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Three ways to improve your workflows

Publishing is going through a tough time – but not everyone is suffering. There are publishers that have adopted new ways of working to ensure that they can be creative, attentive to their customers and produce incredible products – even with smaller teams. Here, PCS Publishing’s Richard Mansell looks at the three main strategies companies are implementing to cope with new ways of working.

By Rich Mansell

Three ways to improve your workflows

It’s becoming very clear that publishers don’t like to make a fuss.

We’ve all heard how industries, such as travel and hospitality, are suffering as the country tries to slow down the spread of Covid-19. But one of the many industries this has had a knock-on effect with is publishing.

At the start of lockdown, advertising revenues dropped almost overnight for many publishers across the country. However, they had to take it in their stride, putting a chunk of their workforce on furlough. And, yet, they never let their readers down. Local news was still reported on, adverts continued to be created and magazines still dropped through letterboxes.

With smaller teams in place, companies had to find a way to not only produce and deliver newspapers and magazines, but ensure they could maintain the same quality their readers have come to expect. A number of publishers found that by adopting a few time-saving strategies, they have been able to cope with new ways of working. These strategies mean that employees are ultimately happier at work as they can be more creative, and communicate more easily with customers.

Here we shed light on the three strategies that can have a massive impact on publishers.

1. Step up the Automation

A recent Printweek poll asked, ‘Has the pandemic accelerated your use of automation?’ and nearly half of respondents answered yes. Repetitive and mundane work can be replaced with automation and it can help in any department, from circulation and customer deliveries, through to editorial and advertising. Software programmes designed to streamline working can help make tasks easier and quicker – and can give publishers a huge competitive edge.

During the pandemic, we heard from publishers that were making big changes to their way of working. One smaller publisher was using Adobe InDesign, which meant they were still copying and pasting into their website. They have since discovered that any size business can benefit from software that cuts out the repetitive work, and also sees the back of most of their InDesign licences.

Why have your employees working as processors, filling out forms and dealing with requests, when you can free them up to be creative and give your customers a better experience?

2. Go with the Workflow

With everyone working in smaller teams, it can be easy for some people to feel overwhelmed by work – and this affects their performance. The first thing to do is take a step back and analyse the workflow processes you have in place across each department. This could include getting feedback from employees about what is and isn’t working. Are there some people with too much on their plates, meaning a bottleneck is created?

In editorial, bottlenecks can occur when just one person is put in charge of checking everyone else’s work. So, you have several content creators and only one person making them suitable for online use, such as finding the right pictures to use with the story, or sourcing video content. Why not create a system where the content creators package everything together themselves?

During lockdown, one leading publisher told us that having ‘down time’ for the business enabled them to take a step back and make changes that would increase workflow and save money. These are changes that, they admit, should have been made a long time ago.

With proper training, efficient systems and good workflow, companies can save time and money – and have a happier workforce. What’s not to like?

3. Sharpen up on the Software

Installing integrated software across the whole organisation means that everyone, from editorial through to circulation, can view the whole process. Some publishers have multiple independent pieces of software that often don’t fit together well and this means processes take longer, and employees are left frustrated.

Having the right tools in place will lead to less stress in the office and a better product. Publishers need to know there are tools that can increase their digital revenue, without their current system needing a complete overhaul. Having the right software will help ensure strategies are implemented successfully and publishers can work on not just standing still, but moving forward with a better publication.

The publishing world is constantly changing, and publishers are working hard to ensure they change with it by offering their readers unique experiences that they can’t find anywhere else.

About us

PCS is a leading publishing solutions provider that has established itself as a trusted and reliable technology partner to several media organisations including MNA, Newsquest, Racing Post, DC Thomson, SPP Media Group and Iliffe Media. Workflow expert Richard Mansell has supported publishers for almost a decade with PCS Publishing. For a workflow audit get in touch with Richard or click here for more information.

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