RE: Issues with distribution of technical documents
Another idea that I think will be a big thing in coming years is book
printing on demand. Cost per unit may be somewhat higher but that cost is
offset by the cost savings inherent in not having to print hundreds of
books and stack them up on shelves in the company stockroom. Being able to
have one manual printed on demand and drop-shipped to the customer will
solve a lot of problems.
My last company produced a boxed three-volume set (about 1500 pages) book bound, printed from Docutech machines, covers in 4-color process and applied during assembly.
Worked great. I set it up specifically for print-on-demand. Our software was a non-trivial application that was aimed at commercial, distributed HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and access security installations, where we controlled the third-party HVAC, access security, and power consumption of a facility, or distributed facilities.
I set it up that way because our manuals had a shelf-life of about 3 to 6 months. Sometimes it stretched to 8 months. I never could get our purchasing or Production Manager to understand why print-on-demand was better than ordering the 100 to 300 copy runs that they normally did.
I explained that the per item cost went up slightly, but the reduced cost in storage, and management (including wastage) was very advantageous.
They still didn't get it, even after they screwed it up twice, ignoring Engineering telling them that a major release was coming within weeks, or days. They went ahead and reordered the manuals.
Cost was, in round numbers, $3000 and $5000 dollars for manual sets that no longer documented the real operation of the software, had to have additional pamphlets printed with the corrected information. Total cost for that was around $4000 and $7000 respectively. Plus our shipping and stock rooms had to manage additional pieces, the customers had extras that didn't need to be there. Totally unacceptable.
Did they listen?
Did I want to take them out and shoot them?
Never underestimate the power of stupidity.
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RE: Issues with distribution of technical documents: From: Mike Starr
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