Money-Saving Ideas p.105

By: JOHN SULLIVAN DENNIS RADTKE, PURCHASING manager at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, recalled at the recent Newspaper Purchasing Managers Association meeting how everyone communicated back in 1972.
Aside from using typewriters instead of a personal computer for creating letters and purchase orders, Radtke pointed out that fax machines weren't even around.
"Back in the mid-1980s, before being hired at the Star Tribune, I remember getting orders from a branch office in London via a telex machine," remembers Radtke, "and having to respond back to them the same way. Has anyone ever made a mistake on a telex machine? What a nightmare!"
Radtke's presentation discussed two money-saving successes the Star Tribune has had in the world of communications ? two-way radios and a pager rental system.
With two-way radios, Radtke said that the Star Tribune, after a new production plant was built a couple of miles away from the office complex, began to run into a number of issues that needed to be addressed ? frequency weak spots, blocking each other's radio transmission ? within their circulation & fleet, news/photo and production areas.
"To resolve these issues," said Radtke, "a Radio Communications Committee made up of personnel from each of the business units, as well as a licensed professional communications engineer, was assembled."
All of the new equipment and systems (which was specifically detailed in Radtke's report) was ready to go in the spring of 1995, with only minor problems to report.
As for renting paging equipment and services, Radtke focused on giving members a follow-up to a previous article he had written for NPMA's newsletter this past year. Radtke provided the attendees with an example of the Star Tribune's 19-point, Request For Quote (RFQ) instruction list.
"I try to be as informative as possible when providing specifications," said Radtke, "and the report is where a lot of the information comes from."
Radtke is still surprised when he receives responses that haven't covered all the issues, questions or specifications he has asked for in his RFQs.
But after the newspaper converts their pagers to the winner of the RFQ, Radtke stated, "I'm confident that the service we will receive will be better than what we have been experiencing, and at a substantially lower cost."
After a discussion about some recent developments, such as the Motorola Powerfone (a two-way radio/mobile phone/pager with voice-mail capabilities), Radtke had an important message to leave the audience.
"Don't take what may seem as the safe, comfortable road and stay with one supplier year after year."

?( E&P Web Site:
?(copyaright: Editor & Publisher June 21, 1997)


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here