'St. Pete Times' Surpasses Web-Break Goal

By: Jim Rosenberg The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times finished 2004 with 77 newsprint rolls per web break, an improvement over the 61-roll average in 2003 and exceeding its 2004 goal of 75 rolls.

Attributing the achievement to a team effort -- from paperhandling through all areas of production and including detailed daily communication with paper suppliers -- Operations Director Joe DeLuca called the targeted 75 rolls "very ambitious when you consider that the daily newspaper industry average ... is in the low 60s." That average, he added, "includes many newspapers that don't have anywhere near the press starts and stop we have for regional sections and zoning."

Until now, the fewest breaks at the Times occurred in 1999, when it reached 70 rolls per break. Its low point was two years earlier, with 41 rolls.

In a message to staff, DeLuca cited systematic improvements by task forces working on two presses, with breaks on the Number 3 press dropping from one per 54 rolls in 2003 to one per 83 rolls last year.

DeLuca said the superior performance aided consistent delivery through fewer unplanned press stops, provided consistent print quality from fewer press restarts, and, for the same reasons, reduced the level of paper and ink waste.

In a related area, the Times attained 99.7% paster performance, or one failure for every 305 rolls, which DeLuca said resulted from "excellent training and establishment of standard procedures in our reelroom."


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