Archive for the ‘Bottom Line’ Category
Thursday, August 25th, 2011 by Autumn Jones
It is not too early to start thinking about manufacturing increases for 2012 budgets. There are some interesting trends in the industry that have occurred over the summer that may help publishers in their planning process.
Printers are reporting that business is slightly better than 2010. Advertising sales were up during the first half of the year and they look to be leveling off going into Q4. Page counts and print runs continue to fall from previous levels and that is contributing to additional capacity on the print side. It is still a buyer’s market for those publishers considering going out for bid. There is competition for new business and holding existing accounts is a priority for incumbent printers.
Many printers continue to diversify their portfolios by adding non-print services. Several printers have partnered with companies that provide digital solutions. This allows printers to become full service partners as more publishers move to an outsourcing model. Printers with membership or association titles are looking to offer services that will enable them to learn more about their publisher’s customers by providing additional value.
Commercial printers are providing more digital offerings particularly on the direct marketing side of the business with personal URLs and one-to-one campaigns. They are also looking to upgrade their IT departments with the new focus on software technology solutions and digital products.
All printers are finding ways to be more efficient at a lower cost through workflow changes, new equipment purchases and diversification.
Paper prices stayed flat or increased by a small amount in July. The third quarter is usually a strong time for paper purchases due to the fall and holiday season catalogues; this is not the trend this year due to tighter planning on page counts and print runs. The market is soft and should remain that way for the balance of the year.
It is a little harder to predict the paper market in 2012 as there may be capacity challenges if some of the mills that have been shut down do not come back on line. There is still talk about additional mill consolidation as well that will impact the capacity levels.
The good news for 2012 budgets is that the USPS did not pursue the exigent (higher than inflation) rate case. The January 2012 increase will be based on the CPI and is expected to be slightly higher than 2%.
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 by Autumn Jones
The annual TRENDS Compensation Report results were released this week, and the findings concluded that overall, association communications professionals are paid more in DC than in other parts of the country.
For more information on the TRENDS compensation report, visit here for the DC report or here for the National version.
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 by Autumn Jones
As the cost of paper and ink continue to rise, the nation continues to emphasize “green” initiatives, and people are increasingly turning to portable devices for their reading preferences, a lot of Scientific Technical and Medical publishers are moving journals and publications into PDFs, instead of expending the money to print them.
Part of the allure of PDF publications, aside from the cost benefit for the association, is the ease of access. PDFs can be saved and stored to desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and are, for the most part, universally accessible across operating systems. With over 83% of STM publications and journals now available online (and growing!), libraries are able to continue to stock all of the scholarly research on which the scientists report without having to sacrifice publications because of budget. The speed of delivery is almost instantaneous, and there are more advanced metrics on just who is reading the publications.
Some are apprehensive about the decrease in price at which the journals can be sold, but this is handily accounted for by the significant decrease in printing costs. Journals can become living documents, constantly updated, linked from one to the next, able to be condensed or expanded to suit individual readers’ needs.
Concerns around open access can be assuaged by validation practices that require logging in or entering an authentication code when trying to access articles from mobile devices. This allows even more metrics to be reported back to the publisher, but also allows for customization by users for a better overall experience.
PDFs allow the publisher to maintain control over the work, while allowing the reader to carry it along and search the document with ease. And, if downloads translate into purchases, the business model around journals is unharmed. As the industry and the nation continue to move into the digital age, print publications are increasingly becoming “print to file” publications.
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 by user
By Randy Townsend
Though most pundits agree that the recession is over, this does not necessarily mean that every organization is experiencing growth this quarter. During a slower period, there are plenty of things you can do to stay productive.
Assess the software that your staff uses on a regular basis
Pay close attention to the capabilities of the programs and how they are most often being used. For example, if you are using Microsoft Outlook as your primary email system, encourage your employees to utilize the additional features, such as the calendar, to schedule appointments and meetings. Make sure that all of your software is up to date. A lot of time, the Help menu will guide you through the nooks and crannies of the program.
Do some housekeeping
Designate time for your staff to organize their workspace. Delete obsolete and unused files from your network drives. Analyze and update operational procedures to streamline the process.
If you are not doing so on a regular basis, schedule one-on-one meetings with your staff to make sure you understand the pulse of your office. Challenge them to find ways to improve current processes and propose the implementation of changes.
Research and Develop Yourself
Make sure that you are up to date with the latest trends in your professional environment, from management to operations. Listen to Podcasts, like the Harvard Business Review’s free downloadable “HBR Ideacasts,” or the project management podcasts, http://pm411.org/. Staying engaged will bring out your best.
Rather than succumbing to the pressures of hard times, prepare yourassociation for Life After Recession.
Randy Townsend is a Team Leader in Journals Production at the American Geophysical Union. He is currently securing a Master’s Degree in Publishing at The George Washington University.
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 by user
If you have been following The Road to a Paperless Workflow series, so far you have assembled your team, managed the transition through critical questions, tested with a small sample of the affected groups, and challenged existing procedures and job descriptions. Effectively, you have passed the Ready and Set stages. Now, it is time to go!
But, no so fast! In order to achieve a sustainable workflow, you will need to properly maintain the employees that you have mobilized. Make sure that the workstations of those who will now be staring at a computer monitor for a majority of the day will accommodate for this kind of change.
According to www.youreyesite.net, the latest ergonomic standards for computer vision include the following:
Control your environment: The recommended distance you should be from your monitor is an extended arm length to the tips of the fingers.
Adjust the alignment of the monitor to accommodate for your height: Line up the monitor so that the eyes are looking down slightly at approximately 10-15 degrees
Make sure your workspace utilizes proper lighting: Most offices were designed to provide sufficient light required for a paper-dependent workflow. Such light, in addition to the glare that may be caused by a nearby window, can negatively impact your ability to stare at a monitor for extended periods of time. Adjust screen brightness and contrast to provide balance with room lighting. Consider using filters and adjusting shades and blinds in regular intervals.
Incorporate the use of rest or alternate task breaks throughout the workday: This will allow employees to relieve the stress on their eyes caused by shifting focus from a distant point source, like a person walking towards you in the hall, to a near point source, such as the text displayed on a computer monitor.
www.youreyesite.net is the blog for Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, Optometrists serving the Rockville, Potomac and Gaithersburg suburbs of Washington, DC for over 40 years.
Randy Townsend is a team leader in journals production at the American Geophysical Union. He is currently securing a Master’s Degree in Publishing at The George Washington University. Randy is also a freelance writer. See his interview with Basketball Wives’ Shaunie O’Neal in the latest issue of A-Game Magazine.
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 by Autumn Jones
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 by user
By Nicole Harris
Like most Americans this holiday season, I’m being thrifty both at home and at work. At work though, I’m feeling downright Grinch-like. I must cough up an extra $25,000—at least—from my proposed 2011 budget. I won’t and can’t plump up my projected revenue for our print and online titles. The industry we serve is still flat heading into 2011 so conservative goals must stay. But after surviving 2009 and limping through 2010, I was really hoping to do three things next year:
- Fatten up my skeletal crew with extra freelance
- Add back circulation to our print runs
- Allocate dollars to launch new products
2011, I told my staff, was all about rebuilding.
I wasn’t ready to give up on these goals when my boss told me to revise. I walked back to my office and pulled out a paper weight cost analysis I reviewed in August. We’d already changed paper in 2009 to reduce costs and these were extra reduction options I’d requested from our printer. These would go a long way to ease my budget cough-up. As I whittle line items, I’m more convinced that what has to give is the wrapping. Our subscribers have seen most magazines skinny down, so it’s not like they’d be surprised—if they even noticed a paper change. Today I read the draft of one of our January industry forecast articles that sums it up: Minimal growth and tight lending conditions will continue to affect investments. The smart survivors are reevaluating their business plans and product mix, investing where they can for future prosperity.
A prosperous 2011 depends on the package and how it’s made, not the wrapping.
Nicole Harris is vice president of the National Glass Association and is responsible for its print and electronic publications.
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 by Joanne Harap
Up to your eyes in budget planning? Here’s an outlook report for 2011.
Your manufacturing costs for your publications will continue to be one of your largest expenses as you start your budget review. However, there have been a few significant changes in the manufacturing arena that should be taken into consideration during this process.
Paper— Paper prices have increased an average of $8.00/cwt. for text stock since January 2010 with the latest October 1 pricing announcement. The paper mills have worked to get back to the pricing levels of late 2008 before paper prices started to drop. Your budgets will start at a considerably higher price point than your 2010 budget. Predicting paper price increases for 2011 is akin to looking into a crystal ball. No one knows what paper demand will look like in Q1; however there is talk that mills are trying for another increase for January 1, 2011. You may want to budget for at least one 5% increase starting in Q1 or Q2 . This is a fairly conservative route that can be revisited at the end of the year or in early 2010.
Postage—The association industry received very good news in late September when the Postal Regulatory Commission turned down the USPS request for an exigent rate increase for January 2011. You should still plan for a 3% increase in May 2011 based on the CPI provisions of the current postal law. There is also a possibility that the USPS might ask to start this increase prior to the traditional May increase date.
Printing—Most print contract increases are based on the change in CPI over a 12 month period. The change in CPI growth through August 2010 is 1.5%. Review your current print contract to review the CPI calculation. It is always a good idea to confirm your assumption with your print salesperson. This CPI increase is for all pricing in your contract with the exception of ink, paper and freight. The paper increase is a known fact; you should ask your printer about any potential ink increases.
These are the biggest areas to review and account for in your 2011 budget. The outcome may be difficult to justify in light of cost savings initiatives. However, you will be in a much better position to present realistic budgets given the current commodity changes and CPI increase.