Archive for the ‘Printing & Publishing’ Category

Singapore Ink.

April 5, 2008

In the early 1980s, Ms. Bobby Graham (now of Wagga Wagga NSW) was working for a prestigious Afrikaans general book publisher in Capetown. Her company and mine recently collaborated on inputs to a federally-sponsored development agenda for the printing/publishing industry. A great insight:


 We were approached by a Singaporean printer, and I remember my boss inviting me to join in the initial meeting when the representative paid us a visit. Living and working at the southernmost tip of Africa you can appreciate that we were rather surprised by this overture and approach. This was the first of various Singaporean print representatives who called on us over a period of most probably ten years. What struck me most was the following:


Unlike local printers, all the representatives were well spoken, well educated and well travelled business graduates. They never pushed a hard sell approach, but always enquired about ourselves, our families, our work situation.


They openly discussed their attempts to get work from our competitors. They were extremely good at following up after all visits even if we didn’t give them anything on which to quote. You could be certain of a follow-up phone call (from Singapore) – and if we did request a quote, this was faxed (pre-email) within days (as opposed to weeks sometimes from local printers).


They persisted in developing a relationship, even if sometimes it might take a year or two before they got a print job. We didn’t print enough full-colour books to warrant printing offshore in large numbers, but when we eventually were able to take up their offers, we were delighted with the quality and service. Deadlines were always met and kept (we made very sure that we presented our jobs exceptionally well to avoid any costly long-distance changes).


When I visited them in Singapore, they were all extremely hospitable and went out of their way to ensure I was collected from the airport, delivered to my hotel, fetched to visit the factory and guided throughout all operations. At all the printers, but especially at Tien Wah, I was impressed by the efficient flow of the work stations moving as they did from the office staff (estimators) through pre-press, to print, binding and finishing before being despatched directly into waiting containers. The different department staff wore different coloured T-shirts. This increased their team spirit, but also quickly identified those workers who were out of place. Each individual work station had a target chart, clearly visible to co-workers and visitors and these were translated into wall-mounted charts for each division.


Obviously it was very clear what their targets were – 90% of their work was for offshore clients.


Contact: Bobby Graham Publishers/ 15 Amaroo Street, Wagga Wagga NSW Australia phone: +61 2 6926 5757 fax: +61 2 6926 5757e: