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Complaints about Network Services invoices

Mark Fletcher
May 23rd, 2014 · 8 Comments

Newsagency software company POS Solutions has published concerns at their company blog about Network Services invoices and a recent meeting involving Network and the ANF:  over the problem with network invoices. The post goes on to explain the concerns they have:

I am not sure what happened maybe the ANF team were ambushed so they were not briefed in advance on the issue. Anyway as a result the ANF have announced they have a solution, but it does not work.

That is why so many people are complaining.

The main problem is that network’s NEW system is a major set backwards for newsagents processing magazines and despite many complaints by almost everyone in the industry, little has been done to fix it.

Note when I say NEW we are talking over fours years, this is how long the problem been going on.

My own experience does not match that being complained about by POS. The changes by Network to item sequence and moving from multiple invoices to one invoice were first implemented in Victoria years ago. I and many newsagents I know adjusted in-store processes and soon adapted to the changes.

While there is a change to digest, it is not a big deal in my view. Printing magazine labels on A4 sheets makes it easier to find labels for titles. I suspect that labels on a roll might be more challenging.

Using the Network supplied early file, printing alphabetically makes it simple to match labels and title. Using the later file from Network it is sequenced as close as possible to the bundled sequence – so no issue there.

Having one invoice makes account reconciliation much easier.

Network went into this change years ago through a process of full consultation. All stakeholders had an opportunity to be heard. The first releases in NSW and VIC led to adjustments following feedback from newsagents and software companies.

It is frustrating to see time being spent on such a non issue. I can’t see any reason for the ANF and Network to have met to discuss this – given the prior consultation and the years of happy use.

The only real issue I am aware of is where in some remote areas newsagents are invoiced for stock to be received at a later date. This is the one thing that I see network needing to resolve.

11 likes

Category: magazines · Newsagency management

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 subaru // May 23, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Mark,

    Gotta say i disagree with you on this one.

    The EDI as sent by network has always been far more difficult to deal with than GG. How is it that GG manage to send out a file, in invoice order a number of days ahead of the stock arriving?

    And Network (used to send) a mess on a number of “despatch’s” containing any number of “references” within that despatch – and sort upon the reference # rather than the despatch #?
    And now send a mess on a number of “despatch’s” with a single “reference” for all stock and still sort it on the “reference” number.

    Yes i can print alphabetically, but it is still a mess compared to the way GG send the files.

    The labels on a roll are not a problem for us. No disrespect to the Tower Systems intended, but I think I would find labels on an A4 sheet more wasteful – if the last label printed was the first label on a new sheet, the rest of the sheet of labels would be unusable and thrown away.
    I also think i would find the number of sheets harder to handle than a long single strip of labels.

    At least with labels on a roll you tear off what is printed and the rest of the roll sits in the printer until the next print run.

    Using the “early” file is out of the question for us – as it states on the EDI preference on netonline

    “File creation begins at 6pm (Sydney time) the night before delivery, the file will then be available to you between 6.30pm and 9.00pm (Sydney Time)”

    I have my labels printed by around 5pm so I can get other things done before closing the shop as I am generally on my own from this time.

    By the way we close at 6pm during the week and 2pm on saturday and sunday.

    I am not staying back until POTENTIALLY 9pm to print labels to suit Network on a sunday or any other night for that matter – when the labels printed for GG can be done days ahead with accurate info at the time of printing.

    If GG can manage it, then Network should be able to as well.

    2 likes

  • 2 Mark Fletcher // May 23, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Subaru Gotch and network have different back office systems and processes so we cannot reasonably expect one to operate the way of the other.

    My post was reflecting that I find in my own newsagency no issue with what is being called the new process of network. When the change occurred for my shops I had no frustration or impediment to productivity. And I say that as someone who would not hold back complaining in this forum if otherwise was the case.

    0 likes

  • 3 John Fitzpatrick // May 23, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Guys

    I speak as a large distribution newsagent (we are in the top 55 Newsagencies for sales of Network product according to Connections) the new invoicing system is not as issue for us in anyway.

    We do not use either Tower or POS Solutions systems.

    This all comes back to a earlier topic – why print labels? The ANF should have been advocating for return dates, pricing etc to be printed all in a common place – top left hand corner on face of magazine. Now if they want to re issue the magazine OK than they (the distributor) can re sticker over the printed information – at their cost.

    I know Publishers and distributors have problems with the above concept – but guys get your act together and come into the real world it’s only a magazine facing.

    John

    3 likes

  • 4 Mark Fletcher // May 23, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    John I published a post recently showing how US publishers include recall dates on magazine covers.

    Labels can be useful showing quantity received and some other information.

    My advice on label printing is to only print for low volume monthlies as a returns management aid.

    1 likes

  • 5 Brendan // May 24, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    I print both G&G and Network labels together on A4 in alphabetic order. Networks mags are in alphabetical within a bundle and are easy to label. Gotches can be more difficult but I sort them alphabetically as I check them off then label them. Again fairly easy. If only part of an a4 sheet is used it can be put in the other way and used for other products that don’t require a full sheet ar for the last incomplete sheet of a Magazine print. Wastage is usually minimal this way.

    3 likes

  • 6 Mark Fletcher // May 28, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    I am surprised there have been complaints about this given it’s been running in Victoria happily for years.

    0 likes

  • 7 MURRAY // May 29, 2014 at 5:59 AM

    Yes its a pain, but printing in alphabetical order is a very simple fix. If you are having difficulty finding it, scan it in your POS and the description on the screen will mirror the sticker.
    What I would like to see fixed is the supply levels of magazines. The amount of rubbish we receive at the end of the month is beyond a joke.

    5 likes

  • 8 Mark Fletcher // May 29, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    That’s my point Murray. This is hardly a major issue. Network consulted widely on this years ago.

    1 likes

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