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Paper management: 5 minutes with… Nick Stevens

Paper wastage remains a significant cost in magazine printing. We grab five minutes with Paperman’s Nick Stevens to see what publishers and printers can do to reduce it.

By Nick Stevens

Paper management: 5 minutes with… Nick Stevens

Q: What measures can publishers take to improve production efficiency and reduce waste?

A: Before you can begin to think about being more efficient and reducing waste, you need to have a clear picture of how much paper you are wasting and where in the print / production process it is being wasted.

The first step in this is being efficient with your paper ordering. Negotiating a great price per tonne is negated if you are over ordering and ending the year with capital tied up in stock that wasn’t needed. To achieve this, you must have an accurate picture of your current stock levels and good forecasting ability for your planned usage. Combining these two elements allows for much more accurate and timely paper ordering so that you are never carrying more stock than you need, and paper is delivered to the printer on time.

When it comes to printed materials, we must accept that there is a certain amount of waste. Running waste and make ready mean that before you have even produced your finished product, you are wasting 8-10% of the paper you are buying. What isn’t recognised is the amount of paper that is wasted through under utilisation of the paper resulting in excessive trim waste. We see on average that 65% of total paper wasted during printing is associated to trim waste. Inefficient reel / sheet sizes or print layouts can increase this figure by as much as 10% to 15%. This is a significant amount when you consider upwards of 45% off all paper used is lost as waste during the printing process. Having the ability to track this and make adjustments can lead to significant reductions in annual waste.

Efficiency does not only relate to paper waste. It is also critical to be more efficient with time. Paper and production teams are stretched even further currently, dealing with the changing paper market, so reducing the time spent on the more arbitrary tasks such as ordering or recording deliveries means that they have more time to utilise their skills in managing their paper and maximising the efficient use of that paper.

Q: When it comes to paper purchasing, how can publishers get a better return on their investment?

A: Paper purchasing has become more challenging especially in the last twelve months. With regular price increases and energy surcharges, publishers are seeing the cost of their products rising. With the current increasing cost of living, it is very difficult to pass on these costs to the consumer. This means getting the most out of the paper you buy is paramount to maintaining your bottom line.

Publishers are having to look to new suppliers and papers to produce their products. Having effective ordering and stock management systems can help to reduce the impact of working with multiple suppliers and managing a large paper portfolio.

Utilising the industry standard communication solution PapiNet is a great way to streamline the paper ordering and invoicing process helping to ensure publishers can secure early settlement discounts offered by the suppliers.

Q: How can collaboration be improved in the paper supply and print process, and what would be the benefits?

A: Information is the main currency in any business and the more we can share that information with our partners, both internally and externally, the more effective we can be in making decisions.

Providing suppliers and printers with information about your needs such as forecasts and print plans allows them a better opportunity to service you and by sharing live information that changes with your requirements means that they can be quick to react to meet your needs.

Paper and press time is at a premium currently so getting ahead of the market can mean you get your allocation of paper or press time without having to make sacrifices to your end products and hit your deadlines. Additionally, working closer with your partners means that they can be part of the supply chain process. For example, empowering your printers to have control of arranging the delivery of your paper when they need it means that they can be more efficient without having to continually liaise with you.

The key to all of this is having a shared database of live information. The moment you print a report or forecast, the information is redundant, especially in today’s market with paginations and print runs changing by the day. Sharing live information means that when you change, everyone in the process knows and can all react immediately to ensure a smooth process.

Q: Do you have any tips on how publishers can maintain the quality of their printed products in the face of product shortages?

A: Providing suppliers with forecasts in advance will help secure allocations by giving suppliers a better understanding of future requirements.

In the event where supply is reduced, having clear visibility over all stock and accurate stock levels, means that comparable products within the current stock holding can be substituted in without compromising the quality of their products.

Standardising stock lines across publications can also have a positive impact on stock management, meaning a reduced number of products being purchased which are far easier to manage.

Finally, efficiency once again plays a significant part. Using less paper per print run will mean that the stock you have will go further.

Q: How do you see the current cost and supply pressures playing out over the next twelve months?

A: Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the cost of printed material is going to reduce anytime soon. With the ongoing increase in cost of energy, suppliers and printers are going to have to pass that cost on to their customers. It is going to put even more pressure on publishers to be more efficient to maintain their margins.

I think there will be continued limitations on access to products meaning publishers are going to have to be creative with their stock management and possibly look to alternative products or suppliers.

Closer collaboration with all parties involved in the paper / print process will play a significant part in the future of the industry.

Q: How do you see publishers’ print strategies evolving in the medium term?

A: I believe there is a strong appetite in the industry to continue to promote printed materials and find new ways to engage with the consumer through paper products.

I think with both financial and environmental pressure, there will be a bigger focus on efficiency and reducing waste which I think will be a very positive step for the industry. There has always been a good attitude in the industry towards promoting environmentally friendly products and I believe reducing waste will be the next step in this campaign.

Q: What's in the pipeline from Paperman?

A: At Paperman, we are constantly trying to learn from all our customers and the industry. In the last six months, we have seen that the nature of buying and managing paper has changed and needs a far more dynamic response. This has meant we have had to develop the product to help publishers, printers, and suppliers to react more quickly to the changing marketplace.

We are always looking to increase our BI offering to provide our customers with clearer data on what is happening with their business so that they can make more informed decisions when planning for the future.

We are seeing growth of printed material outside our usual magazine and periodical publishing clients. This change means that new features and elements of the system need to be developed so that we can help customers apply the paper management principles developed in Paperman into other parts of the paper and print industry. The need for effective paper management is greater now more than ever to make the paper go further and not tie up critical capital in slow moving stock.

We are embarking on a new way in which Paperman is deployed, by breaking up the solution into its key components such as Purchasing, Stock management or Print management, we are providing a much more tailorable solution so our customers can take the individual parts from the system that they need. We hope this will create greater access to paper management tools for all sized publishers, printers and suppliers.

About us

JSA Consultants Ltd is a family business that has been providing web-based solutions for over 30 years. Having delivered Paperman to the print industry for the last 20 years, JSA Consultants have worked alongside leading publishers, printers and paper suppliers to create an industry driven solution to paper management.

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