Optimized Content Supply Chain Improves Profitability

Consulting Practice Helps a Leading Professional Publisher Boost Margins by Creating a More Efficient Content Supply Chain

Challenge

The Canadian division of a global provider of academic, medical and scientific information faced declining market share and profit margins. The company lacked the agility to create new products, respond to market needs and maintain consistent product quality because of a fragmented, cumbersome supply chain.

The company’s supply chain consisted of more than 60 inefficient and redundant processes. Each of the company’s products had its own editorial supply chain, which lead to duplicated efforts and meant that content quality was inconsistent and content wasn’t available globally for repurposing into additional products. An editor would research, edit and write content for one product, and another editor could independently research, write and edit nearly identical content for another product. Moreover, basic editorial tasks like tagging were being performed by costly subject matter experts, such as lawyers.

This company needed to improve productivity by developing centralized content development workflows enabled by a global content management system to establish a content-driven rather than product-driven workflow.

Solution

The company asked Innodata Isogen because our consulting practices work with their sister companies in Europe had demonstrated our expertise in content development and production processes, content architecture and content management systems.

Our team offered insights into the company’s supply chain and shared best practices for reducing costs by increasing productivity. Instead of having a product-centric model which requires duplicated effort to obtain the same content for different products, we designed a content-centric model. Both content production and the content itself will be centralized and content will be reusable for many different products.

Implementation

Innodata Isogen worked with the company on both strategy and tactics. We helped them reengineer business processes and specify a content architecture and the enabling software and IT systems that the company’s staff can implement themselves.

We started by deploying a consulting team to help the company develop a product vision. Once this vision was in place, we began the business-process engineering phase of the project.

First, we mapped the existing supply chain. Our team analyzed the current supply chain along four dimensions: content, organization, process and technology. We looked at the content needed for each of the company’s products, and which people, processes and technology were involved in creating and managing that content.

Next we helped the company blueprint the elements of an optimized content supply chain and devise operational benchmarks. (We designed a content-centric, rather than product-centric, workflow that would improve productivity and product quality.)

Finally, our team mapped the most efficient, cost-effective way to bridge the gap between the current and future content supply chains. A new centralized, shared editorial services group will perform all content acquisition and enhancement activities that do not require specialized market knowledge. Subject-matter experts will only perform activities that require specialized knowledge. The company will also introduce tight service level agreements (SLAs) between the groups to manage quality.

Our team also recommended that the company manage content as chunks of XML text rather than as files. We are helping the company design the content management technology architecture to support this content structure, which the company will implement themselves.

Impact

Even early in the implementation process, the impact is clear. The company was facing a “do-or-die” situation when they came to Innodata Isogen. Now they are experiencing a continuing combination of cost savings and revenue generation.

Our consultants helped the company pare down a 60-process workflow to six core processes, which resulted in significant headcount reduction, cost savings and more consistent product quality. They anticipate new sales will climb significantly higher this year ? thanks to reduced time to market and new revenue streams made possible streamlined workflows.

  

 

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