Innovators: production

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Reed Business Information used to spend a considerable amount of time and money making sure that everything from advertisements to digital photographs was in good enough shape to send to the printer. No longer.

Under the direction of John Blanchard, VP-manufacturing, Reed created a Web site ( that is used to check materials when they come in to be sure they are compliant. An e-mail is immediately sent to clients to inform them if their ads pass muster; if they don't, clients are told what needs to be done to fix any problems.

About 65% of Reed's advertisers use the site and the number grows by "10%, 15%, 20% every month," Blanchard said.

Blanchard also built an internal database of digital photographers nationwide that Reed art directors can use. Bids can be taken through the system, and art directors can add information about what it was like to work with the photographers selected.

Reed has also moved aggressively into digital editions. Last year, it launched digital editions of more than 30 titles.

"It's simply giving our readers a choice, while at the same time we reap some financial benefits," Blanchard said. Currently, Blanchard and his team are in the middle of a project to optimize Reed's supply chain. The company provides its printers with one blast of information that includes details about such things as imposition and bindery needs. "We're in the middle of beta testing that, and it should save plenty of time and money for both us and our suppliers," Blanchard said.

-Mark J. Miller

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