The Pressroom Manager's Job 

Pressroom Management

Understanding The Chain Of Command

In some of today's pressrooms we rarely find standard procedures identified or followed by a pressroom manager.  This leads to chaos and lost opportunities for profit.  The ordinary expectation is that our managerial chain of command will and should provide the job description for the pressroom manager that provides productivity and efficiencies that insure success.

The Pressroom Manager - His Job Description

The missing link in establishing these best procedures is the job description of the pressroom manager.  Many of our pressroom managers were recently promoted craftsmen who were thrust into the new role of foreman without a shred of training and a basic misunderstanding of their responsibilities.  The experience can be devastating when a good craftsman becomes a poor foreman and he knows it and so does everybody else.

Some of these new foremen develop an operational "system" that insulates them from exposure to embarrassment.  Some of them become paperwork drones, doing details that should be delegated.  Some simply become observers of the passing parade, doing nothing to give shape or direction to the operations in progress.

Who's To Blame?

The blame for such conditions can not be placed on the foreman who is the non-performer.  The blame must be placed on the system that promoted him without training.  One of the reasons for this lack of training is that there are few if any sources of training available for pressroom managers.  The new foreman is given a do-it-yourself kit to learn by doing and screwing up.

Another aspect of this problem is that the new foreman is not provided with a lot of criticism on his performance by the printing industry management because it is difficult to identify if a problem is his fault or the machine's or the people under him.  Many really poor leaders survive for years with no skill or talent or dedication whatsoever.  That is the pain we must bear for our non-instructive system and our passive acceptance of mediocrity in our pressroom managers.

Provide Detailed Organizational Chart and Job Description

Pressroom ManagerOne missing link in this problem is the identification of the chain of command, starting from the foreman and working down to the bottom run of the press crew.  A clearly identified role for each person can provide the operational procedures that are so necessary for a smooth and successful pressroom operation.  The critical answers to who does what and who is responsible for that can best be answered by an organizational chart.

In a future article, I will discuss a responsibility char and a chain of command structure.  A typical job description will also be included.  These charts can be customized to your operation and can serve as an instructional source for your newly promoted pressman and pressroom managers.  

by Frank Drazan