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Who's Minding The Store on Course Manufacturing Costs?

Want to pick up a quick and easy 3-5-margin points without working up a sweat? Well, chances are you’re spending way too much on course packaging and materials – even though your customers could care less!

Why? Because your course developers are making materials design decisions – and they’re trying to offset their deep-seated (and usually unwarranted) insecurities about course content by calling for extravagant packaging stuffed with superfluous frills. What’s worse, your printers and other course manufacturing vendors are only too happy to play along – because the more you spend the more they make!

Meanwhile, your skinflint financial people are looking the other way. Why? Because course materials expense seems like such a small line item they mistakenly feel they can achieve meaningful savings easier somewhere else.

So, it’s up to you to step up to the plate.

Begin by tasking your P&M czar with reducing course packaging and materials costs at least 50%, and insist that you are not willing to make any compromises around perceived quality and learner usability. Then make sure he or she seeks outside materials engineering consulting help. Be prepared for an enterprise-wide mutiny and crying and bleeding that quality and aesthetics and customer relationships will be sacrificed on the bonfire of the quick buck, blah, blah, blah. Then be amazed, as your "unreasonable" mandate results in a packaging prototype that is better looking, more functional, and 50% less expensive.

Document your results in the form of a flexible template and guidelines that can be applied routinely to the design and manufacture of all of your current and forthcoming course offerings. Then bank your savings on the bottom line. Or apply them to where they will do some good.

PS: Don’t settle for less than a 50% savings. On one occasion we were able to reduce course packaging and manufacturing expense for a multimedia communications skills course from $28 to $6 – without eliminating any functionality. Customers preferred the new version so much we were able to raise the price 20%!

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