Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Helping get the papers out to customers

Mark Fletcher
December 22nd, 2017 · 8 Comments

Looking at some recent comments here I realised that some newsagents may not understand how engaged the newsagency software companies can be beyond software support. Here is one example from this week.

A newsagent unexpectedly walked away from their business, appointing a liquidator, without notice to anyone including newspaper publishers. The liquidator seized the computers of the business, moving them hundreds of kilometres away, before anyone realised. This was planned, but to the detriment of customers and other stakeholders. On those computers is newspaper home delivery details.

The newspaper publisher cannot serve their customers without access to customer data.

The team at Tower Systems has been working with the publisher to access data files with some assistance from the liquidator. The files have been checked and daily run lists produced. Then the data was loaded to a virtual cloud based instance of the Tower software so data access through Christmas can be provided, to ensure papers continue to be delivered.

It has been a time consuming process but one which has been done as this is what the Tower team do regularly. The work has been done without charge.

All through the focus has been serving the newspaper home delivery customers of the now closed business. While this for sure benefits the publisher, it also benefits the channel as it shows the channel responding to ensure that newsagent customers do not lose out when a newsagent walks away.

This story reflects one of several not obviously software company matters the team at Tower has been dealing with this week, other software companies will have similar stories. Close to half the work of the help desk is outside traditional software assistance.

20 likes

Category: Newsagency management · Newspapers

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Andrew // Dec 22, 2017 at 7:14 AM

    Hi Mark
    if the publisher allowed the newsagent to charge what it really cost to deliver the papers then this may have been avoided

    3 likes

  • 2 Colin, Malvern SA // Dec 22, 2017 at 7:43 AM

    Hi,

    This article and the earlier one re magazine price changes have reminded me that Tower is not just a POS system, more retail management. It is comforting to know there is support if needed for tackling the traumas of retail.

    But, if the cost of support includes providing free services to publishers, help desks clogged with callers stressed about 50c price increases. Then I would like to sure these services are minimised and in no way result in increases in support costs.

    As they say, charity starts at home.

    3 likes

  • 3 Mark Fletcher // Dec 22, 2017 at 8:03 AM

    Colin, Tower Systems has increased its support fees twice in the last five years. The total increase over that five year period is less than 10%, considerably less than the real cost increase to the business. Also, in that time, there has been a considerable net increase in services provided to newsagents, such as unlimited one on one training.

    In terms of calls that are not really software support related. This has always been there and always will be, unfortunately. The Tower help desk management team try and triage so that such calls are not too much of a drain. However, poor communication by publishers, Gotch and XchangeIT unnecessarily add to this type of traffic. hence the need for them to provide advance notice so the Tower team can take action to stop the calls before they are made.

    1 likes

  • 4 Curious // Dec 22, 2017 at 9:25 AM

    I have used Tower support often and I think it is value for money.

    Off Topic- How do the paper companies stand in relation to the new fairwork laws concerning the payment of delivery drivers. They would be held responsible if the is underpayment going on.

    Mark could you open a discussion on this matter.

    2 likes

  • 5 Peter // Dec 22, 2017 at 1:19 PM

    Curious,

    If it applies to delivery drivers then would almost certainly apply to shop staff. Although I do think this application of fairwork laws is not very likely. This applies to Franchsiees and Lotto has been asking questions though.

    0 likes

  • 6 Mark Fletcher // Dec 22, 2017 at 1:23 PM

    While I am no lawyer my take is that the act as interpreted currently by the regulator could ensnare publishers because of the control they exert over distribution businesses: control over pricing, remuneration and service provision standards. Plus that they get to determine who buys a business.

    3 likes

  • 7 Steve // Dec 22, 2017 at 2:17 PM

    I agree Mark, no different to 7eleven who didnt dictate staff pay rates to franchisees but had a business model that made underpayment necessary to survive.
    All it will take to bust it open is for a journalist to look into it and expose it in a newspaper article. And that will be happening on the same day hell freezes over.

    1 likes

  • 8 Mark Fletcher // Dec 22, 2017 at 10:45 PM

    Steve you made me laugh. I think there will be some suppliers who will point fingers if they get roped in.

    0 likes

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