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Philip Drumheller, President & Owner, Lane Press, Inc. To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: “I Would Advise Publishers To Lean On Their Printers For Problem-Solving – Now More Than Ever.” The Mr. Magazine™ Interview…

April 20, 2020

Publishing During A Pandemic (17)

 “Magazines have always been an effective form of entertainment – a chance to dive into a tactile, sensory experience that is immersive and can take your mind off the stresses of the day. How much do we all need that right now? To step back and read about inspiring home design or the noble undertakings of our alumni peers, or just to look through a curated photo gallery? When your favorite magazine comes right to you at your doorstep and you can sit back and get lost in it – that’s something we can all benefit from now.” … Philip Drumheller

 

Founded in 1904, Lane Press, located in Burlington, Vermont, is distinguished by its rich history of printing and publishing innovation. During this pandemic, Philip Drumheller, president and owner of the company, said they are open and ready to serve their clients, but are operating “very carefully and very thoughtfully.”

I reached out to Philip recently and asked him about this tragic pandemic, its effect on the business, and what he feels makes magazines and magazine media relevant, especially during these uncertain times.

“At a time like this, people are seeking trustworthy content that helps them understand the many aspects of this evolving health care crisis.”

So, here is the 17th Mr. Magazine™ interview in the series of Publishing During A Pandemic with Philip Drumheller, president & owner, Lane Press, Inc.

But first the sound-bites:

On how Lane Press is operating during this pandemic: Very carefully and very thoughtfully. We are an essential business per the state of Vermont’s Governor’s “Stay Home” order, and we very much agree with that. We know how important it is for publishers to be able to communicate with their readership without interruption – especially in such an unusual time.

On the steps they are taking to keep employees who are still working onsite safe: The health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. We have followed the guidance of the CDC from the very beginning of the outbreak. We have very thorough cleaning and disinfecting procedures in place; we ensure that employees who are in the plant maintain adequate distancing between each other; and we have as many employees working from home as possible

On the impact of the pandemic on the business: We do have a few customers who are cancelling their spring issues. Some are consolidating their spring issues with summer or combining months. It very much depends on market segment – we serve many different types of magazine publishers, all of whom have different needs and challenges right now. Our goal is to help them meet those challenges by being as flexible and creative as we can.

On any shortage of materials or workforce: No, we haven’t seen any disruption in our supply chain. And our workforce is incredibly dedicated.

On whether he ever imagined working during something like a pandemic: I’m sure none of us imagined anything of this ilk and magnitude occurring, but we’ve always believed it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. We’ve always focused on having solid processes and well-established lines of communication in place – both internally and with our customers – so that when something comes up, these foundational pillars give us a functional, effective framework to operate in.

On what message he is communicating with his clients and his employees: Lane Press remains open and is here to help publishers continue serving their readership. And we’re doing this with a constant eye toward protecting our employees and our community.

On what he feels makes magazines and magazine media relevant today: Magazines are a vehicle for high-quality content – vetted, trustworthy, in-depth content. At a time like this, people are seeking trustworthy content that helps them understand the many aspects of this evolving health care crisis.

On any additional words of wisdom: I would advise publishers to lean on their printers for problem-solving – now more than ever. When our customers tell us they’re challenged in a particular way, we work hard to come up with novel ways to help them.

On what keeps him up at night: Concerns about the economy keep me up. There are so many small businesses in our local community and among our customer base that have worked so hard to build their businesses. And there are so many employees depending on them to continue to do so.

And now  the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Philip Drumheller, president & owner, Lane Press, Inc.

Samir Husni: How is Lane Press operating during this pandemic?

Philip Drumheller: Very carefully and very thoughtfully. We are an essential business per the state of Vermont’s Governor’s “Stay Home” order, and we very much agree with that. We know how important it is for publishers to be able to communicate with their readership without interruption – especially in such an unusual time. People need continued access to information and thought leadership. We’re glad that we can be here, open, and of service to our customers in this delicate time.

Samir Husni: Since you can’t print from home, what are the steps you are taking to social distance and ensure everyone still at the workplace is as safe as possible?

Philip Drumheller: The health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. We have followed the guidance of the CDC from the very beginning of the outbreak. We have very thorough cleaning and disinfecting procedures in place; we ensure that employees who are in the plant maintain adequate distancing between each other; and we have as many employees working from home as possible – our administrative staff and a portion of our customer service staff. I think it’s fair to say we haven’t skipped a beat.

Samir Husni: What has been the impact so far on the publishing frequency, printing, mailing, etc.? Any change in the print schedule from your clients? Skipping issues, reducing print run, etc.

Philip Drumheller: We do have a few customers who are cancelling their spring issues. Some are consolidating their spring issues with summer or combining months. It very much depends on market segment – we serve many different types of magazine publishers, all of whom have different needs and challenges right now. Our goal is to help them meet those challenges by being as flexible and creative as we can.

For example, we’ve been offering our customers special incentives on add-on features so they can add pandemic-related messaging to their magazine – like on a bellyband, a tip, or an onsert inside a polybag. All of these are great ways to add an extra layer of communication at this time. We’re also offering special pricing on a publication of narrow specifications – one we can produce most quickly and cost-efficiently. Our goal is to help publishers stay in contact with their readers. This type of flexible approach enables publishers to do that even while they’re dealing with their own very new and constantly evolving constraints.

Samir Husni: Are you seeing any shortage in paper, ink, workforce?

Philip Drumheller: No, we haven’t seen any disruption in our supply chain. And our workforce is incredibly dedicated.

Samir Husni: Did you ever imagine that you would be working during a pandemic? And can you ever be prepared for something like this?

Philip Drumheller: I’m sure none of us imagined anything of this ilk and magnitude occurring, but we’ve always believed it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. We’ve always focused on having solid processes and well-established lines of communication in place – both internally and with our customers – so that when something comes up, these foundational pillars give us a functional, effective framework to operate in.  It worked for us during the outbreak of the Spanish Flu, two world wars, the Great Depression, numerous banking crises, oil embargos, the Great Recession, and, of course, 9/11. Together with nearly 120 years of experience, I’d say that’s why we’ve been able to adjust so quickly to this situation.

Samir Husni: What message are you communicating with your employees and clients during these uncertain times?

Philip Drumheller: Lane Press remains open and is here to help publishers continue serving their readership. And we’re doing this with a constant eye toward protecting our employees and our community.

Samir Husni: What makes magazines and magazine media relevant today?

Philip Drumheller: Magazines are a vehicle for high-quality content – vetted, trustworthy, in-depth content. At a time like this, people are seeking trustworthy content that helps them understand the many aspects of this evolving health care crisis. Many of the magazines we produce provide this kind of content to readers in business, health care, education, and wellness sectors. But also, magazines have always been an effective form of entertainment – a chance to dive into a tactile, sensory experience that is immersive and can take your mind off the stresses of the day. How much do we all need that right now? To step back and read about inspiring home design or the noble undertakings of our alumni peers, or just to look through a curated photo gallery? When your favorite magazine comes right to you at your doorstep and you can sit back and get lost in it – that’s something we can all benefit from now.

Samir Husni: Any additional words of wisdom?

Philip Drumheller: I would advise publishers to lean on their printers for problem-solving – now more than ever. When our customers tell us they’re challenged in a particular way, we work hard to come up with novel ways to help them. All businesses are thinking out-of-the-box right now. And it’s incredibly refreshing to see businesses and consumers relying on each other in such creative ways. I truly believe this is how we’ll come out of this stronger – by trusting and relying on each other.

Further, despite the enormous and obvious challenges of this pandemic, it is also a calling to simpler times… meals with family, a reduction in the frenetic pace of life, more time to read (magazines) and reflect, less noise, cleaner air and water…. It seems to me this is a crucial and especially opportune time for publishers to deliver their product to their readers’ doors.

Samir Husni: And my typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Philip Drumheller: Concerns about the economy keep me up. There are so many small businesses in our local community and among our customer base that have worked so hard to build their businesses. And there are so many employees depending on them to continue to do so.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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