E-Proofing = E-fficiency

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As most of us know, driving out costs and driving in efficiency are of utmost importance to astute financial and manufacturing professionals. But to a world-leading pharmaceutical company, the responsibility of quality and efficiency optimization reaches far beyond their finance and operations associates.

 A number of years ago, this Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company underwent a corporate transformation, adopting Six Sigma and explicitly fostering a culture of continuous improvement throughout the entire global organization. Management and all company employees, along with their preferred vendor partners, were challenged to identify and implement quality enhancement and cost reduction initiatives on an ongoing basis.

 Miles - an industry-certified, full service printing and fulfillment supplier - was selected by this pharmaceutical company’s marketing team to help uncover and implement print-related business improvement opportunities. Together, Team Miles, the Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical company’s marketing operations manager and its’ agency worked to identify the current and target conditions. The target condition was crystal clear; Marketing wanted its’ newly printed new product and promotional materials in the hands of its’ sales representatives and health care professionals (HCPs) as quickly as possible and faster than had historically been the case.

 Given this target and knowing that time is money, the group set out to find savings opportunities. They started by mapping the entire print process workflow in the current condition. The amount of time and cost necessary to complete each step in the process was estimated, and obstacles to completing each phase more quickly were highlighted. It became clear that there was a need to reduce the time being dedicated to proofing print deliverables by all parties involved.

The conventional print-proofing process required Miles to develop physical hard proofs. The proofs were then shipped via overnight carrier to the customer and/or its’ agency. The customer would have to wait for the shipment to arrive, open it, review it and then send back the approved hard proof or provide edits. If there were revisions, an additional proof had to be created and there was an additional shipment to the client. Communication was cumbersome and shipping was costly and time-consuming.   

Jointly, the group brainstormed potential solutions. For most documents, it was agreed that the written content and brand logos are the most important communication elements; therefore, color-pleasing deliverables would be suitable. For these documents, the group determined that time and money could be saved, and ease of communication could be enhanced, by moving from the use of physical hard proofs to “electronic soft proofs/e-proofs”.

Miles successfully implemented a web-based proofing process, resulting in faster proof delivery and optimized production timing. Online PDF files are now provided for easy content proofing and real-time, 24/7 communication. Costly and time-consuming shipping of hard proofs has been virtually eliminated. Efficiency and savings have been realized without sacrificing quality, as press operators match to calibrated monitors to ensure color-pleasing deliverables.

 

The client’s Marketing Operations Manager said, “We shaved days off the overall print cycle time, and it became easier for the editors and planners and graphic designers at the agencies to review a soft e-proof when time allowed rather than waiting for a UPS shipment and incurring additional costs.”

Through this partnership, not only has print proofing become more convenient, but also the customer’s costs have been reduced and speed to market has been enhanced. Average turnaround time dropped from 14 to 7.5 days, increasing customer margins by over a million dollars annually! Increased speed to market increases sales potential and allows patients to benefit from the client’s new health care solutions more quickly.

Lynne Churchill, President of Miles Printing, said, "at Miles our teams provide speed to market for our client's deliverables while offering cost savings to yield them margin gains.  Knowing our clients are continually seeking efficiencies through optimization, our teams support this with Miles' agile, innovative, and 100% customer centered culture.”