-effective finishing or mailroom
same evaluation should be done about printing and prepress
systems as such consist of machines, software, organizations
and individual people.
A good printer
should have an optimization model in his/her mind or in his
planning computers containing all the market and process
factors mentioned above.
It is not a linear model optimizing the whole process
in a straightforward technical way.
Choices at each stage of the process impinge on other
stages. It is no
use to optimize the printing quality if this quality cannot be
maintained in normal production conditions.
The stability and repeatability of the process are thus
of utmost importance.
Twenty years ago
the main focus of management was the direction of a large
organization consisting of manually skilled people, normally
with a long history of apprenticeship.
Now a primary factor is the choice of systems and
training people to use them in five-year intervals.
To do its job properly, management must be able to scan
the environment for good solutions to technical problems.
It must be competent to choose among alternatives in an
intelligent way. The
organizations and people must be trained continuously to use
new systems. Talking
into account the human motivating factors is important in the
whole process. A
bit paradoxically, it is perhaps the most important sector in
the new expanding role of technology management.
of technology means knowing customer needs and requirements in
great detail; searching and evaluating technology to serve
those needs; quick implementation ahead of the competition:
training and motivation’ running a stabile robust process;
and starting all over again every three to five years.