It has been a few weeks since my last note, and I just wanted to take a moment to update you on a few important initiatives.
The disruption in delivery continues to be the most important and most pressing challenge we face. Unfortunately, the issue is still not completely fixed.
Although more than 95 percent of our customers receive consistent and timely delivery, our contracted carrier force continues to struggle in key concentrated geographic areas such as Huntington Beach, Fullerton, Cypress and a handful of other neighborhoods.
The prevailing question is, ''Why is this taking so long?'' Comments range from the polite ''What's happening?'' to the very direct - ''Are you stupid?'' I wish the answer were simple and the solution more attainable.
As you may remember from my last note, 530 routes (each averaging about 500 households) have been transitioned from the L.A. Times to ACI. The majority of these routes are covered by permanent carriers who have the familiarity and experience to deliver to hundreds of homes and apartments before sunrise.
However, some of these routes are covered by temporary or brand new carriers. They are often ill-equipped to handle the arduousness of the task. The routes have dozens of special instructions, such as gate codes, vacation holds or specific placement of the paper.
Over the course of the last four weeks, ACI and the independent distributors have faced a number of challenges - most notably the shortage of qualified applicants and turnover among temporary drivers. The challenge is compounded by the fact that the L.A. Times and ACI are sourcing contractors from the same pool of qualified applicants.
That said, ACI has made a number of recent adjustments that will provide relief in the days and weeks ahead - e.g., sourcing professional carriers with existing knowledge of the affected areas and opening a new distribution center that is centrally located to where delivery problems persist.
I am optimistic that these actions will continue to improve our circumstances. We just need to keep fighting.
In that spirit, I am very excited to announce a brand new effort that will be rolled out over the next few days. We call it the WE CARE campaign.
Many of you have reached out to me to ask how you can help and get more involved. Truth is, we need your help and our customers need to hear from you. I take full responsibility for not having organized a robust, companywide effort earlier. That said, we need your help, and we need it now.
By the end of the week, we will be inviting associates to help in calling back subscribers who have been affected by the disruption in service. We want to give our customers the opportunity to talk to a real person with a sympathetic ear. Most importantly, we want our customers to know that we care.
My experience is that subscribers just want their paper. Barring that, they at least want to be acknowledged and know somebody cares about their concerns.
Please look for the upcoming announcements with more detail on the WE CARE program. Thank you in advance for providing any help in making our customers feel like we care.
As always, I appreciate your continued commitment and dedication.
The blog was started to talk about issues impacting the pressroom both positively and negatively. The views expressed here are not of the LA Times, but of each individual's opinion. The Pressmen's Club is composed of men and women who have printed the paper for twenty years or more. Semi-annual dinners are held in March and October. See Ed Padgett for more information.