Bryan Carr, Vice President of Production for The Buffalo News, left, with Keith Hockenbery, President of The Network.

Investing in The Buffalo News Mailroom

The Buffalo News wanted to improve their packaging process, from preprint order entry to producing completed packages. They have contracted with The Network and BURT Technologies to achieve those goals, per Vice President of Production Bryan Carr.
First, The News is investing in operator training, provided by The Network’s Keith Hockenbery. An initial evaluation revealed that while their GOSS 630’s still run very well, the knowledge of the operators has been diluted over the years. Hands-on training in small groups has been very effective. “Keith’s years of experience and his training course bring back, to both our new and experienced operators, a consistent and fail-proof methodology for successful machine set-up,” says Carr.
This systematic approach results in quicker change-overs and faster running speeds, crucial improvements as zoning gets more and more fine, down to the carrier level. Several rounds of training will cover day and night shifts so that everyone has the set-up and troubleshooting skills to be successful. Per Carr, “We are already seeing improvements on some of the more challenging inserts.”
In a related project, new BURT order entry, package planning and inventory management software will replace The News’s homegrown, older preprint order entry/inventory system. This will eliminate duplicate order processing in advertising and circulation, saving labor and reducing errors. Quicker and improved package planning are other expected benefits, as the software will interface with their existing inserter control system.

 Why BURT? “Compared to others who claim the same niche of technology that BURT offers, BURT has been an established player since the late 1980s. In speaking with their customers, they were more than satisfied with system design, implementation, and customer service, including 24x7 support,” notes Carr. The systems have been improved over the years as BURT has incorporated feedback and best practices from dozens of newspapers, benefiting all their customers.

While The News chose to purchase their own hardware, one of the options BURT now offers is BURT Cloud services. The newspaper can avoid significant up-front investment in hardware, and spending time managing that hardware. Both the Software as a Service (SaaS) and Hosted solutions let customers focus on utilizing the BURT family of applications to package and deliver the newspaper, while BURT worries about stability, security, and scalability. 

For more information about how The Network and BURT can improve your mailroom’s operation, contact Keith Hockenbery at or 913-669-3646.

March 2, 2017

The post-press department at Cannon Valley Printing before and after the SLS-2000 installation.

SLS 2000 inserter installed in Minnesota

Wanting to increase throughputs and improve efficiency, Cannon Valley Printing of Northfield, MN, contracted with The Network to install a 16:2 SLS 2000 inserter. The machine was purchased from Innovative Mailroom Equipment, and had originally been installed in Vancouver, Canada. General Manager Roger Stolley noted that the installation, start-up and training plan was very well organized, and that “The Network’s trainers are top notch!” The project was completed on time and on budget.
Cannon Valley Printing is the central printing and processing center for APG Media of Southern Minnesota. Their products include the Owatonna Peoples Press and Faribault Daily News, plus shoppers and TMC products. They also produce many commercial products, including Finance and Commerce and Minnesota Lawyer.

July 14, 2015

Editor & Publisher Profile of The Network

Production: Cost Saving Partners
By Nu Yang, Managing Editor                                                                                                             February 23, 2015

 As newspapers navigate into the new year, many of them are looking for resources that will help them save on production costs. This month, we take a look at two companies, PAGE Cooperative and The Network, both with services that will not only increase the quality of your work, but rescue your bottom line . . . 
The Print Packaging Network
Launched in 2010, The Print Packing Network (otherwise known as The Network) was founded by former Muller Martini Mailroom Systems vice president of sales and marketing Keith Hockenbery. After leaving the company in 2009, he was still being contacted by his newspaper and vendor clients on leads, so he decided to create The Network.

See the rest of the story here.

Click for the BBB Business Review of this Printing Equipment in Sebastian FL

Know-How       Capability       Integrity

​​​The Network  |  Office: 913.669.3646

 All materials © Copyright 2017​ 


The Network to the Rescue in Milwaukee

In the fall of 2013, insert versions and zoning were jumping to new highs, putting a strain on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s inserting capabilities. Valuable time was lost as machines were shut down to change zones; there weren't enough hoppers to accommodate all the different inserts. Packaging Operations Manager Pete Kowalewski and Sr. Director/Plant Operations Gary Hall saw the need to expand some of their inserters in 2014, and got the capital approved.

Fast forward to September 2014. Despite receiving a contract and down payment months earlier, the original vendor could not deliver the promised equipment – they didn't have it. With the busy season right around the corner, the Journal Sentinel was in a pinch. They contacted Keith Hockenbery, owner of The Network. Keith assured them that yes, he had the needed equipment, and in fact showed it to Pete where it was in storage. The Network was granted the contract and quickly came in and converted two SLS2000 inserters to 28 hoppers each, up from 18 and 20 hoppers respectively. They also added an unwinder/title-up jacket feeder to a third machine. All the work was completed on time and on budget by The Network’s expert installers, and the Journal Sentinel is ready for the big volumes of the fourth quarter.

When asked to describe the best part of working with Keith Hockenbery and The Network, Pete Kowalewski didn’t hesitate: “Keith’s honest. If he says he can do something, he can, and it will go exactly as he said.” In fact, the Journal Sentinel is already planning another project with The Network for 2015.

November 15, 2014

Creative Problem-Solving for The Blade 

The Toledo Blade no longer needed their inserting equipment, but they desperately needed some packaging planning software. Keith Hockenbery, in his dual role of Burt Systems representative and owner of The Network, offered them a terrific deal. He would trade them their inserter and ancillary equipment for a Burt system.  So, everybody wins. Toledo gets a software system that allows them to seamlessly transfer packaging information to Detroit Newspapers, eliminating the need to re-key or otherwise duplicate information.  Burt Technologies sells a system. The Network gets a 30-hopper 632 inserter and some strappers and stackers that they can sell to another newspaper. Keith’s willingness to take the risk of being able to sell the Toledo equipment is highly noteworthy. Not many vendors will go that kind of extra mile to help a customer meet their needs, especially a small business like The Network. Understandably, the folks in Toledo were extremely happy with the deal.

September 2, 2014

Texas-Sized Productivity Improvement

The Longview (TX) News-Journal recently contracted with The Network to repair their inserter and re-train their operators. After just two week-long visits and a follow-up visit a few months later, productivity has risen from less than 5,000 cph to as much as 15,000 cph. A run that used to take up to 20 hours is now routinely completed in under 8 hours. The improvement ”more than paid for the training in a very short period of time,” said Janet Owen, Production Director.

May 2, 2014 

Other News
  • The Network has added marketing expertise by contracting with industry veteran Kathy Hunter to provide advertising, marketing communication and new business development services. Hunter was previously Director of Operations at The Seattle Times and General Manager of Transcontinental Northern California.
  • The Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale) and Orlando Sentinel  contracted with The Network to rebuild their SLS3000 feeders.
  • The Columbus Dispatch contracted with The Network to install a large Goss 632 inserter and replace more than 500 pockets on the Dispatch's four Magnapaks as they converted to a compact broadsheet format.
  • The Lawrence (KS) Journal-World purchased two NP-2 strappers from the Network to enhance the productivity of their SLS1000. The SLS1000 was purchased from Profitpackaging.​

News from The Network

Improved Off Times for the Valley News

When Newspapers of New England needed to increase their inserting capacity at the Lebanon (NH) Valley News, they remembered the successful projects that The Network had completed for them in Concord and Northampton. The Network's skilled experts came through again, installing an SLS1000.
Watch their outstanding debut run, cycling at  an impressive 11,600 cph,  limited only by the need to manually count carrier keys on the tie-lines. It was also the first time they had ever used hopperloaders, but the staff caught on quickly. The big payoff came at Thanksgiving, when they were able to finish production over an hour earlier than in the past.

SLS3000 inserter installed in Pontiac

​​21st Century Media Michigan, a division of Digital First Media, has chosen The Network to reconfigure and install a 30-feeder SLS3000 at their Pontiac inserting facility. The machine is being moved from the 21st Century plant in Mount Clemens, Michigan. The relocation includes expanding the inserter from 24 to 30 feeders. The Network is providing all engineering services necessary for the project.  Notice the unusual side-mounting of the delivery conveyor. 
According to Pat Eagan, Vice President/Operations for 21st Century Media Michigan, “We selected The Network because they had the capability to handle the project from beginning to end, including commissioning and operator training.” 

Postpress Upgrade for Journal Register Offset

21st Century Media unit Journal Register Offset of Exton, PA, is adding an inserter and additional equipment to its mailroom in a project being overseen by The Network.
The Network is installing and providing start-up services for the 8:2 SLS2000, which was originally installed at the St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press. Also included in the project is a Flexi-Roll twin unwinder. This will allow the plant to wind up products off the press and unwind them directly into the jacket hopper of the inserter, a productivity improvement over the hand feeding that is currently required. According to Gary Coppola, General Manager of Journal Register Offset: “Keith has done a lot of work lately for our parent company 21st Century Media/Media News Group with great success,” and this project will “save us time, money and finally give us a 100% back up mailroom equipment as we will be able to utilize the unwinding station.”
 In a previous project, The Network provided engineering, programming and installation services when JRO updated its tie lines with Quipp Pacman stackers and Dynaric strappers as part of a transition to 44” web width.
Journal Register Offset produces six daily newspapers, including the Delaware County (PA) Times and the Trentonian (NJ), as well as 40 weekly newspapers and two commercial daily newspapers.
February 23, 2015

Audit and Training Avert Disaster at the Chronicle-Telegram
​Avoiding costly down time is a high priority for Mailroom Manager Dave Demyan at the Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram. That’s why he brought in The Network to audit their equipment and provide training for the team. The timing was excellent, as The Network’s president, Keith Hockenbery, discovered a drive shaft in danger of failure, which could have shut down one of the two inserters for days. There were also some very worn bearings on the overhead conveyor. Those parts are being replaced, avoiding serious problems.
The operator training also proved its worth right away. Keith was able to explain how the machine was intended to be run, which was somewhat different than the way they had been running it, Demyan admitted. The operators can also now refer to booklets with set-up tips provided by The Network. Result: Unopened jackets are down 20%. After the on-site work was completed, Keith made multiple follow-up calls to make sure there were no remaining issues or questions. That kind of customer service is “sometimes lacking, and very much appreciated,” said Demyan.

February 22, 2016

Northern California Newspapers Optimize Packaging

In a move to improve productivity and efficiency, California Newspapers Partnership, a unit of Digital First Media, contracted with The Network for a multifaceted project. The Network disassembled a 10:2 SLS 1000 inserting machine at the Vacaville Reporter, then reassembled it at the Chico Enterprise-Record. The installation included new inserter controls. Also in Chico, The Network upgraded a 1372 inserter, and provided operational and maintenance training for the Chico staff on both machines. The project was finished in time for the Enterprise-Record to be ready for the busy fourth quarter.
December 6. 2015