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Business Management

Mar 1, 1997 12:00 AM

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BOOK MARKETS ANALYZED Book publishing and printing are expected to enjoy good growth with only a slight slowdown toward the end of the century. So says a new study analyzing the market for end-use products for book printing. The study was completed by Clayton/Curtis/Cottrell, a management services firm in Louisville, CO.

The explosion of computers, the Internet and interactive communications is providing a large growth segment for technical books, according to the study. It goes on to say, however, that reference books, book clubs and mail order books will slow in growth or decline.

The Dept. of Commerce reports there are approximately 575 companies in the U.S. providing book printing services.

Recent studies indicate that the price of books is becoming an issue with consumers. In contrast, however, consumers appear to be resistant to reading books on-line--at least using current technology.

Although a slight slowing of book purchasing patterns is projected around 2000, most declines in the growth of books can be associated with a decline in literacy and reading skills rather than a threat from electronic alternatives.

More information on purchasing the study is available from Clayton/Curtis/Cottrell, 1722 Madison Court, Louisville, CO (303) 665-2005.

For more information, please refer to the chart on page 10 of the April 1997 American Printer.

A NEW SET OF BELIEFS "The new business revolution continues to sweep through the workplace and it is forcing monumental changes in staffing, hiring practices, the employee's role in problem-solving and innovation, supplier relationships, responsibility levels and how we look at our customer," asserts Jeff Dewar, author, lecturer and consultant.

Speaking recently at the NAQP Owners Conference, Dewar warned attendees that companies need a new set of beliefs. He also challenged printers to move forward, changing their beliefs to attempt to new ways of doing business.

Among the new behaviors that Dewar recommends is the adoption of a "people program."

"There must be commitment and participation by all employees and managers to solve problems, plan work, prevent failure and improve processes," asserts Dewar. "Everyone must become obsessed about change, improvement and performance."

The Seattle-based author also counsels that the customer is king. "He or she is everything. Whatever an individual, department or organization does, it is done for a customer, whether internal or external. There must be an eagerness to comply with the actual or implied contractual requirements of goods and services."

Printers must develop a learning company, advises Dewar. "Create a focused, aggressive and flexible program of education and training for all employees and managers at all levels. You must do this to equip them with the thought patterns and skills necessary in a continuously and rapidly changing environment."

Finally, search out and reduce bureaucracy. "Question the need for each support service. Evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of meetings and the approval process."

SNAP, GRACol AND SWOP The Printing Industries of America (PIA) and its national affiliate, the Graphic Communications Assn. (GCA), have scheduled the General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography (GRACol) for release in May of this year. GRACol is a set of guidelines intended to facilitate better communications and more effective exchange of information and materials between designers, print buyers and commercial offset printers.

The GCA GRACol committee has developed the guidelines based on information received in a 1994 survey of print buyers and commercial printers, both of whom saw a need for guidelines that allow the exchange of information and materials to prevent mistakes, re-work missed deadlines and assist with customer communications.

GRACol's first edition will be distributed free of charge.

In addition, CGA and PIA are coordinating a series of national training programs based on GRACol and its core concepts. These programs will be produced by PIA local affiliates.

For more information, contact Amit Sharma at GCA: (703) 519-8165.

SGAUA BECOMES DGITA The Scitex Graphic Arts Users Assn. (SGAUA) has become the Digital Graphic Imaging Technical Assn. (DGITA). According to the association president William Hepler, the move follows months of member input and a careful assessment of global industry trends toward multi-platform digital communications systems.

"Individually and collectively, our membership represents a broad cross-section of companies using a variety of solutions. This new name reflects that rich diversity and our organization's unparalleled digital resources, human talent and industry connections," Hepler points out.

DGITA membership is open to all companies and individuals in the digital graphic communications field.

For more information, contact Rob Doster, DGITA director of communications, at (800) 858-0489.

PIA ARGUES AGAINST EPA PROPOSAL The Printing Industries of America (PIA), Alexandria, VA, is questioning the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) plan to institute more stringent ozone and particulate matter emissions standards. The EPA proposal would lower the ozone standard from a current concentration limit of 0.12 parts per million (ppm) to 0.08 ppm. This change could cause approximately 335 counties across the country to become non-attainment areas. For printers, this could result in tighter emission restrictions.

"The EPA has not been able to achieve the current standards," comments Benjamin Y. Cooper, PIA's senior vice president of government affairs. "It seems pointless to tighten requirements at this time. This proposal will confuse the public. Communities can actually improve air quality but appear to be failing air quality standards because the line has been moved."

The EPA also is feeling congressional pressure on this issue. The Senate Small Business Committee sent a joint letter to the EPA questioning why the agency failed to comply with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act (SBREFA) when developing the proposal.

SBREFA requires federal agencies to assess the economic impact of any new regulations on the small business community. EPA's failure to comply with SBREFA will restrict the implementation of its new ozone proposal.

For additional information, call Cooper at (703) 519-8115.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS FOR LINE SUPERVISORS There is a new model and new skills that line supervisors must possess to assure your company's success claims Brian Gill, senior vice president of human resources for the Printing Industries of America (PIA). "Although understanding the printing process is important," maintains the PIA exec, "they must be able to develop and maintain internal relationships and provide leadership for their section or department." Speaking at the recent Non-heatset Web Offset Section Conference, Gill detailed a new model for line supervisors. This model can serve as the basis for evaluating, training, hiring or promoting personnel. Line supervisors should: 1. Ensure that resources are available to produce a quality product on time. 2. Develop team maturity. 3. Represent the team in plant-wide activities. 4. Train and lead the team in problem solving activities. 5. Motivate the team toward goal achievement. 6. Assume responsibility for support activities. In order to carry out these duties, line supervisors must possess certain attitudes. Of utmost importance, says Gill, is understanding company goals. Line supervisors must: 1. Have a clear vision of where the company is going. 2. Share the same values as the company. 3. Be open in their face-to-face communication. This includes being approachable and capable of interacting well with all types of individuals, including customers. 4. Understand the need for immediate feedback. There is no such thing as overcommunication. 5. Trust the staff and allow them to make mistakes.