Been an interesting couple of weeks for me – I finally took some holiday and immediately fell ill with E-Coli – without visiting any farms! I have to say not the nicest illness to contract, but hey over that now. While I was away I tried so hard to keep away from the computer and blogging but couldn’t help but notice how my daily google alerts are now extremely frequent with the term Pre-media. It seems to have become synonymous with Pre-press now as all news reports on Pre-press companies appear to refer to them as Pre-media companies as well…..
Anyway, recently we have seen Adobe finalise their acquisition of Omniture for 1.8bn USD (well someone hasn’t felt the effects of the recession!), their beta release of Adobe Photoshop for the iPhone (something I will try and cover in another blog if Adobe ever release the app in the UK!) and some high profile web based companies press releasing the use of Adobe technologies under their bonnets. The competition is also hotting up for Adobe as Avairy.com has secured funding to expand their online graphic engine services as a direct attack on Adobe Online. If Avairy do well then they are prime to be snapped up by one of the big market players (Microsoft, Apple or Google). Hey, you never know Adobe might even make an offer if the Competition & Monopoly Committee let them!
Right, now onto business; something that caught my attention on the first day of my holiday (while I was waiting for NHS Direct to call me back) was a story on BBC Breakfast about supermarkets using their power to drive down prices in the supply chain yet they still turn huge profits. Their maintain that the consumer wants better prices, yet the executives get huge salaries and huge bonuses. I was thinking this mirrors what the print industry is suffering at the hands of the big players in the industry. Saying this over the weekend I heard a story of how 2 major UK based Pre-media companies who are undercutting the competition to win the business even though it would mean they would lose money on the work. Well, I say they would loss money, but actually they would put pressure on the supply chain to maintain their profit while driving others to the edge of extinction.
During a recession we see that the survival of the fittest really comes into effect and especially in the print and pre-media world. But the fittest used to be those who were big and had huge buying power, but now the fittest has transformed into those who are small and well managed. I described it this morning as layers in a cake, as the big companies grow managers justify the need for more staff or more managers to service the client and this is all well and good whilst the income is high and everyone is happy. However, as that income drops the managers look for more efficient ways of producing the same work and cutting costs from the bottom up, but at the bottom is the foundations of the business and this is where the bread & butter is produced. Yes make it more efficient, but make it efficient with a view of cutting out layers of the cake, not the foundations of your business.
I’ve seen, heard and experienced this – where complete layers have eventually been removed from an organization. At the time fear and panic about survival drive this, but that fear and panic is more about change and managed properly that change will be embraced by the remaining layers. When your bread & butter workers understand the value they bring and feel the effects themselves then you will generate better business. But if your workers hear that Mr Joe Bloggs manager is getting an XXXX bonus when half of them are about to be made redundant then the moral of your workforce drops to an unimaginable level and that’s when your clients suffer.
Author: Gary George
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