Consulting Practice Helps Publisher of Annual Reference Book Design an Electronic Publishing Process by Re-engineering the Content Supply Chain
In most doctors’ offices, you will find a key medical reference for practicing physicians and health practitioners. Historically, this reference has been distributed annually as a printed publication. To respond to changing market demands, and to remain competitive, our client realized it had to radically change its print-centric and siloed business processes, which could not efficiently continue to produce the digital products demanded by an increasingly electronic and automated healthcare industry.
Print-centric content acquisition, page layout and proofing were manual processes that created costly bottlenecks and prevented the distribution of electronic content prior to print production.
The publisher set a goal: to re-engineer editorial and production processes to produce print and electronic products in parallel work streams and to accelerate the distribution of electronic content, thereby becoming a true electronic publisher.
Our client turned to Innodata Isogen because of our experience in business process re-engineering. Our consulting practice has successfully worked with many publishers and information providers to re-engineer business processes through approaches that streamline and improve workflows, realign organizational structures, apply developments in content management, identify forward-looking technology architectures and fully leverage outsourcing opportunities. All of these activities reduce costs of operation and position businesses to compete more effectively in rapidly changing markets with increasingly complex content distribution channels.
Our engagement was performed in two complementary parts. First, we identified time- and money-saving process improvements that could be implemented within the next six months. Second, we offered long-term recommendations, along with a roadmap and action plan, to re-engineer editorial and production processes that would accommodate print and electronic publishing while reducing publication time and costs.
During this engagement, our consultants analyzed the publisher’s existing processes, identified opportunities for short-term cost savings and recommended a new publishing model to enable the company to achieve its long-term goal of becoming an electronic publisher.
First, our consulting team examined current production processes. We concluded that costs could be cut and production times reduced by offshoring page composition activities and redefining roles to reduce the use of high-value resources to perform commodity tasks.
We then moved onto business process re-engineering. We analyzed the content supply chain along four dimensions: content, organization, process and technology, then created a workflow that separated contentrelated processes from assembly and delivery, improving process efficiencies, lowering costs, reducing complexity and enhancing agility.
Content needed to be available for multiple products and projects early in the production cycle. We used our knowledge of XML-centric workflows to design an XML-based process that would allow print and electronic product assembly to proceed in parallel and enable the customer to use the same content for multiple distribution channels. We redefined organizational roles with low-value tasks being automated or performed by lower- cost resources.
In addition, our team recommended that the publisher deploy a supply-chain wide content repository, an automated workflow management system and advanced technologies to improve the quality and consistency of content. The action plan implemented a phased approach to ensure business continuity during the re-engineering process.
The short-term measures will result in annualized production cost savings of 10 to 15 percent. The long-term process re-engineering will yield a return on investment of more than 30 percent over the next four years. A powerful combination of technology and business process improvements will allow the publisher to replace antiquated applications with newer solutions that are less costly to implement and maintain and to redeploy its staff in more effi cient, cost-effective ways.