Stop and think about the process you have in place for distributing your educational publications.
How many steps do you have to go through when moving content from the creator to the recipient? And how many logins do you need to manage that those publications?
If you’re like many of the organizations we’ve seen, chances are, the mere contemplation of the process will give you a headache. You use one system to collect content, a different vendor to produce the final product, a third to manage inventory and fulfillment and possibly a fourth to handle e-commerce. Your system has probably developed piecemeal as you expanded your offerings and reach. And now you’re stuck with a complex series of vendors and systems that you have to manage.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just start over and build a fulfillment process with the components you need and the ability to grow in the future? Our latest white paper, “Simplifying the Production, Fulfillment and Distribution of Educational Seminar Content,” addresses the simplicity of a streamlined process for your production, fulfillment and distribution.
Here’s an excerpt that outlines three steps to simplify your process:
Step 1: Understand Your Needs. The first step to cutting costs and saving time with your process is to clearly identify and understand your needs. You need to ask:
- How many different publications are you managing?
- How often is content updated on average?
- How much material do you ship of each publication over a set period of time?
- Are you dealing only with printed publications or do you need a digital alternative?
You will also need to understand what information you need to manage your publications.
- Are there specific reports that you will need to understand and manage production runs, inventory and sales?
- Will you need an online store to allow end users to make purchases directly from inventory?
- Will you be charging money on your store or will you just be shipping materials?
Step 2: Define Your Objectives. The next step is to define your objectives in reviewing your publication, production and fulfillment process. Having clearly defined objectives is critical to establishing a process that best meets your needs.
- Do you want to reduce cost, outsource labor, simplify the process or make it easier for a client to order materials?
- Are you looking for better reporting on sales and inventory or the ability to update content more frequently?
Step 3: Create an Efficient Process. Once you understand your needs and have established your objectives, you need to create a process to meet your goals. This is often the most complicated step. Some organizations involve various vendors to cover different steps of the project. They may choose a printer or CD replicator for production work, a different vendor to manage inventory and fulfillment and an additional vendor for handling their e-commerce site. It can be nearly impossible to determine if it is more cost effective to produce ultra-short runs of 5-20 units or long runs of 200 units if you use multiple vendors.
The easiest change to make is to consolidate your outsourcing into one or two vendors. By using the minimal number of vendors to produce your content, manage inventory and fulfill your orders, you can better define the run lengths based on the specific needs of your publications.