Times-Journal Inc. and Southern Community Newspapers Inc. already have an ongoing relationship which will now add printing, inserting and other preparation services for six SCNI newspapers at the Times-Journal press facility in Rome, Ga.
The six newspapers are:
- Gwinnett Daily Post
- Rockdale Citizen
- Newton Citizen
- Henry Herald
- Clayton News
- Jackson Progress-Argus
To shed further light on the project, vice president of operations Doug Crow talked with E&P.
E&P: Could you elaborate your existing outsource relationship with SCNI?
Crow: Our markets are close in proximity so in addition to personal friendships, we have explored a number of working relationships in the last few years that make sense for both organizations. These include layout, ad design, copy desk, customer service and most recently, printing and packaging. SCNI is a quality organization that we have a high degree of trust and respect for. I can’t overemphasize how important these intangibles are on some of these major projects.
Will you be adding additional staffing in any areas of operations?
Crow: The pressroom will need no additional staff at this time.
In our mailroom, will be adding about 10 employees to help with the additional shifts.
Will you be adding any additional shifts to accommodate SCNI?
Crow: Yes, we will be adding about seven shifts in the mailroom and adjusting the pressroom schedule to accommodate the additional printing.
Will there be any additions or changes in management?
Crow: We will use our current management staff in place.
Will you be adding any new equipment or making any upgrades/changes to the existing equipment?
Crow: We are always looking to make investments in equipment that provide a positive ROI. However, one area we place a heavy emphasis on is the maintenance of existing equipment. This is important to limit downtime for our customers but also making our existing equipment last longer.
What is the target date to move printing to the Rome facility?
Crow: The transition started in mid-July and was completed in late August.
What are your plans for phasing in this printing?
Crow: We started printing and inserting mid-July of their Sunday package for the Gwinnett Daily Post. We moved all of their products for the North Atlanta area to our Rome facility by late August. This does not include the Albany Herald.
Is the transfer in any way related to the recent COVID-19 events? Or simply older equipment shutting down at SCNI?
Crow: The prevailing thought over the last decade in our industry is outside of news gathering and ad sales, newspapers should either provide a particular service to others, like printing or outsource altogether. I believe there is strong merit to that line of thinking. Either side of the decision—insource or outsource—can be beneficial to an organization. It just depends on a newspaper’s set of circumstances which direction to go. If you decide to outsource and provide commercial work, it’s important to be able to do the service well and deliver a quality product to your customers.
In our case, the decision and investments were made over a decade ago to get into the commercial printing and packaging business in the northwest Georgia region. From there, we made additional investments and added services such as delivery, ad production, layout, pagination and customer service support.
With having most of our software applications in the cloud, the pandemic has illustrated that many of these services can be performed, and performed well from almost anywhere.
Could you provide information on the current equipment/functions of the plant in Rome?
Crow: We have two Kodak trendsetters and NELA punch and bender. Our press operation has DGM 430 15 units with 24-page capacity and 12 pages of available color, and our mailroom operations has two SLS 1000/one line 16/2 and the second line 10/2.
Could you provide any additional operational information?
Crow: We run seven days a week. The pressroom has eight shifts per week. The mailroom runs 15 shifts per week.
Could you give a brief history on the Rome printing operation?
Crow: The printing press was installed in 2007. We started adding commercial work in 2008.
You seem to have your hands full printing in Rome, and now as you add to it, what are your plans to make it all fit?
Crow: We’ve been negatively impacted by COVID-19 like just about everyone. We made the tough decision, as did some of our commercial customers, to reduce frequency going from seven days to five days with two of our daily newspapers. In addition, some of our TMC publications were reduced or eliminated. This naturally created additional capacity on our press. The addition of the SCNI publications should return our production closer to full capacity.
Is there still going to be room for future growth in your printing/mailroom operations?
Crow: We do more than 82 print jobs per week. While this keeps us busy, we will still have room for selective growth going forward.
How will the transportation aspect of printing SCNI work with trucking, delivery and pick-up?
Crow: We will deliver their products on our trucks to them.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Crow: We understand our customers have options on all the services we provide and take a great deal of pride that they have entrusted us with critical aspects of their operation. Value and quality are especially important in our industry today. Our team works hard to deliver on these goals each and every day.