Marshall Cavendish, a pioneer of serialized part-work publications, is blazing a trail in emerging Central and Eastern European markets, using the Vio Digital Workflow Suite (VDWS) to cut through complex international workflows.
Publishing part-works and educational materials since the 1960s, Marshall Cavendish is now seeing meteoric growth of circulations of its titles in the former eastern bloc countries. By implementing the VDWS, the publisher has gained full control of its communications with a diverse community of specialist contributing editors, designers, translators and suppliers, in territories as widespread as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Ukraine.
Managing Director, Peter Barber explains: “In the post-Communist era, consumers in the region have displayed an enormous appetite for information and self-education. This makes these prime markets for collectible publications, which offer an affordable way for people to build a personal library of up-to-the-minute reference materials.”
Initial concept and design creation is undertaken in-house in the UK, before further development is outsourced to external packagers. Most publications are then distributed to local publishing partners for localization, adaptation and translation, and the finished product is printed, marketed and distributed locally too. However, overall control and responsibility for each product rests with the UK Running Projects team, which oversees and approves all editorial and finished layouts, to uphold the quality and consistency of the company’s products.
Art Editor Chensie Le Roy Chen comments, “With up to five new partwork products published each year, the pace of output is intense, so transferring data accurately, quickly and on schedule is fundamental to our success. At particular points in the product development cycle, the movement and management of information can be intensely time-critical. To put it bluntly, if it doesn’t get there on time, it’s disastrous for our business.
“Before we brought Vio in, tracking incoming emails and attachments was giving us a real headache,“ continues Chen. “But Vio—especially the Red Hot Icons for the Vio Send To Me application—has completely turned things around. We now just send one email to our external contributors, giving them a Red Hot Icon to install on their desktop. Then, whenever they’re ready to send a file or folder to us, they simply drag and drop it over the icon, and it’s routed straight to the Vio server, with an instant email notification to us that the file and its accompanying Job Ticket are available for collection.
“For remote contributors where there may be language barriers, or technical issues such as email file size restrictions, it’s a godsend. Vio has put us back in control of the data that is being sent to us because we can download the files from the server when we’re ready to work on them, and route them into the appropriate workflow”, adds Chen.
“What’s more, we’re not frustrated by the limitations of our contributors’ speed of access any more, or by problems with file sizes. Any file size reaches Vio at the sender’s speed of transmission, but we download everything across a 2 Mbps leased line, supplied and supported by Vio. Now we’ve gotten to grips with this, we’ll be looking to make the most of Vio’s Auto Retrieve feature for certain publications, and maybe at adding a Vio Send To Me button to our Web site, to enable more ad-hoc contributors to send files to us via that interface.”
A recent 52-part ‘Speak English‘ series for the Russian market brought home the benefits of Vio to the Marshall Cavendish team. Developed and ‘packaged’ by language-teaching experts in the UK, translated in the Ukraine, produced in Poland and distributed in Russia—in the past this type of project was a recipe for chaos, involving weeks of to-ing and fro-ing of text, Quark files and PDFs, with CDs being dispatched backward and forward by courier. With Vio, the process was refined to a matter of days, with no concerns over file integrity or security. “It’s fair to say that without Vio, we would have struggled to meet our launch schedule”, admits Chen. “With Vio, it was a breeze.”
Marshall Cavendish’s previous experiences with managed file transfer solutions had been anything but positive. As IT Manager Martin Bentley explains, “As a publisher, you’re looking for a tool that will take the pain out of managing your workflow. But if the supplier’s support and account management falls short, it’s more hindrance than help.”
Bentley continues: “With Vio, we now have one supplier to act as our ISP, manage our high bandwidth connections, monitor our firewall, and provide us with a single, expert point of contact for all training, service and support issues. With the added ingredient of Vio’s intuitive workflow applications, everyone on the floor is happier and we’re seeing a real difference in the way projects are flowing through. It has given us security, speed, simplicity, cost saving and—most importantly—complete peace of mind.”
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