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Pueblo Chieftain becomes a model for commercial achievement with its UNISET press from MAN Roland

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Press release from the issuing company

Newspapers that are considering boosting revenue by using their production streams for commercial printing can find a thriving success model in Pueblo, Colorado. The Pueblo Chieftain installed a MAN Roland UNISET over nine years ago to capture after-hours printwork. Now it’s planning to add more color capacity to keep up with a commercial printing operation that just keeps growing. Founded in 1868, the Pueblo Chieftain serves the 16 counties of southern Colorado achieving a 53,250 daily circulation and 55,000 on Sundays. To bring those readers a more colorful product, the newspaper installed its UNISET 60 in 1997, activating a press with two 4/4 towers, two 4/2 towers and two 1/1 units. Two MAN Roland jaw folders complete the system, which consists of a total of 32 printing couples. Commercial Acquisition The capabilities of the new press accelerated the Chieftain’s commercial printing initiative, which now includes weekly, bimonthly and monthly tabloid publications for entities throughout the region. Automotive, furniture and real estate supplements are also mainstays. Ned Sutton, the paper’s Production Director, says that the UNISET’s color capacity and print quality have helped drive his company’s commercial success. “For example, we do a magazine called Backwoodsman,” he notes. “When we started, their print run was 22,000 copies. Now because of all the extra color we’ve provided, they’re up to 60,000.” Sutton adds that all of his commercial accounts came on board due to the added color capacity the UNISET delivers: “Many of our customers left other printers to work with us because we had such a large amount of color capacity. The commercial shops that lost out had to make several runs on each job to get them the color they required. We can do it all in one run on our UNISET. You save a lot of money that way.” Steps to Success Being able to offer more color capacity than the competition is Sutton’s first rule of commercial success. And the color needs to be consistent and of the highest quality. That’s why Sutton holds his UNISET 65 in such high regard. Step two is to become SNAP certified by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). SNAP stands for specifications for newsprint advertising production, and involves printing test forms and sending print samples to the association’s SNAP panel of judges. The process is quite rigorous; with only 49 U.S. newspapers certified this year. The Pueblo Chieftain achieved SNAP accreditation for the past two years and intends to keep the winning streak going. “SNAP documents that your procedures and equipment are in order to provide your commercial customers with the best color and best print quality possible,” Sutton says. “All the essentials, including dot gain, register and density are measured and benchmarked. You have to go through the certification process every year, but it’s worth it. Just make sure you have a state-of-the-art press that’s up to the task.” Sutton’s third commercial printing tip is to make sure to get buy-in from all internal departments that are affected by press scheduling. To-the-point weekly meetings make sure that no one is unaware of the game plan. “Everyone needs to be sensitive that you’re going beyond putting out a major newspaper every day, and that there are also commercial products that need to be published on deadline,” he notes. “Once in a while, it will interfere with the daily production. So before you get into commercial printing, make sure editorial, advertising sales, and production are on board with what you're trying to accomplish.” Last but not least is the importance of superior customer service. “There’s not too much selling involved,” Sutton says. “Myself and Dave Wheelwright, our pressroom manger, take care of our commercial accounts and we found that it’s our customer service that has bought them in.” Years of dealing with daily deadlines and getting the job done no matter what challenges arise give Sutton and his team the edge here. “Some of our accounts come from commercial printers who don’t have very good customer service,” he observes. “We pride ourselves on the good working relationships we maintain with all of our customers. We’re partners in their success and we do everything we can to create a friendly and helpful attitude toward our commercial accounts.” Rewarding Readers That attitude also applies to the Pueblo Chieftain’s advertisers and readers with equally good results. The paper ranks first in the U.S. in percentage of households who subscribe, with a score of 78%. That compares to market penetration rates of 45% for the Washington Post or 29.6% for the Denver Post. “That speaks for itself – keeping our penetration and circulation numbers up whereas other newspapers are losing ground,” Sutton observes. “We’re keeping our readers happy and our advertisers happy with more color and better service.” Chieftain production crews have also established a good working relationship with their UNISET press. “It’s going on 10 years now, and our UNISET is running fine,” Sutton points out. “We’re serious about our preventive maintenance program and keep people onboard to make sure our rollers are set properly and our blankets are changed and our press is clean.” MAN Roland is an integral part of the plan. The Chieftain crews stay in touch online with the press maker’s printservices technicians and Sutton keeps in close contact with his MAN Roland Sales Manager, Keith Kandrashoff. “Keith is an extension of our tech team, even though he’s in sales,” Sutton says. “He makes sure everything gets done whenever we have a request or a question. You can always count on him.” The only update that the Chieftain’s UNISET has undergone was the addition of a quarter folder shortly after it was installed. But Sutton may soon be adding to the press: “We're considering converting the two 4/2 towers to 4/4 units. We need increased color capabilities for our commercial accounts and our daily newspaper advertisers also are requesting more color.” Vincent Lapinski, COO of Web Operations for MAN Roland Inc., says other newspapers can learn a lesson from the commercial printing success of the Pueblo Chieftain. “If you build your color capacity, they will come,” he says. “MAN Roland has the technology to make adding more color a profitable experience for any newspaper.”




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