Desktop Publishing Service availability is limited
It is with a degree of sadness that I have to announce that the desktop publishing services which have up to now formed the backbone of Graphicline, will henceforth be in limited supply.
Several reasons for change
There are several reasons why I decided to impose these limitations, which I will cover in this info-page.
- First and foremost: With an eye to the future for Graphicline and myself, I am changing the company’s main goals to web management and the related fields of activity this entails. This is a time-consuming process, with a great deal of highly technical computer type areas requiring attention. New web site software has to be absorbed. New admin software systems similarly have to be installed, both on the computers, and into my brain cells. I am already spending up to 14 hrs a day in work activities and there is just no time left. The longer it takes to get the things into place to a level I am satisfied with, the longer it will take, and the more it will cost, to get the new phase of the business to the point we can offer it customers.
- DTP system upgrades. I also had to consider needed upgrades to both hardware and software. Graphicline is positioned as a ‘superior’ provider of these services. In order to meet this level I have to keep the tools we use ‘state of the art’. This requires significant investment in the latest applications e.g. Adobe Creative Suite DTP package, as well as the hardware to run it on. In both instances, these are expensive, requiring considerable investment. And it is an ongoing process. Updated packages are released regularly, and new computer technology comes along as well. I need to consider upgrading at 18 month to 24 month intervals. Investment in these tools represents a significant percentage of both revenue (proceeds from sales of services) as well as profit margin, without which no business can survive for long.
- Our local (South African) market is flooded with cheap low quality dtp services, creating a tough climate in which to conduct business. Prospecting new clients takes a lot of time, and commisions payable to ‘reps’ similarly eats into margins. Graphicline has seldom been the first port of call for new prospective clients looking for a dtp service. We invariably only get approached once they have tried another (or even several) service provider, and been disappointed with the results. Once we have established a client, they tend to more often than not, stay with us. And these are the customers that must be given priority!
- When I analyse profit margins of our dtp services, I find that any job billed at less than 2 hours work often runs at a loss: (Once all costs have been included – the tools for the job, consumable items, operating costs such as transport, communications, premises, outsourced business services…). It is seldom that a job invoiced for 1 hours work (the minimum amount) takes 1 hour to complete. More usually we look at 2 to 3 hours. However, we need to trade at realistic market related levels, and if we are unusually picky about the quality of work we provide, we cannot pass these additional costs on to our customers. And I have no intention of dropping standards!
- Expanding our dtp service to enable employment of additional operators similarly entails massive investment. And right now the marketplace is not conducive to quick and rapid growth in this sector. Advertising, especially printed media, is very low, and likely to remain so for some time to come. Advertising professionals may know advertising in fact is more important in a slow economy; business however has to consider budgets, and invariably one of the first things to get cut back is advertising spend.
Those are the background reasons for the change of direction.
DTP enjoyable work
While desktop publishing has been an enjoyable part of my work activity for the past decade, I cannot continue to indulge myself (and in any case, if I wanted to be self-indulgent, I would spend all my time catching fish!)
So, with an eye firmly fixed on the future, I have had to take this decision. For the immediate future, Graphicline will continue to offer dtp to existing customers providing regular work, and will consider taking on new clients with a large requirement for our level of service. However for those whose needs are occasional or limited in scope, for now I must say, “sorry, we cannot help at this time”.