New Deadlines, Routing Software for Albany Daily's On-Time Delivery

By: E&P Staff The Albany (N.Y.) Times Union is changing its production and distribution to meet reader requests for earlier delivery, with the aim of reaching all subscribers by 6 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and by 8 a.m. on Sunday.

The 6:00 target for deliveries is unchanged from the past, but until now it had not been achieved "on a consistent basis," Marketing and Strategic Planning Director Allison Lauenstein told E&P. Copies could show up at 6:15 or even 7:00 on occasion, she said.

After a nine-month operations review, the paper found it can change parts of production to achieve "earlier and consistent on-time delivery." Tuesday through Friday, the Capital Region section prints four-and-a-half hours earlier, the sports and business sections move forward in the paper, and late-breaking community and world news appears in the main news section. Sections in the Saturday, Sunday and Monday editions are unchanged.

"We've had to move up the deadlines with the newsroom," Lauenstein said, adding, however, that that the Capital Region section was the only section to experience a major deadline change. She credited the newsroom with doing a good job to accommodate the change, noting that it "was in on the project from the beginning," during its long planning process.

The Times Union invested in SmartRoute software "to maximize delivery routes for carriers while minimizing drive time and gas expenses." It is rolling out the software to its seven distribution centers over the remainder of this year, although the software will be available to any carrier who wants it within the next 45 days.

The paper uses 500 independent carriers. "It's optional for them to use, but we figure most of them will take advantage of it," said Lauenstein.

The Hearst newspaper also is establishing three new distribution centers in and around Albany to facilitate carrier pick-up and delivery, and upgraded computers, printers and Internet access for carriers at the distribution centers.


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