eith Hammerbeck started in the magazine business back in 1982 as production manager for one of Advanstar Communications' health care titles. Now, as corporate director of media operations at Advanstar, he oversees production for all the company's brands.
Media Business: What is your biggest current project?
Helping to transition all our operations to an offshore, third-party supplier. We are in the process of outsourcing all of our magazine production, print collateral, directory, classified, Web operations, circulation fulfill-ment, pick-n-pack, copy center and mailing services. In addition to this, I recently added facilities to my list of duties, so I am now involved with all aspects of leases and the other related tasks for our offices across the U.S. and in the U.K.
MB: What are the big challenges facing production departments and how are you preparing for them?
I think the biggest challenges are managing costs in a market with declining print ad revenue. Our current transition to using a third-party supplier for our operations is a big step in that direction. We now have a true variable cost model, so as ad pages decline, our cost for operations goes down in proportion. Hopefully, market conditions will change, and we will be able to enjoy a larger margin due to our reduced cost structure for operations.