SHORT-RUN BOOKS - Book of One
Companies like Xyan.com and Edwards Brothers Book Manufacturing are employing the latest in digital printing/binding technology to provide complete, closed-loop service, wherein manufacturing is only part of the business process.
Augustine explains: "When a Web order is placed, it's processed from the publisher to Xyan.com manufacturing. When we manufacture a product, it is shipped directly to the user, and we notify the publisher what item has been manufactured and to whom it was shipped. We also include the shipping tracking number; it's a closed-loop process. As we receive orders from the publisher, manufacture and ship the orders, we then close the loop by notifying the publisher that the orders were filled.
"Not so long ago, when we were printing/binding books and shipping them to inventory, the manufacturing processes were critical," Augustine continues. "Today, it's also critical to have an efficient business process. As more business is being conducted on the Web, manufacturing the book is becoming only part of the process. Fulfillment and notification to the publisher are now other critical elements."
Ann Arbor, MI-based Edwards Brothers recently went one step further to provide complete, closed-loop service: It installed what it claims is the nation's first onsite print-on-demand facility to be physically located in the distribution center of a U.S. publishing and distribution company.
"We've compressed the supply chain by installing a digital printing/binding line in a customer's warehouse," declares President John Edwards, of his company's recent venture with 20-year customer, Rowan & Littlefield Publishing Group (RLPG). "We installed a few print engines, a binder, a scanning station and the necessary operators to fulfill Rowan & Littlefield's inventory needs. What we've done is give the publisher its own print-on-demand, short-run operation."
The print-on-demand site, which was installed in RLPG's Blue Ridge Summit, PA-based facility, became operational in July 2000. Edwards says that printing and binding short-run books, on-demand, within 24 to 48 hours, has made the term "out of stock" obsolete for this pioneering publishing firm.