Book Printing Outlook — Opportunities Abound
It has been a year since Quebecor World reorganized its U.S. book and magazine platform. The move—part of the company’s five-point transformation plan to improve performance—entailed the closing of its Kingsport, TN, facility and the redeployment of existing and new assets. In the last 18 months alone, Quebecor World has plunked down nearly $100 million to augment that space.
“The new (web press) equipment we’ve put in every one of our facilities is a hybrid-type solution—wide formats, more pages, quicker and, at same time, they have very efficient makeready capabilities,” Clarke says. “The middle ground of some of these markets has just disappeared. You’ve got big books where publishers need a million or two million of them. The good news: When Oprah talks about one on TV, you need an extra 400,000 of them. That equipment...some of our presses now are doing a million impressions a day, doubles the amount of pages. We’ve had presses, the same press, do more than 100 makereadies in a single day.”
Quebecor World has instituted “hub and spoke” technology with data centers which process content that can be migrated to any of its worldwide facilities, along with an enterprise scheduling system and other links that bring the company network—and its customers—close together. Other solutions have tightened Quebecor World’s supply chain and its Latin American operations, which has tripled book sales volume.
In order for Quebecor World to thrive in 2008, the company needs to be “the easiest guy to do business with,” according to Clarke. That entails, among other things, being responsive to client needs for driving more turn time out of the final product’s equation.
“It will be interesting to see if there’s a radical change in paper prices, and how that might impact the ‘B’ list books,” Clarke says. “If there is a radical uptick in prices, I think we’ll see a more aggressive application of speed-to-market, extreme publishing concepts. Publishers will be challenged to manage inventory and, at the same time, it becomes a challenging environment for us to assist them in getting product to market.”