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Total Registered Users: 2347
Total Posts: 11086

There are 318 people currently online.

June Member of the Month

 

John Witherspoon, June Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize John Witherspoon as the June Member of the Month. John is the Distribution Manager at the Statesman Journal in Salem Oregon He is a Sr. Member and has been a member of the User Group since July `05. Over the past four years he has steadily contributed 39 posts and responses to the User Group, it's a pleasure to have Jeremy knowledge, expertise and insight and we'd like to thank him for his on going support and contribution.

 

Check out John's Mailroom Matters Profile

 

 

 

How long have you been involved with post press
My post press career began in 1976, as a machine operator supervising 8 employees at a local print shop that did a lot of community papers for cities throughout the area. In 1979 I went to work for my current employer as a set-up mechanic. I was hired for my skills and knowledge related to the old type McCain stitcher trimmers and Cheshire labelers. That was 20 years ago and a lot has changed since then. By 1983 as our operation expanded, I was in the position of shift supervisor overseeing day shift operations. In 1989 as we moved into the new post press facility I was promoted to assistant manager. In 1991 I took over as Distribution Center General Manager. In 2006 a served as interim production director for about 6 months, which honestly was not a whole lot of fun. Then with the restructuring of operations in 2007, I took over the trucking and delivery functions from our circulation department along with my current title of Distribution Manager.

What do you like most about post press
The people, the challenges and the teamwork. As we all know our business is changing, drastically in some ways. We in the post press part of the business have always been appreciated for our ability to make things happen. No matter if it’s a late insert, a last minute bindery job or a commercial print customer needs some “special attention” during an already busy week. We make it happen and that is a source of pride for everyone involved.

What do you like least about post press?
The way the economy has affected the newspaper business and our ability to maintain maximum operational effectiveness. Due to cut backs we struggle to keep equipment maintenance on schedule. At times we have to purposely run short handed crews, which makes it harder on everyone involved.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
The first thing that comes to mind would be a standardized size requirement for preprints, so they would fit inside the paper. Currently we are running some preprints that are 2” wider that the main. This always causes issues with getting the finished product out the door on time. Then using available technology to increase and improve capabilities. Whether it’s upgrading current systems or replacing older and outdated equipment, this is key in maintaining and maximizing efficiencies.

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you John !

My birthday in 1991. I try and make it a point to let everyone forget that day, and in 1991 I thought I had succeeded. It happened to fall on a Thursday, the one day of the week I have to largest number of employees working the day shift. Just after lunch I looked up from my desk and there in my office window stood a very strange looking woman in a clown suit holding a huge bunch of balloons. It seems someone refused to let the day pass uncelebrated. With the entire crew surrounding us laughing, as she forced me to sit on her lap, I was serenaded in a very different kind of way. I am telling you, these people, you just gotta love’em. P.S. I now make it a point to not work on my birthday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May Member of the Month

Jeremy Crow, May Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize Jeremy Crow as the May Member of the Month. Jeremy is the Packaging Operations Manager at the Capital Newspapers in Madison, WI. He is a Sr. Member and has been a member of the User Group since January `05. Over the past four years he has steadily contributed 43 posts and responses to the User Group, it's a pleasure to have Jeremy knowledge, expertise and insight and we'd like to thank him for his on going support and contribution.


Check out Jeremy's Mailroom Matters Profile

 


How long have you been involved with post press?
I started with Madison Newspapers Inc. in November of 1997. In the summer of 1997 the packaging department had a major expansion to the existing mailroom. They expanded the existing mailroom to install a 22:2 SLS 2000 by GMA to compliment their two existing Harris 1372's. I was hired on as a night machine operator setting up and running the equipment. Soon after I started I was moved into a lead machine operator position with more responsibility. In February of 2004 I moved into the Assistant Supervisor - Days role where I received most of my front line leadership training. Since 2006 I have been in my current position of Packaging Operations Manager.

What do you like most about post press?
Prior to coming to the newspaper I was working for a local health insurance company. As a machine operator at this company I ran an inserter mailing explanation of benefits, I remember whenever we took our morning break we all read the newspaper to get caught up on the world of sports. I recall how disappointed we all were when someone didn't bring in the paper because it wasn't out on the street yet. As I started working for the paper and running the inserters I took great pride and joy knowing that I was the one that was responsible for all of the others out there reading the paper during their morning break. If I failed to do my job how disappointed everyone out there would be just like I was back then.east!

What do you like least about post press?
I guess how most people in the business don't appreciate the hard work the employees of the packaging department do on a daily basis to meet deadlines.are.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
Better standards on preprint formats, scheduling deadlines, and delivery deadlines. I can't tell you how many times that I've heard from printers and advertisers that we are the only newspaper in the country that has whatever issue or problem we are having. We are the only one's requesting a 10 day prior delivery for Sunday and we are the only paper that request if their insert is over 11" that it must be quarter folded..

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Jeremy!
This isn't funny, but it was at the time. Just around Christmas this past year my receiving employee came to me and said "you better get the camera". I of course know exactly what he was talking about, but I couldn't believe it what I walked into the warehouse and saw. We received approximately 100,000 pieces of a preprint that had fallen over in the truck and were thrown into four 55 gallon drums. I almost fell on the floor I was laughing so hard. I told my receiving guy to unload them and he said "Are you serious?". I told him that this was about the stupidest thing I have ever seen anyone do and I was in the Christmas spirit so go ahead and unload it. Besides, they knew it was all over the truck and their way of correcting it was to put them in four 55 gallon drums. I was almost scared to refuse it and send it back, who knows how else they might have sent it back to me.line

 

April Member of the Month

 

Jerry Hickman, April Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize Jerry Hickman as the April Member of the Month. Jerry is the Distribution Manager at the Washington Observer Reporter in Washington, PA. He is a Sr. Member and has been a member of the User Group since the inception of 4PUG back in October `04. Over the past five years he has steadily contributed 35 posts and responses to the User Group, it's a pleasure to have Jerry's knowledge, expertise and insight and we'd like to thank Jerry for his on going support and contribution.


Check out Jerry's Mailroom Matters Profile




How long have you been involved with post press?
I started right out of high school at the Monongahela Daily Herald as a dispatch driver.I worked there for a month when one of the pressmen caught their hand in the press. I got to move from dispatch driver to assistant pressman. Worked that for one year and then applied at the Observer-Reporter (the paper I'm currently at) for the position of apprentice pressman. They said they liked my background at the Daily Herald and the Observer said they would hire me at the first position they had open to get me in there, which just happened to be the mailroom. I started there as a 30 hour per week part-time driver working a split shift. We were a morning and afternoon paper then. Finally made full time driver about a year later. I like machinery, so I'd always hang out and help out the guy that was my boss at the time. After a year of that, they made me an assistant operator. My old boss had to leave for health reasons not long after that. I took over and I've been in the mailroom since. Never did make the pressroom. I've been at the Observer Reporter now for 30 ½ years.

What do you like most about post press?
I guess the fact that no two days are the same. I mean, heaven forbid you might fall into a routine. But seriously, it is nice to not have the same thing day in, day out. You see, here at the Observer, we are a "we do it all" crew. Not only do we run the mailroom, but we do our own maintenance, rebuilds as needed, we have fabricated our own stuff for us as well as for some other departments. Some of the zoning we've had to do and/or the type of inserts we've been asked to run has been interesting to say the least!

What do you like least about post press?
See above. Sometimes we get to much going on at one time and then you throw in the last minute "we forgot to tell you this insert was added for tonight" (last minute change type stuff). But mostly it's the inserts that are printed on really junky paper. Seems like there is more and more of it anymore.
The fact that it's like you don't exist. We work in the basement and opposite shift from 7/8 of the other employees. But let a mistake slide by us, whether it's our fault or we missed another department's mistake, then suddenly everybody knows who we are.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
Maybe some kind of standardization on minimum specs for inserts. The mailroom should have more input at planning meetings where production is the subject..

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Jerry!
When I first started the Observer, we used to do one heck of a ton of mail. It was almost always these two "gentlemen of maturity" that were steady on it and the third and fourth person would be whoever else was in the area at the time (we used to have to do mail until time to load our truck route). Well, the one older guy would always feed the head of the labeler and the other older guy would watch the labels and make breaks in the stream on the conveyor when we changed zip codes. The other two of us would take turns at strapping the bundles, sacking them and throwing them onto our truck setting right outside the door.
Well, during hay fever time, the older gentleman watching the conveyor would go into sneezing fits. Then the next thing you know, the guy at the other end of the conveyor would go to scoop up the papers to make a bundle and there'd be the older guy's false teeth coming down the line.

 

 

March Member of the Month

 

John Wilson, March Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce non other than John Wilson as the March Member of the Month. John is the Press/Mailroom Supervisor at the Tracy Press in Tracy, California. He is a Hero Member and has been a member of the User Group since February 2005. Over the past four years he has steadily contributed 93 posts and responses to the User Group with his detailed and precise opinions, it's a pleasure to have John's expertise, insight and we can't thank John enough for his on going support, concern for the industry and we here at Perfect Pallets appreciate his contribution.

Check out John's Mailroom Matters Profile

How long have you been involved with post press?
I started as a paperboy the end of May 1960. Delivering the paper three times a week Monday, Wednesday & Friday. In 1961 Tracy Press got a new 3 unit Goss Suburban Offset press one of the few offset press on the west coast. As a young man of 15 I asked the publisher if there was something I could do during the summer months to earn extra cash. I was hired as a helper cleaning the press parts that were to be installed. Once the press was installed I moved to flying and learning the press. When not on the press I was in charge of the inserting crew of 1, inserting The Green Sheet a shopper Tracy Press had every week totaling 13,000 with one insert. In 1965 I graduated from high school and went full time in the press/mailroom. We hand inserted everything as well as labeled then on a very old Elliott Address O Graph. After many a year of hand inserting in 1989 we got a 5 into 2 Kansa 480. My thoughts then were we’ve made the big time. The Kansa hasn’t changed all that much other than we added 3 more stations as well as a Kirk Rudy labeler and a few bundlers.

Over the years we added to the press, changed it out until we’re at 12 units with two 4 high towers.


What do you like most about post press?
The employees. I took me several years to find a crew that works very will together. Some of the best employees you could ever find.
The thought of moving to a larger inserter as soon as the funds kind of excite me as well.
Best of all I met and married one of the best employees in the mailroom. For the next 21 years we working side-by-side inserting labeling and all that goes with the mailroom. She retired two years ago when we went from two shifts to one. She didn’t want to work nights. I sure do miss her as she did it all without any supervision.
We’re a family owned newspaper so over the years I’ve worked with the current publisher Bob, his father Tom and his Grand Ma Mrs. Matthews.
When asked why and how could I still be here after 44+ years I tell them that either I to lazy to go out and find another job or I really like my job? I haven’t quite figured it out myself what was the reason why I’m still here.

What do you like least about post press?
The small, thin inserts. Odd shaped inserts and inserts that show up just as we’re starting the run. Poorly stacked pallets.
The breakdowns during the run, always a challenge on what needs to be patched and what needs to be repaired so we can finish the run.



What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
On the Post Press side keep circulation out of the mailroom. They always want the inserts a different way. Best Buy is an example. They think we should roll the inserts over so they don’t make the bundles look like footballs and stick out of the paper? They also have ideas on what we should and can do to get the paper to them quickly. Circulation has taken over the mailroom twice only having to give it back to me to get the mess straightened out.

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you John!
Back in the 60’s as a Press Helper and Fly Boy I had to work Saturdays on a newspaper call Milpitas Post part of the now Medianews Group. We printed all of the newspapers for them every week. Then it was only about 6 papers and all of them were weeklies. They sent the stories via a teletype and we reset the stories on the old just-a-writers pasted the pages up. Headlines were still set on the hot metal Linotype pulled a proof then on the camera and press.

Back in the day none of the papers were strapped everything was loaded loose by hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Member of the Month

Susan Strong February Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Susan Strong as the February Member of the Month. Susan is the Manager at The Herald in Everett WA. she is a Sr. Member and has been a member of the User Group since January 2005. Over the past 4 years she has steadily contributed 35 posts and responses to the User Group and, it's a pleasure to have Susan's expertise, insight and we can't thank Susan enough for her on going support and we appreciate her contribution.

Check out Susan's Mailroom Matters Profile


How long have you been involved with post press?
I started at The Herald in Everett as a part time Preprint Handler (hopper feeder) in 1984. In 1986 I became a Sub Operator and in 1988 made the jump to Machine Operator and Supervisor at the same time. In the early 90’s as the complexity of Post Press work increased and commercial work was brought in we expanded to two shifts, changed the leadership structure and I was promoted to Assistant Manager. In May 2001, a month into the installation of our Magnapak 1280 the Manager took advantage of an early retirement package and I took over as Manager of the department. As “right sizing” has run it’s course I have also assumed responsibility for our Receiving Warehouse (2005) and overseeing our Prepress Department (2007)

What do you like most about post press?
IThe variety of challenges that arise and the creative solutions that are devised to solve them. From out of spec preprints to manning shortages
There’s a new challenge every day and the creativity of supervisor’s, operator’s and preprint handlers to solve them is endless.

What do you like least about post press?
There are some day to day specific irritants but in general I enjoy the post press environment and it’s endless variety.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
I think you have to consistently review your processes. With the increasing customer demands to run thinner pieces in ever smaller zones we need to rethink scheduling and staffing per run. Fully utilizing people and equipment to maintain an acceptable cost per thousand requires consistent attention.

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Susan!
Shortly after installation of our NP630 in 1991 we had an issue with it starting up on it’s own and changing speeds. Even though we had posted warning signs and reminders to use stop buttons before lifting grids, their use wasn’t consistent. Until the day a torn and tattered t-shirt was hung above the delivery. New employees were told by the machine operators that the t-shirt was a reminder of what happened to the last person who forgot to put a button down when “Christine” was hungry.

January Member of the Month

 

Joseph Blaisdell January Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Joseph Blaisdell as the January Member of the Month. Joseph is the Technical Services Manager at the Daytona Beach News Journal in Daytona Beach FL. He is a Hero Member and has been a member of the User Group since October 2006. Over the past 2 1/2 years he has steadily contributed 54 posts and responses to the User Group and has become the go to guy for technical issues, it's a pleasure to have Joseph's expertise, insight and we can't thank Joseph enough for his on going support and we appreciate his contribution.

Check out Joseph's Mailroom Matters Profile

How long have you been involved with post press?
I have been involved with post press for four and a half years. I came from a background in industrial controls engineering and field services. I had reached the point where I was tired of the constant travel and the idea of going to work at the same place everyday was quite appealing.
When I started here I didn't even know what post press meant. I am now at the point where I'm familiar with the industry specific terminology. As far as the equipment involved in post press finishing operations goes my extensive experience with various automated equipment provided me with the necessary skills, learning the nuances of all the processes involved took a little time.

What do you like most about post press?
I would have to say the most enjoyable part of my job that newspapers as a whole are a community that work together. No where else in an industry have I found "Competing" companies that are willing to share information, to that end I must say that Perfect Pallets has done a wonderfull job facilitating the open exchange of information.

What do you like least about post press?
Underweight and poor quality inserts are definitely the most difficult aspects of the job. Combine that with continued reductions in newsprint paper weights and the end result is a constant battle between quality and efficiency.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
The single biggest thing that I can see that would improve efficiency would be the adoption of industry wide standards for reprints and the adherence to said standards by commercial printers.

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Joseph!
The funniest story I can recall would have to be back during the hurricanes of 2004. Being based in Florida, hurricane preparedness is a standard, as such we have a stand-by generator with sufficient capacity to operate the minimum amount of equipment required to publish. Hurricane Charlie caught us all off guard as its original path took it up the west coast (we're located in the east coast) At the last minute it came across the state remaining still very powerful and hit our area at about 11 at night. We here hadn't seen a hurricane of any size for over 30 years. None the less we were prepared and after a few minutes spent getting the generator on-line we threw the transfer switch and presto....the wrong finishing line powered up. I scrambled to re-direct the power and the power went out. It wan't funny at the time but if you had been a casual observer you wouldn't be able to help but laugh when the wrong side of the building powered up and the area needed stayed dark.

 

 

 

December Member of the Month

 

Frank P. Berry Jr. December Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Frank P. Berry as the December Member of the Month. Frank is the Manufacturing Training Manager at the North Jersey Media Group in Rockaway NJ. He is a Sr. Member and has been a member of the User Group since September 2006. Over the past 2 years he has steadily contributed 33 posts and responses to the User Group, it's a pleasure to have Frank's expertise, insight and we can't thank Frank enough for his on going support and we appreciate his contribution.

Check out Frank's Mailroom Matters Profile

How long have you been involved with post press?
In April of 1977 I started with Ferag Inc. as a Contract Electrical Design Engineer. (BS in EE at Drexel University in Philadelphia) I remained with Ferag in various technical positions until 1986.
I was a principle in a start up company called Insight International Inc. (Inserting System Zone Controls), which unfortunately failed in less than a year of operation, I was out of the newspaper business. Bounced back with Gallus Press Manufacturer of narrow web presses for tags and labels until April of 1991 when I started with GMA as an Electrical Service Reresentative.
In 1995 I was in charge of the Service Organization for close to 2 years, I managed the projects at GMA from the third quarter of 1996 until the end of 2000.
I was with a small company at the time called Ataboy Inc. until 2003 when I returned back to GMA and was downsized in 2005 and worked as a consultant. I joined NJMG in June of 2008 shortly there after.


What do you like most about post press?
It seldom is boring.

What do you like least about post press?
The second class status (presses are important but post press is an after thought) I will say that after a generation of explosive growth in FSI's this mentality has softened.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
Since this is what I have been focused on during most of my professional career I can say that there's a simple pithy answer to this question; some ideas focus on smooth flow of information, raw material and finished products. Avoid chaos, always work from a plan and remember a good plan can be changed, adapt the plan as needed and avoid ad hoc approaches.
The fact that the poorest feeder, the worst insert dictate the through put of an inserting system
Always use technology to improve the operation as much as possible but be critical in the assessment of the technology when it is being implemented
*Never forget when implementing technology that just because you can do something doesn't mean always you should do it.
Peter Drucker was once quoted as saying "Action without thinking is the cause of every failure"


What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Frank!
I was doing the electrical start up of a press conveyor in a newly expanded mailroom, the waste release was in the mailroom chute to direct the dropped copies to a cart that wasn't in place.
The press erectors wanted to do some top speed tests, the conveyor was completely ready but none of the stacker positions were complete. All the test copies were going to be dropped directly to a cart sitting in the way of the restroom doors. I discussed the need for assigning at least 2 mailroom people to be available to keep the waste carts emptied, the mailroom supervisor didn't see the need, since I knew that I would be in the pressroom making sure the conveyor was running correctly. I didn't argue
The press ran for about half an hour with two units straight at full speed and created a mountain of paper that trapped a few of the women in the restroom, a small front end loader was required to clear the mountain of paper.
On future tests people were made available to move the carts until a stacker posotion was ready

 


November Member of the Month

 

Marty Barlow: November Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Marty Barlow as the November Member of the Month. Marty is the Distribution Production Manager at the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester NY. He is a Sr. Member and has been an original member of the User Group since September 2004. Over the past 4 years he has steadily contributed 45 posts and responses to the User Group, it's a pleasure to have Marty's expertise, insight and we can't thank Marty enough for his on going support and we appreciate his contribution.

Check out Marty's Mailroom Matters Profile

How long have you been involved with post press?
I started in Post Press in 1986 stacking bundles and feeding inserts. I ran 1472P's and 630's for 10 years hen progressed to leaing the Sunday insert production. I have been the Distribution Production Manager at the Democrat & Chronicle for 4 years. You do the math as far as how long I have been around, it feels more like dog years (lol).

What do you like most about post press?
The satisfaction of producing an end product that has a shelf life of a couple of hours so you have to do it correctly the first time.

What do you like least about post press?
Spending hours and hours laying out a run to save dollars, only to have Advertising change the zoning of an insert. Now that in itself would not be bad but when you have to start from scratch the frustration factor can rise pretty quickly. Especially when your pieces per hour are at stake.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
There needs to be more tips and tricks on how to run out of spec inserts productively. There are many ideas out there that have yet to be discovered. The two answers I don't like to this are Advertisers need to give us a better product and a better insert, we all know and need to accept neither will happen any time soon.

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Marty!
There's a funny story everyday, it seems like I can tell you the luckiest day I've ever had. Up on the deck of our 630 Inserter I dropped a T-handle, yes! Right through the grate between 2 pockets. The inserter stopped cold and didn't sustain any damage, lucky for me because someone else would be answering these questions right now.

 




October Member of the Month

Bill Birchall: October Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Bill Birchall as the October Member of the Month. Bill is the Mechanical Supervisor at the Lancaster Newspaper in Lancaster PA. He is a Sr. Member and has been an original member of the User Group since September 2004. Over the past 4 years he has steadily contributed 40 posts and responses to the User Group, it's a pleasure to have Bill's expertise and we can't thank Bill enough for his on going support and we appreciate his contribution.

Check out Bill's Mailroom Matters Profile

How long have you been involved with post press?
I started working here over 30 years ago while still in high school carrying papers. I was drawn to the mechanical side of the industry through time and the unconventional hours it brought. As the number of of preprints grew over the years I started running the inserters and became quite familiar with the equipment so much so that I became the Mechanical Supervisor.

What do you like most about post press?
The unpredictability scenarios the machines bring on a regular basis.

What do you like least about post press?
Poorly designed and printed ads.
Under spec ads.
Very late ads.


What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
I think it'll be beneficial for everyone if people would give more consideration to the inserting process of their ad
For example, quarter folding thin ads, if it's a tri-fold ad they don't have any turns in the bundle, it's almost impossible to find the turns when feeding them, or wrap them tightly with a paper band or rubber band.


What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Bill!
Several years back I brought in an inflatable Santa Claus and put it in the center of the inserter. Nobody could see it when it was laying on the floor, part way through the run I turned it on with remote control. It got a few laughs especially when I would turn it off when ever the inserter would stop and turned it back on when the inserter started up again.



September Member of the Month

Paul Barnhart: September Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlights a member who has excelled in consistently providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Paul Barnhart as the September Member of the Month. Paul is the Assistant Production Manager at DFW Printing Co. in Arlington Texas. He is a Sr. Member and has been a member of the User Group since May 2005. Over the past 3 years he has steadily contributed 40 posts and responses to the User Group, it's a pleasure to have Paul's expertise and we can't thank Paul enough for his on going support and we appreciate his contribution.

Check out Paul's Mailroom Matters Profile

How long have you been involved with post press?
Right out of high school when I decided my baseball career wasn't going to take me anywhere. I had just quit my burger flipping and wasn't really looking for anything in particular when my mother suggested I look into a job posting at her place of work where they needed a Re-winder position filled. I applied and and got the job which paid really well back then at a whopping $6.50 hour.
Since then I worked my way up the ladder and moved into the Mailroom six months after being hired. After that I was promoted to Lead man, followed by 2nd Supervisor & 1st Supervisor and finally to my current position as Assistant Production Manager


What do you like most about post press?
I like the fast pace of it all knowing that you have to keep things in order to make deadlines. dealing with the pressure of knowing it is up to you as the last line of defense as to whether deadlines are met or not, it's kind of like being the last leg of a relay team.

What do you like least about post press?
See above, sometimes a hindrance.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
It's been said here before by previous Members of the Month and I'll just reiterate Cross Training seems to be the most important aspect of my job being able to fit a square peg in a round hole has paid off time and time again for me

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Paul!
When I first started my boss knew a guy that knew a guy who had back stage passes to an Aerosmith concert, and being a work night he took time off to enjoy the concert. About halfway through the run I saw someone walking into the mailroom, I walked over to inquire what this person needed, there was my boss with the members of Aerosmith in tow. It seems they wanted to see what a newspaper printing looked like.



August Member of the Month

Ron Marasco : August Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highligts a member who has excelled in consistantly providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Ron Marasco as the August Member of the Month. Ron is the Packaging Manager at the The Honolulu Advertiser in Kapolei, HI. He is a Sr. Member and is an original member of the User Group since September 2004. Over the past 4 years he has steadily contributed 43 posts and responses to the User Group, it's a pleasure to have Ron and his expertise, we can't thank Ron enough for his on going support and appreciate his contribution.

Check out Ron's Mailroom Matters Profile

How long have you been involved with post press?
I started in The Orange County Register a year out of high school as a Part Time truck driver in 1985. I used to be a paperboy for the Register and one of my first Supervisors as a truck driver was a guy who dropped my papers off to me as a kid. He is now the Sr. VP of Operations at the Register. I worked my way up to a Mailroom Supervisor and then transitioned to our Packaging Center in 1995 when we took ownership of our first high speed inserting machine a 12 head GMA SLS-1000A. We ran a 6-Head Muller 227 for about a year prior to buying the SLS.
Before that we were a completely hand inserted newspaper, keep in mind this was a 350k circulation major metro newspaper we're talking about, pretty amazing.
In 2000 I was named Manager of our Machine Inserting Operation and did that until 2004 when the Honolulu Advertiser hired me to run their brand new state of the art packaging center.
Interestingly at the end of 2003 I was at a crossroads with my career and decided that I should look to transitioning into television (I have a degree in Broadcast Journalism) I was offered several anchoring and or reporting positions with smaller networks affiliates but in the end I needed to pay the bills.
I decided that Hawaii was where I needed to go and here I am 4+ years later. The sway of the palm trees in the warm breeze never gets old.

What do you like most about post press?
I love analzing data and figuring out ways to be more efficient. I think I was an accountant in a past life. I love to number crunch and derive meaning from the results. Being in a Mailroom provides me with a lot of number crunching, I don't think anyone can say it isn't a dynamic environment full of characters, that always seems to be the case in the back end of this business.

What do you like least about post press?
To be honest, I like keeping things simple, a la the Southwest Airlines model, but unfortunately the industry is going in a direction where you need to tap into whatever revenue streams come your way. With that said, if a customer needs a complex solution we must adapt and try to provide it. Like everyone else I do get tired of last minute inserts or inserts without enough information accompanying them. I don't think that will change though. It's been that way going back to the penny press days I surmise :-).

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
Efficiency can be a catch 22 in the mailroom. The more your microzone the less efficient you will be, but you have to microzone in many cases to protect or gain market share. Do I have a ground breaking answer? No, I've always had a philosophy that speed isn't always the answer. Sometimes a dimishing returns effect can result if you're just focused on pkgs. produced per hour, that many people do.
On some runs I've slowed the machine down just 20% but was able to reduce staffing by 25-30% as a result. Mitigating pinch points was the key. It allowed me to optimize everyone on the machine. Of course thi assumes you have wiggle room in your deadlines which I think most people do especially on weekly products like comics and TMC.

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Ron!
Not necessarily post press related per se, but I remember back in Orange County the Director of the Department decided to throw a picnic for everybody. We had about 500 or so people working for us at the time but just a couple of people showed. He had 1000 leftover hot dogs as a result. Afterward we gave him Top Ten Lists of what he could do with all his leftover hot dogs which included using them as speed bumps in the Mailroom to slow down speeding pallet jacks or inserting them into a zone to see how the machine would handle them. We figured we would be asked one day to do it anyway with how things were going, may as well give it a try now.


July Member of the Month

Joe Dwyer : July Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highligts a member who has excelled in consistantly providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Joe Dwyer as July Member of the Month. Joe is the Distribution Manager at the The Citizen's Voice in Wilkes-Barre, PA. He is a Sr. Member and has been a member of the User Group since February 2006. He has contributed 50 posts and responses to the User Group, it's a pleasure to have Joe, we can't thank Joe enough for his on going support and appreciate his contribution.

Check out Joe's Mailroom Matters Profile

How long have you been involved with post press?
I started in this business in the Circulation Dept, first as a District Manager then as the Home Delivery Manager. After that I was moved into a position that combined some Mailroom Operations with Circulation Operations. Five years ago I was promoted to Distribution Mgr, which runs the Post-Press Operation here.

When I first started here, any inserting we had was done by hand. At one point we had 30 or more people hand inserting every night. After purchasing inserting equiptment a number of years ago we averaged about 10 people per shift to get the paper out, with up to 14 inserts on any given night, but usually less than 9 inserts. Sunday we pre-package two different packages for carriers and send the Single Copy out whole.

I've had to learn the inserting equipment from scratch and by trial and error. That's probably the same as some of the other old timers in this business. I truely enjoy the post-press operation. I've often stated they couldn't pay me enough to go back into the Circulation Dept.
What do you like most about post press?
I enjoy the challenge of getting the papers out on time with what we have to work with. I enjoy the people I work with and seeing a plan work well especially for Thanksgiving.

What do you like least about post press?
Inserts that arrive in poor condition and Ad Reps that might forget about insert orders until the very last minute.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
I think if there was some uniformity as to the size and quality of inserts we would all be better off. With newspapers going to smaller web widths, it will be interesting to see if inserts get smallers as well.

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Joe!
The incident happened years ago while I was in circulation. We printed an NE Section for our paper. Thousands were printed before someone noticed the front page, it was a picture of children in a classroom and the headline read "Fighting Literacy"
Needless to say we had to do a makeover and reprint the section.

 

June Member of the Month

Robert "Bob" McCarthy : June Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG high lights a member who has excelled in consistantly providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Robert McCarthy as June Member of the Month. Robert is the Post Press Manager at the Sun Journal in Lewiston Maine. He is a Hero Member and an original member of the User Group since September 2004. He has contributed over 50 posts and responses to the User Group, we can't thank Robert enough for his on going support and appreciate his contribution.

Check out Robert's Mailroom Matters Profile

How long have you been involved with post press?
I have been involved with post press production for 35 years. I started as a hand inserter while I was in high school. At age 18, I was put in charge of the Night-Side Inserting Crew. in 1976 we installed our firts inserting machines, 2 Muller 227's. At the time I was promoted to Supervisor of the Dayside Mailroom. In 1988, we replaced the 227's with one, 5 into one double-out 1372. In 2002, we built a new 15,000 square foot distribution facility. We installed a Ferag Gripper, a 12-2 remanufactured SLS1000 and converted the 1372 to a single out 12 into 1 inserter. In 2003 I was promoted to Post Press Manager in charge of all shifts.

What do you like most about post press?
Is the challenges that are an integral part of all newspaper operations. Keeping up with the changes in technology, solving problems and doing more with less.
We are a mature industry that has to change with the times especially in Post press. We have to improve productivity through new technology and old fashion ingenuity.

What do you like least about post press?
There are 2 areas of Post Press that I don't like to deal with, the first is insert issues. It is the number 1 problem area as far as I'm concerned. It is amazing what some of our advertisers send us to insert: paper thin inserts, paper bags glued together, extremely glossy FSI's and skids in poor shape.
The other area is the current pool of potential employees and their outlook on work and life ingeneral. It seems the attitude of this generation is so far removedfrom the workers we hired 15 to 20 years ago, it is truly amazing. A lot of employees today lack the work ethic and dedication that used to be a commonplace years ago. It is rare now to find people who who really want to work and take pride in the work they do.

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
We have done a lot to improve efficiency in our Post Press facility. We feed online from press to inserters, we use Burt for all planning, use hopper loaders whenever possible and inkjet most of our mail.
The one area that needs work but we cannot control is the inserts sent to us, difficult inserts always compromise productivity.

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Robert!
One story that comes to mind has to do with an employee's birthday. I had an employyee who was a practical jokers always liked to laugh. It was time to get even, on her birthday one of the hottest days of the year I brought her a cake. She couldn't believe that I had baked her a cake. Little did she know the cake was actually a frosted piece of wood and the look on her face when she tried to cut into it was priceless.





May Member of the Month

Frank Hermann: May Member of the Month, each month 4 PUG highlights a member who consistently provides valuable knowledge and experiences to the Post Press User Forum. 4PUG is proud to welcome back to the User Forum and recognize Frank Hermann as May's Member of the Month.
Frank is currently the Packaging and Distribution Manager at the Capital-Gazette Newspaper in Annapolis, MD. He's contributed over 50 posts since becoming a 4PUG member back in February 2005 making him a Hero Member.

Check out Frank's Mailroom Matters Profile
How long have you been involved with Post Press?
I started out as a production worker in June of 1982, became a Mechanic Trainee soon after. I became a Full-Time Mechanic in 1984 and serviced our fleet of 7 delivery vehicles as well as production duties.
Soon after became the Mechanic Supervisor in 1988 and in 2000 was made the Department Assistant Manager, in October 2006 was made the Packaging and Distribution Manager all the while continuing my education locally at Anne Arundel Community College


What do you like most about Post Press?
I enjoy the interaction with my coworkers, as a tight cohesive group as we try and tackle various challenges that come up everyday.

What do you like least about Post Press?
We're on tight deadlines as it is and sometimes we receive poorly designed inserts that arrive late and wreck havoc on our schedules.

What can be done to improve Post Press efficiency?
I'd settle for any 1 of the above from the previous question.

What is your funniest Post Press story - Thanks!
I've met some of the most amazing people in my life working at the Capital-Gazette Newspaper and over the years provide the best stories ever so last Halloween I dressed up as a Pirate to promote a healthy workplace, I strolled throughout the building in full regalia giving out candy to all the employees to promote cross department goodwill.




April Member of the Month
Steven C. Barbour: April Member of the Month, each month 4PUG high lights a member who consistently provides valuable knowledge and experiences to the Post Press User Forum. 4PUG is honored to recognize and announce Steven C. Barbour as April's Member of the Month.
Steven up until a few weeks ago was the Operations Manager at the Daily News Record in Harrisonburg, VA.
He has since started his own consulting business, we wish him well in his new endeavour.

How long have you been involved with post press?
I started in the business 26 years ago with the News and Observer in Raleigh, NC. I started as a Mailer Trainee and have since done everything from Machine Operator to Operations Manager

What do you like most about post press?
I most enjoy training on inserters and the ability to take a bright employees that chooses not to go to college and train them in a profession where they can make a decent living.

What do you like least about post press?
Employees that are opposed to the changing environment

What can be done to improve post press efficiency?
Cross training employees, seems that a lot operations allow their employees to become one dimensional.

What is your funniest post press story - Thank you Steven!
A couple of weeks after starting in the business me and another employee were wiping down a 1472. A guy with a suit and tie walks up and told me that I had missed a spot. I tossed him the rag and said "Get it"
He cracked up laughing and walked off. The guy with me said "Do you know who that was?"
I said no, he informed me that the fellow owned the paper


March Member of the Month
Steve Poehls: March Member of the Month - as always each month 4PUG highlist a member who has excelled in consistantly providing valuable knowledge & experiences to your Post Press Community. 4PUG is proud to recognize and announce Steve Poehls as March Member of the Month. Steve is the Packaging Mechanic at Quad City Times in Davenport Iowa. He is a Full Member of the User Group since January 2005. He has contributed over 50 posts and responses to the User Group, we can't thank Steve enough for his support and appreciate his contribution.

Check out Steve's Mailroom Matters Profile
How long have you been involved with post press?
I have been involved with post press production since 1978, last year of high school. I have done just about all the different jobs in the packaging department starting part time stacking the packages. I've done operating, supervising, mechanic, shortages and some circulation stuff like working on the dock. I just celebrated 30 years this January.

What do you like most about post press?
Finding answers to problems from other members with machine insert problems. I also get some good information about about equipment so we have a better idea of what to get and not.

What do you like least about post press?
Some of the inserts, especially the slick ones.