A print production manager monitors and manages the production of printed or published materials from their inception to their completion. There are many different types of print production manager positions depending on the type of print production facility. The responsibilities for each of these types of printing facilities varies. Some print production managers possess a knowledge of printing presses and how they function. Others know desktop publishing, pre-press software programs,design principles,and how to work with off-site vendors.
Print production managers work in basic print shops, stand-alone full production facilities, and in-house corporate printing departments. In a print shop, the print production manager is the person who takes in the individual printing jobs, estimates costs, and oversees the printing job through to final delivery. A working knowledge of the different types of desktop publishing and pre-press software may be necessary, depending upon the individual services offered by the print shop. Some print shops have their own staff on-site to handle these responsibilities. Other print shops use off-site vendors for these services. In either instance, a production manager is responsible for quality, accuracy, and timeliness in delivery.
In a stand-alone production facility or in-house printing department, the print production manager may have additional responsibilities, as these types of facilities typically provide all printing and production services. Concept, writing, design, production layout, pre-press preparation, final printing, and even mail distribution are all handled under one roof. In this type of print production facility, the production manager duties require a wide knowledge of the many different processes needed to take a project from the initial stages all the way through to finished product and delivery. In some cases, the print production manager is responsible for consulting with staff photographers and illustrators.
Working with off-site vendors is one of the primary functions of print production managers. The level of work provided by these outside vendors must meet the high level of quality called for in a print production facility. Interpersonal skills, patience, and the ability to communicate accurate information is a must when working with off-site vendors like designers, artists, and photographers .
Managing multiple projects at different stages of completion may be one of the most challenging aspects of a print production manager's job. This position requires the ability to work with several different departments or sections and keeping them on individual schedules while maintaining a master production schedule that meets all deadlines. Quality control is another responsibility of the print production manager. Working under the pressure of deadlines, quality must be maintained throughout the entire process. The production manager will likely be responsible for hiring the best people for each individual task and firing those who cannot produce a high level of quality.