Bumpy start to de­liv­ery af­ter change in print site

Hawke's Bay Today - - Opinion - Craig Cooper craig.cooper@nzme.co.nz

If you de­liver some­thing, and ask peo­ple to pay for it, you need to get it right. Es­pe­cially when you de­liver a news­pa­per that oc­ca­sion­ally is hold­ing other peo­ple to ac­count for poor ser­vice.

It’s been a bumpy few weeks for sub­scribers of Hawke’s Bay To­day.

As I’ve been shar­ing with a few sub­scribers di­rectly, our ser­vice at the mo­ment isn’t good enough and we need to widely ac­knowl­edge that.

We now bring the pa­per down from Auck­land — it is printed on a press that prints most of the North Is­land’s pa­pers.

Our re­search and anal­y­sis be­fore we be­gan print­ing the pa­per in Auck­land told us that we can present the pa­per to sub­scribers on time.

The prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion of that re­search has not gone as smoothly as we would have liked.

Dan­nevirke is the south­ern-most point that we de­liver pa­pers in bulk to, be­fore they are taken fur­ther on their jour­ney by con­trac­tors.

We can land the pa­per in Dan­nevirke by 5am. But we need to do it six days a week. And we’re not there yet.

Our re­search and anal­y­sis told us that, from a com­mer­cial per­spec­tive, the move had to be made.

It’s a busi­ness de­ci­sion and any­one in busi­ness will know there are times when you make de­ci­sions that can be easy, be­cause the fi­nan­cial route you should take is clear. But they are also hard be­cause they af­fect peo­ple. We had to make that de­ci­sion. And hav­ing done so, two weeks ago, we be­gan print­ing the pa­per in Auck­land.

That means we have to print it ear­lier than we have done be­fore, 7.45pm, and there will be some sac­ri­fices. Rugby re­sults for ex­am­ple, from 7.35pm kick-offs.

Al­though we are re­port­ing those re­sults faster than be­fore, on our web­site www.hawkes­bay­to­day.co.nz.

We also know that the Napier-Taupo road closes in win­ter. We have a con­tin­gency plan around an al­ter­na­tive route, when we know in ad­vance that State High­way 5 is closed, or likely to be closed. Un­for­tu­nately, yes­ter­day morn­ing that wasn’t an op­tion.

The pa­per was bang on sched­ule and our de­liv­ery ve­hi­cle came across a truck ac­ci­dent on SH5.

It is one of sev­eral oc­ca­sions in the past few weeks that the pa­per hasn’t been on time, and we are work­ing on it.

We have 48,000 to 50,000 read­ers, and 85 per cent of you get the pa­per in your let­ter­box. So when we don’t get it to you on time, we are fail­ing to pro­vide you with the ser­vice you are pay­ing for. Ask for a credit for that day, so we don’t bill you. I would.

One day, this might not be an is­sue, be­cause our news will be con­sumed en­tirely on­line.

That’s a long way off though, there will al­ways be news­pa­pers, I think. Like vinyl, they will never com­pletely go out of style.

In the mean­time, there is a lot of life left in the

Hawke’s Bay To­day. Or Hawke’s Bay Yes­ter­day, as one per­son jok­ingly sug­gested yes­ter­day.

Dan­nevirke is the lit­mus test for us — we need to be there at 5am. And if we are, then all else will have gone well.

I’ve in­vited a Dan­nevirke sub­scriber to contact me direct on how their de­liv­ery is go­ing, so I can pass on some direct mar­ket feed­back to our print­ing and de­liv­ery team. We truly ap­pre­ci­ate the pa­tience that sub­scribers have shown, and I sin­cerely hope we landed in your let­ter­box on time this morn­ing.

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