Posts Tagged ‘supply chain’

Something’s Gotta Give…

February 22, 2010

Free? Free? OK, almost free? No, no how about; at least do it at a loss for me?

Sound familiar?

Over the last 20 years in this trade I’ve seen and heard of more and more companies trying to conjure up magic numbers that maintain their clients illusions that they are getting a bargain. In fact some companies will take hit on the operational cost of producing the work just to have the client under their belt.

And what about cases where a potential client promises high spends that never materialise? Sales guys that expect the company to make investments in time, people and resource for a client that isn’t worth it’s value. I know your thinking that “any financial controller worth his/her salt wouldn’t allow this to happen” – yet it does, and will continue to do so.

These are all examples of how the life is being sucked out of what it actually costs to do the work. That and the high salaries of senior members of the companies that are nothing but a drain on resources – great if their bring in work, but what a dead weight if they don’t!

Anyway, thinking lets consider for example the Publishing industry; someone somewhere must have got some big bonuses for driving the cost per page down to near nothing, but the cost was at the industry’s detriment. It’s all well and good reducing the costs to the client so much that it keeps everyone else from getting a look in, then offshoring it all to India or China, but at some point something breaks! The client’s expectations of how much ‘stuff’ costs to produce are so high (i.e. they expect it at such a low cost) that companies can’t or don’t have the money to invest in the infrastructure needed to service them in the manner that they expect. OK, some companies do get deals on who pays for staff or what the kick backs are of different parts of the supply chain, but on the whole it is now a zero numbers game. Hard work and dedication just isn’t part of the equation anymore and reputation means diddly squat nowadays – in fact requtation could actually be a ‘worst enemy’.

Under such circumstances, is it any surprise that so much work is making it’s way out to India and China. Many moons ago it would have been eastern block countries until their cost of living went up and subsequently the cost of outsourcing rose with it forcing companies to find cheaper solutions – will we see the same with India and China? If so, where to next?

It confuses me slightly why clients source UK companies who outsource their work? Is that again something for them to save money on? I mean if I were a client and I discovered my pre-media operation outsourced I’d be pretty annoyed if they hadn’t told me. If I was in the position as a customer of course one part of me would say “why should I care because I’m getting a great price” but another part of me would say “I could just source an offshore company to work for me anyway”. After all most of them have representitives in my country anyway so what do I gain by having a ‘piggy in the middle’ -surely that ‘piggy’ is just getting fat for doing, er, well not much at all really!?

Well, maybe not that fat! I am sure that you have all been watching the media news recently where a number of ‘piggies’ (or middle men) have been going under. A sign of the times me thinks, where the bacon has been sliced too thin for them to survive off. We can of course stand on the side lines and opine at the fate of these middle men and their companies who clearly “had it coming”. However, at the end of the day these are people’s livelihoods that we are watching disappear down the pan – livelihoods that in some cases have been treated with total disregard and I am not just talking about their own employees, as there is a whole supply chain affected by such sad and sorry stories of mismanagement!

Of course, under such business circumstances something eventually has got to give! And I really do think that it is going to take one of the ‘big players’  to fall for the industry to realise that greed is not good for our business.

Author: Gary George

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Cartoon credit for Corporate Profits to Clay Bennett

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Do Your CSR’s Drive New Business?

February 5, 2010

Ever wondered what is being said to your existing clients?

Are your customer service representatives fully aware of your company’s capabilities?

Have you joined the dots between your business units?

Does your business development team understand the end-to-end processes?

Do your staff development plans tie in with your business strategy?

Does your branding really communicate what you do?

These seem pretty simple questions right? Well in my travels I have seen so much political action within companies that the answers to the above questions aren’t as positive as you would expect.

Since my post is actually about Customer Services teams I’m just going to spend a few paragraphs explaining why your CSR’s are the front-line of your business and how, with very little effort and a little reward, these business peripherals could win you more business from existing clients.

First of all and most critically your CSR’s have daily if not hourly contact with the customer. If they don’t have a clue of the full range of capabilities within your business (and I mean more than the one day tour of your facility when they joined) then how the heck are they in a position to recognise additional business opportunities with your client. They may only be an interface to say artwork origination, yet the customer may also be dealing with the marketing communication and thus have a requirement for multi-channel output. Well wait a minute, your CSR’s are working for a pre-media company who deals directly with multi-channel communication…!

Your CSR’s inevitably get very close to the customer and I’ve even know a couple that got married from a client/supplier relationship that went a little further! They go to business meetings, socials, drinks and events together, places where your CSR’s could leverage your clients friends or connections to sell your company without even breaking a sweat! Look at the statistics for Facebook or LinkedIn and see just how incestuous our industry is. Look at mine as an example; connections in every type of supply chain vertical for our industry and I am always getting asked to make introductions for new business opportunities (should really take commission, but never do!)

(more…)

Tunicca Offers CMS Watch Reports in Europe

January 12, 2010

Those of you who visit this blog often will know that we aren’t afraid to occasionally blow our own trumpet. It is therefore with much fanfare that we would like to announce a partnership with the highly regarded digital content technolgy researcher CMS Watch. It’s taken some time for us to sort out the paperwork and then Christmas and our busy schedules didn’t help, but at last we have finalised a deal that enables Tunicca to provide the revered CMS Watch reports and premium consultancy for DAM solutions. So naturally our first response to the news was to get an email out to all of our listed contacts, write this blog and of course draft a press release to complete the announcement!

So, what does all of this this mean exactly? Well primarily this enables Tunicca to provide the CMS Watch reports and consultancy service to pre-media companies in Europe that are looking at either expanding, changing or implementing a DAM solution. The reports complement Tunicca’s highly regarded business process analysis and enhances the reviews of DAM solutions that we carry out for customers. This in turn will help to ensure that we can assist customers in choosing a DAM system that can fit into the actual business requirements, objectives and strategy of a company.

From its inception we have insisted that our company Tunicca remains 100% independent in order to deliver truly impartial expertise to our the market. So it could seem that we are selling out and becoming just another technology reseller as we now have the ability to sell CMS Watch products. Well that is far from being the case as CMS Watch also prides itself on and fiercely protects its independence. All of their technology reports are written by chosen industry specialists and are completely objective, based on factual evidence garnered during their extensive research. So as you can see there is a very real and tangible complement between our two companies and we are looking forward very much to this partnership.

Our belief, much like CMS Watch, is that when it comes to technology there is a real need in the market for independent views, opinion and analysis based on facts and not vendor marketing spin and propaganda. So we will continue to build our company based on this principle and we are pleased to be partnering with a body such as CMS Watch that echoes this conviction.

About Tunicca
Tunicca is an independent, international supplier of Business Process Analysis solutions to the Pre-media industry. Headquartered in London, Tunicca utilises a number of carefully selected industry experts to deliver a variety of knowledge based solutions to the technology driven world of Pre-media.
With extensive experience in all areas of Pre-media Tunicca is able to advise and assist companies of all sizes in a variety of business issues and challenges. Tunicca operates in the entire value chain and can act across international borders to effectively assist its largest multinational customers with their supply chain challenges whether large or small.
About CMS Watch
CMS Watch™ evaluates content-oriented technologies, offering head-to-head comparative reviews of leading solutions. Through highly detailed technical evaluations and online education courses, CMS Watch helps sort out the complex landscape of potential solutions so that buyers can minimize the time and effort to identify technologies suited to their particular requirements. To retain its independence as a totally impartial analyst firm, CMS Watch works solely for solutions buyers and never for vendors.
About DAM
Short for digital asset management, a system that creates a centralized repository for digital files that allows the content to be archived, searched and retrieved. The digital content is stored in databases called asset repositories while metadata such as photo captions, article key words, advertiser names, contact names, file names or low-resolution thumbnail images are stored in separate databases called media catalogues and point to the original items.
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What is Pre-media? – You Must be Kidding….Part I

November 11, 2009

foot-soakBear with me OK, this blog does eventually get onto Pre-media and why people are asking what it is. Firstly though; what a time we had here at Tunicca last week! The first trade show for our company and now we have had time for our sore feet recover and  analyse our participation at mediaPro 09. Despite the number of trade shows I have done in the past the physical demands involved in standing on a stand for a predetermined number of days never fails to surprise me.  I am pleased to say that the sore feet, back, neck, etc. have now all subsided – and it was only a 2 day show this time, I must be getting old!

I must say that it seems an age ago since last Tuesday’s preparation and the very slight panic that we felt when we realised that we our graphics hadn’t arrived at the venue. At that point in time we had a shell scheme but no Tunicca messages or brand colours! Thankfully our printer rushed the banners to us in time (thanks Paddy) and we were up and running and ready for action.

I have to say that our overriding impression of mediaPro 09 was the incredible amount of people who asked what Pre-media is. What is even more amazing is that this was a show that held Pre-media as a core element of its focus. So why is it that so many, upon looking at our stand, asked us….“so what is Pre-media then?” Is the term really that new? I think not – just ask the  representative of RR Donnelleys who recently insisted that it has been around since 1995 (highly debatable, but I will let Gary tell you the reasons why we contest this).

wikipedia-logoAnyway that is a small point and the important issue here is that, despite its now widespread use, there seems to be either confusion or total ignorance surrounding this important area.  In Part II of ‘What is Pre-media? – You Must be Kidding…’ we expand on the definition that we recently posted on Wikipedia. ‘Pre-media’ is a term that used so frequently now across the industry and it is a widely accepted part of the media supply chain – so why is there so much uncertainty?

Whilst I am on the subject of Pre-media, here in the UK I must congratulate the efforts of the BPIF (British Printing Industries Federation) who have emraced this whole area by starting an offshoot called DotGain.org. The organisation has been created to assist the traditional UK print sector in satisfying the demand of creatives and marketeers in CPC’s, publishers and advertisers to exploit all of the new access channels that they have to consumers. This should be interesting to watch and, if they want us to, be involved in. The big question is whether it will breathe new life into printers’ pre-press departments across the country as they adapt and flex to meet new demands imposed by this new era – or will it be a missed opportunity? Either way Tunicca will be on hand to help!dotgain

AuthorSean Runchman

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A Nice Colour Project to Close the Week

June 27, 2009

OK Gary I give in – so here you go; at last I am pleased and honoured to add to the Tunicca Blog. Now, this is my first time – yes I am a virgin blogger – so please be gentle with me! My first challenge of course is to select a subject to write about and to try to construct a nice little blog that informs and has as few spelling mostakes as possible (darn, that’s a bad start).

So, just a little bit about my day yesterday. I visited a rather large Pre-media organisation in London to start the first day of a large colour quality program for them. First of all; North to South London on a warm sunny day – well I have to say that I’ve had more comfortable long haul, economy class flights to Sydney! But I will save my rant about London’s sweaty train and underground system for another time.

Regarding the project initiation; a most enjoyable experience as we began the construction of a framework of a system to audit, monitor and ultimately improve the level of colour quality being supplied by this particular organisation’s numerous and diverse print suppliers. This is all based around our good friend ISO 12647-2 and the idea is to use this standard as a benchmark and tool to aid the printers in ensuring an ongoing improvement of colour reproduction.

But four colour process work is just the start, as we will also aim to help them produce guidelines for the reproduction of brand colours for the numerous blue chip customers that utilise the expertise of this fine company.

That’s all I can tell you I’m afraid ladies and gentlemen as discretion is my middle name. Just good to be involved in a project that will reach out to many printers and make such a massive difference for our customer and their customers. Just a shame that the day was tainted by the sweaty, overcrowded, multi legged, protracted and inevitably late train journey!

Anyway, how was that for a first blog? I rather enjoyed that – more to follow.

Author: Sean Runchman