Friday, March 02, 2007

Operations Management - Follow up of insert of StyleJournal Magazine in The Wall Street Journal newspaper in the UK

People versus Machine

Picture: The luxurious quarterly, StyleJournal magazine, as an 'on-sert', meaning it is being put on the cover of the newspaper, after which the combination is pollywrapped (sealed in plastic). The package as pictered here is designed to be sold in the UK newsstands.

Globally the magazine will be 'in'serted and 'on'serted in all 10 European Wall Street Journal printplants.

From an operational standpoint it is always a question how the project will be carried out: because of the format and weight of the magazine it sometimes makes sense to use a machine to do the inserting job, sometimes it is better to do the inserting by hand.

In the UK we already experimented with both set ups. On two occasions a group of Nigerian women inserted all the UK magazines by hand, fighting time, paper, ink, cold, and unstable bundles. It means work for an extra group of 10 women who can come in during the night. Today we experiment for the second time with an automatic inserting procedure, leaving all the work to an inserting machine. It is clear after todays project that if the machine is prepapered the correct way, and when there is a nice 'heavy' newspaper available to insert the magazine into, the machine has an advantage over the women. Much to the dislike of the women who see the machine as a living competitor. What also doesn't help in such somewhat darker and gloomy mailrooms is that all machines are operated by men. I have the impression that if a woman would be the operator of the machine she could help 'sell' the machine solution to her fellow female colleagues.