RR Donnelley -- Giant Transformation
"It really touches everything that we do. We use data-driven processes to provide shared insights to the root cause issues," he reveals. "Combining the skill of our people with state-of-the-art, continuous improvement methodologies can take our process and manufacturing ability to a new level. All of this has helped us build a more efficient manufacturing platform that provides significant flexibility, responsiveness, cycle time reduction and cost savings that benefit our customers."
The following is a look at each of the five business segments that operate under the RR Donnelley Print Solutions umbrella: books, telecommunications, magazines, catalogs/retail and premedia.
The company realized more than $705 million in U.S. sales for the book publishing services segment during 2002, serving niches such as trade, elementary-high school, college, religious, children's, professional and reference.
RR Donnelley has invested in the segment, according to Allen, as it takes on more of a global approach to doing business. It now boasts book facilities in Latin America, China and Mexico.
"In talking to our customers several years ago about their business challenges, we realized that the book distribution model is not effective, particularly for mid-list/second-tier titles," he explains. "The problem becomes that a title printed 15 years ago might only have annual unit demand across the U.S. for, say, 100 books.
"People talk about print-on-demand and digital printing, but it hasn't been particularly impactful in the trade book business, and there's a reason for that. Digital printing is a product-centered approach to the problem. Our book business has developed an inventory management solution. We work with book customers to develop a more integrated solution, a component of which may include the use of digital printing technologies."
The solution needs to take into account a number of variables, according to Allen, including the management of short-count transactions, inventory cover ratios, total warehousing costs, cost of capital, cash flow goals, what type of interfaces are needed and how to project how many units of demand are likely to occur for a specific title. In short, we look at the total cost of ownership in addressing the issue of inventory management, not just the traditional print unit cost.