Making the mail

Jul 31, 2013 By Steven R. Peck

We'll post our deadline performance on this page every day, starting now

We wrote earlier this year about a change in the post office's new deadline for accepting delivery of our newspaper's to-be-mailed copies each day. It's two hours earlier than it used to be, with the latest hour chopped off a couple of months ago.

If we don't make it by the new deadline, then the paper gets delivered a day later than usual in the mail (Ranger carrier subscribers are not affected by the change).

It's easy to say "just get the papers there by the deadline," but lopping a full hour off our production period is much easier said than done. Our pressroom in particular is a busy place, printing seven other newspapers each week in addition to The Ranger. Sometimes a story we are counting on for that day doesn't come together as expected. Sometimes an advertiser insists on a late change or hasn't given the final go-ahead for an ad by our normal press time.

Sometimes there is a mechanical problem in the press room or the mailroom. And, yes, sometimes there is a problem on the mail route itself that has nothing to do with the newspaper.

We are not in the excuse business, but we do offer these insights by way of explanation. We have "made the mail" almost every day since the change was announced, and we are working to modify our internal processes to achieve 100 percent compliance -- on our end.

Once we hand the papers off to the post office, however, our mailed subscriptions become the post office's responsibility. Some subscribers have reported late deliveries more often than we have missed the deadline, particularly in a certain area of the county.

Postal workers locally have their own challenges, to be sure. We aren't insensitive to them, and no one in the Riverton post office came up with the earlier deadline. It was handed down from above. We all have to live with this -- the newspaper and post office. On that topic, we are happy to note that the post office locally has shown some much-appreciated flexibility in recent weeks that wasn't always there earlier. If they see us coming, sometimes they will hold the truck.

Here's a step we're taking: Beginning today, we plan to post the time we delivered the previous day's papers to the post office in each edition so that we and they can help ensure the delivery that our subscribers are paying for and that we are paying -- handsomely -- for the post office to accomplish on our behalf and yours.

It will appear daily just below this space -- including if we were late.

We are ready to accept responsibility for late mail delivery when we have failed to make the post office deadline. But we are all in this together, and when we do our part we need our delivery partners to do the same, whether they are postal carriers or our own drivers and paper carriers. And when we don't, then we will own up to it -- something our delivery partners ought to do as well.

Our first daily accounting of our own deadline performance appears below. We expect it to be motivation for us to "make the mail" every day, despite extraordinary news developments or technical issues.


SUBSCRIBERS: Tuesday's edition of The Ranger was delivered to the Riverton post office at 3:30 p.m., in time to meet the postal deadline for next-day mail delivery.

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