We had been expecting the commencement of printing of NewsDay since December 2009.
The “Rainbow Press” was ready to roll. Experienced machine minders and their support staff had been recruited and were on standby for months.
They anxiously expected to go into action at short notice. The warehouse was stocked up to the brim with newsprint reels and other relevant printing materials. When the day came, we had been waiting for a long, long time.
We could not help it though, a deep sense of anxiety in us. When the day to start printing arrived, numerous questions rang in our heads and could be summed up in one question: “Are we really ready to do this?”
The first pages came through the Computer to Plate (CTP) machine as scheduled. Printing plates were made and given to the printers. The first section was printed in good time. The last section was printed and done before midnight as planned, to allow the delivery vehicles to touch all parts of Zimbabwe before sunrise the following day.
The days that followed were more challenging than the first. Some printing consumables ran out faster than was envisaged. The long process of procurement had to be short-circuited to meet the strict delivery deadlines of a daily.
Our coordination and communication skills were brought to bear.
Tempers flared and fingers were pointed at each other, but at the end of the day the scheduled delivery times were met.
The quality on advertisements was an issue that raised heated debate. The quality had to be just what the customer had ordered. No excuse was accepted and this resulted in everyone in the production chain putting their heads together. Soon we received accolades from the market for producing a good product.
As the number of copies being printed increased in leaps and bounds, the production systems were overburdened and were consistently being challenged. Printing schedules were constantly discussed and adjusted to the frustration mostly of the marketing department who needed to pull back the submission times for advertising materials.
We now have fine-tuned the production and printing schedules. For the quantities we are printing we are pleased with the delivery times of NewsDay in Harare and the rest of Zimbabwe.
We have learnt a lot of lessons, the biggest one being working as a team. We are ready to tackle printing assignments from other dailies in need of our services.