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Royle Printing’s President & Owner, Chris Carpenter, To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni: “Remain Strong, We’ll Get Through This.” The Mr. Magazine™ Interview…

April 23, 2020

Publishing During A Pandemic (21)

“We have a number of catalog companies who have actually increased their counts. They see this as an opportunity to have a more engaged moment with a customer…fewer distractions. I think this is true for both publishers and catalogs, but it requires good content for a magazine and unique goods for sale in a catalog.” … Chris Carpenter

 “It really comes down to content.  If you create and publish content that people desire, you have a basic foundation for the publishing/advertising model.  The distribution of the content will vary, involving both print and digital delivery, but consumers will subscribe and purchase these services.” … Chris Carpenter

Located in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Royle Printing is an independently owned and managed printing company specializing in high quality graphic and distribution services, and has been in business for 70 years. Chris Carpenter is president & owner of Royle and like the rest of us is adapting to the Covid-19 way of life as best as he can.

I reached out to Chris recently and asked him how, under the circumstances, Royle is doing? There was no surprise there. Mainly, Royle is doing well, however, some things have been negatively affected, “We have seen shifts in page counts, circulation and in some cases, issues have been postponed.  Businesses centered in travel and meetings have been affected the most.  We’re working with all of our customers, making the necessary adjustments to help them get through this period.”

While others were actually more positive, “I will add, we have a number of catalog companies who have actually increased their counts. They see this as an opportunity to have a more engaged moment with a customer…fewer distractions. I think this is true for both publishers and catalogs, but it requires good content for a magazine and unique goods for sale in a catalog.”

Remaining strong and positive is Chris’s message to all. Indeed.

So, here is the 21st Mr. Magazine™ interview in the series of Publishing During A Pandemic with Chris Carpenter, president & owner, Royle Printing.

But first the sound-bites:

On how Royle Printing is operating during the pandemic: Considering the circumstances, we’re doing alright. Our associates remain healthy and strong, for the good of their families and the Royle Community. While we have a very diverse customer base, both in publishing and catalogs, most are being negatively affected.

On the steps they are taking to ensure everyone working onsite is social distancing and staying as safe as possible: We follow and implement the parameters set forth by the CDC, communicating daily with associates, vendors and customers.  As hard as it is, I think everyone has adjusted pretty well.

On the impact so far on publishing frequencies, printing, mailing, etc.: We have seen shifts in page counts, circulation and in some cases, issues have been postponed.  Businesses centered in travel and meetings have been affected the most.  We’re working with all of our customers, making the necessary adjustments to help them get through this period.  I will add, we have a number of catalog companies who have actually increased their counts.

On any shortage in paper, ink, or workforce: To date, we’ve not experienced any major delays in receiving paper, ink or other consumables required for production.  We might see some momentary delays in shipments or freight, but it typically gets resolved without impacting our customers.  As for labor, we are always looking for committed and skilled people to join Royle Printing and the printing industry – even in a pandemic!

On whether he had ever thought of working during something like a pandemic: I don’t think anyone saw this coming or that it would have such a broad, lasting effect.  It’s absolutely terrible and shocking to see so many people being affected by the pandemic, the worst being so many lives lost.

On what message he is communicating with his employees and clients during these uncertain times: Remain strong, we’ll get through this.  All of us will need to make some adjustments, some of which will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

On what makes magazine media relevant today: It really comes down to content.  If you create and publish content that people desire, you have a basic foundation for the publishing/advertising model.

On any additional words of wisdom: A special thanks to the healthcare providers who have tirelessly served the sick and needy though this pandemic…you’re bright lights in the world – thank you.

On what keeps him up at night: The general concern for so many who are affected by this pandemic.  In time, we’ll heal, learn and get stronger, but I worry about the lasting effects on families, businesses and the general economy.

And now  the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Chris Carpenter, president & owner, Royle Printing.

Samir Husni: How is Royle Printing operating during this pandemic?

Chris Carpenter: Considering the circumstances, we’re doing alright. Our associates remain healthy and strong, for the good of their families and the Royle Community. While we have a very diverse customer base, both in publishing and catalogs, most are being negatively affected. It’s really important that we practice patience and understanding as we make our way through this tough period.  One inspiring event at Royle is the installation of our new Manroland Rotoman S press.  While the timing could be considered questionable, we feel strongly that it puts us in a great position when we get back to normal business conditions.

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

Chris Carpenter: We follow and implement the parameters set forth by the CDC, communicating daily with associates, vendors and customers.  As hard as it is, I think everyone has adjusted pretty well.  The bulk of administrative staff works from home and the operations team is diligent about hygiene and social distancing.  We are fortunate to have a modern manufacturing platform, which includes a great deal of automation. This also creates a fair amount of autonomy and space between associates.

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

Chris Carpenter: We have seen shifts in page counts, circulation and in some cases, issues have been postponed.  Businesses centered in travel and meetings have been affected the most.  We’re working with all of our customers, making the necessary adjustments to help them get through this period.  I will add, we have a number of catalog companies who have actually increased their counts. They see this as an opportunity to have a more engaged moment with a customer…fewer distractions. I think this is true for both publishers and catalogs, but it requires good content for a magazine and unique goods for sale in a catalog.

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

Chris Carpenter: To date, we’ve not experienced any major delays in receiving paper, ink or other consumables required for production.  We might see some momentary delays in shipments or freight, but it typically gets resolved without impacting our customers.  As for labor, we are always looking for committed and skilled people to join Royle Printing and the printing industry – even in a pandemic!  This is an issue that’s troubled our industry for years.  Print can provide meaningful careers for people and we have to do a better job of telling our story. Our doors are always open and we’d love to hear from you if you’re looking to join a talented team.

Samir Husni: Did you ever imagine that you would be working during a pandemic and do you think anyone could ever prepare for something like this?

Chris Carpenter: I don’t think anyone saw this coming or that it would have such a broad, lasting effect.  It’s absolutely terrible and shocking to see so many people being affected by the pandemic, the worst being so many lives lost. I hope we’re able to learn from this, placing more attention on prevention and treatment.  The next 6-months will be interesting to see what advances are made.  As for business preparedness, it certainly underscores the importance of having a committed and thriving culture, along with being financially disciplined.

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

Chris Carpenter: Remain strong, we’ll get through this.  All of us will need to make some adjustments, some of which will remain in place for the foreseeable future.  We will do our very best to take care of our associates and clients, being patient and understanding as we move forward.

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

Chris Carpenter: It really comes down to content.  If you create and publish content that people desire, you have a basic foundation for the publishing/advertising model.  The distribution of the content will vary, involving both print and digital delivery, but consumers will subscribe and purchase these services.

Samir Husni: Any additional words of wisdom?

Chris Carpenter: A special thanks to the healthcare providers who have tirelessly served the sick and needy though this pandemic…you’re bright lights in the world – thank you.

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

Chris Carpenter: The general concern for so many who are affected by this pandemic.  In time, we’ll heal, learn and get stronger, but I worry about the lasting effects on families, businesses and the general economy. Getting people back to work, in a safe and planned way, will go a long way in getting things back to normal.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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