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Panpa Bulletin : March 2006
40 | PaNPa bUlletiN March 2006 Planning for installation of the latest generation of Atex Genera editorial, ad- vertising and internet systems at the Manawatu Standard in Palm- erston North will be completed by end of June and installation finished in the second half of the year. NigelBailey,FairfaxNewZealand's group operations manager, said that a firm date for installation had not been set as yet. "We will not be mov- ing on until we are certain that the model is right for subsequent sites," Bailey said. "Since the Atex contract was signed in November the main focus has been on planning. In par- ticular, there has been considerable work done to develop the functional requirements for both editorial and advertising components, establish- ing a high-level program plan, and recruiting the best people possible to the project teams." The Manawatu Standard was chosen to be the first daily newspa- per in the group to receive the new system for a number of reasons, Bailey said. "First, it is currently be- ing produced on ageing Atex J11 server hardware, which, although it has performed extremely well over many years, is rapidly approaching end-of-life. "Secondly, we felt that it was sen- sible to kick-off the programme with a site that was not one of our largest sites, but which was of a size that would give us enormous learning before tackling Wellington's [much larger] The Dominion Post. "Finally," said Bailey, "the Stand- ard is relatively close to Wellington (about two hours drive), so in many respects the first installation is also a lead-in to The Dominion Post im- plementation. "By the completion of the instal- lation on these two sites, we would expect to have a robust implemen- tation model that can be used to fast track future sites. A decision on the order of subsequent implementa- tions will be made soon." Late last year Fairfax New Zea- land's chief operating officer Peter O'Hara said those newspapers with the oldest systems were likely to be first in line. Aside from The Domin- ion Post and the Manawatu Stand- ard these included the Taranaki Daily News, New Plymouth, and the Waikato Times, Hamilton. Bailey, whose recent experience was managing Fairfax group-wide technology functions across Victo- ria and New South Wales, said the technology implementation's major disruption to the daily production of a newspaper would be the training phases, when often large numbers of staff were out of the system. The challenge, he said, was to run effec- tive training courses without signifi- cant impact on daily production. When asked if the switchover to the new system would be phased in or instantaneous Bailey said, "This will vary from site to site and from department to department. Edito- rially it is relatively easy to phase in production, although it is far from ideal to have a lengthy transition period when staff must work across two systems. "Advertising, however, is more difficult to transition in phases, so a 'big bang' approach is more likely at each site." What will staff using the new sys- tem notice that is different from the old?"The major noticeable differ- ences at the front end will be mod- ern Windows-based FUI, and the quantum leap in functionality," Bai- ley said. "I would also expect staff to notice improvements in response rate speed. "Given that the technology is built on a relational database, there will also be many advances in the ability to develop detailed, real- time reporting, as well as integrate with other core systems such as fi- nance." Standardisation and consolida- tion of systems for administration, finance, and sales would occur over the next few years but, said Bailey, this was not in the scope of the cur- rent programme. New system for Manawatu Standard an update on the roll in of the new atex Genera system, writes Warren Page LOCAL Agfa management con- firmed in February that owing to the rising cost of raw mate- rials, the company would in- crease plate prices in Australia and New Zealand substantial- ly -- effective from mid-March 2006. The manufacturing cost of plates continues to be im- pacted by the soaring prices of aluminium and silver (reach- ing 17- and 19-year highs), and continued energy and transportation cost increases. "Our customers tell us that they understand we are all in the same position," said Agfa Graphics' regional general man- ager John Shore. "I have met with many of our valued cus- tomers and they all confirm that what's important to them is the high quality of our products, our customer service and our continued product innovation. We are grateful to them for their understanding and for their loy- alty to our partnership." "Our customers value Agfa Graphics' high-quality com- mitment to 'stay ahead' and expect us to continue investing in leading-edge technology and innovative solutions," said Agfa Graphics' Global President, Ste- faan Vanhooren. "That is why we believe they will understand the necessity of these price in- creases." Shore confirmed that the price rise is the first in the re- gion for many years. "Prices rose in 2005 in Europe but lo- cally Agfa negated such initial increases due to favourable ex- change rates with the Australian and New Zealand dollars. How- ever, this recent sharp rise in aluminium and energy pricing has clearly outpaced even the best performing currencies," he said. Plate prices going up “the major noticeable differences at the front end will be modern Windows-based fUi, and the quantum leap in functionality,” bailey said. “i would also expect staff to notice improvements in response rate speed.