Tag Archive: L.A. Times

The L.A. Times & Automation

April 10th, 2017

supply chainI toured the Los Angeles Times last week and was impressed with the automation. Although newspapers seems like an old business, it was impressive in pure size and volume with minimal people. The business sprawls 2400 acres and is run with 200 people. There were robots to move huge rolls of paper through the facility. There was automated equipment that brought the papers from the machine to the next room over where it was compiled into stacks. We were fortunate to go inside a paper machine and see just how fast the paper ran by (although the example below was stopped at the time).


Certainly, the LA Times invested in automation. However, when I asked that question, the answer was that most of this technology wasn’t new. I find this is true with clients as well — it’s interesting how often what can seem like ‘old’ technology can provide vast improvement to the status quo. Have you looked for opportunities lately?

One tip to implement this week:

As much as we love to talk about the latest and greatest technology such as artificial intelligence or drones, the majority of the time there is a vast opportunity to implement technology that might be less exciting and/or considered ‘older’ but one that will improve productivity, profitability and the like. Have you looked at your already-existing assets for new uses?

For example, I’ve implemented vendor managed inventory or collaborative inventory planning with customers many times throughout my career because it provides a win-win in HUGE proportions. It isn’t new but it achieves significant results — shorter lead times, better service, lower costs, less inventory, etc. What can you do in your business that would achieve a similar result? Think about automation. Push the envelope in thinking. And, remember, some of the best ideas come from unlikely places and with unlikely tool sets.


Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


The Largest Newspaper Operations in the U.S. – The L.A. Times

August 17th, 2016

supply chain

Last week, I went on a fascinating tour of the L.A. Times operations. It was quite impressive — and massive. Did you know the L.A. Times has the largest operation in the U.S.? They print for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and others in addition to the L.A. Times.

LA Times

The equipment and automation was simply amazing. Obviously the L.A. Times knows how to run operations — and specializes. That’s why they distribute much more than the L.A. Times. Do you know your area of expertise? How do you leverage it?

One tip to implement this week:

I don’t subscribe to the “specialize or die” mantra that some marketing folks pronounce as best. After all, one of the ways you can be an expert in your specialty is to be a generalist in several areas surrounding your area of expertise. However, knowing your area of expertise is similar to knowing your strengths. I guarantee you’ll be more successful focusing on strengths and your area of expertise than worrying about your areas of weakness!

For your career, take a step back this week and think about your best area of expertise. What is it? How can you utilize it more? Ask your colleagues for feedback. Think about how you can help others with your area of expertise.

For your company, think about your company’s best area of expertise. What differentiates you from your competition? What do you do better than anyone? Start by brainstorming all of the areas of strength. Don’t evaluate them. Just identify them for now. Once you have a list, get your team together. Rank them. Which can you build upon? There will always be a multitude of ways to further utilize these unique factors.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”