Keith Hammerbeck started his publishing career at Advanstar Communications in 1982 when it was known as Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Back then, he was a production manager for a healthcare title; now, he's Advanstar's corporate director-media operations and is responsible for managing printer relations, overseeing the facilities, and managing offshore production suppliers, prepress and creative ser-vices. He discussed some of the biggest issues facing production executives.
Media Business: What are the biggest issues on your plate and how do you think you'll deal with them?
Keith Hammerbeck: Being able to provide effective backroom operations at the lowest possible cost while maintaining quality and service levels. (I'll deal with them with) constant mentoring, monitoring and training of our offshore production teams.
MB: Where are your offshore suppliers and how often do you visit them?
Hammerbeck: India. Trips to India have been a team effort, so a few different people have gone there and stayed for various lengths of time. We have found that face-to-face time with them is more effective than doing it 100% remotely. I have been there twice, once during the vendor-selection process and once for training.
MB: What are the biggest issues in the production world right now for b-to-b publishers that you think need to be addressed?
Hammerbeck: To keep costs low so that print can remain profitable and transitioning from a print to print/digital process to provide our customers with the products they need—while trying to leverage the experience of traditional print people in new digital projects.