BUYING POWER: PAGE Cooperative opens up membership to include publicly-held newspapers, newspaper groups and commercial printers.

Author:Simpkins, Jerry

A lot has changed in the printing industry over the past 35 years and a lot has stayed the same. We've had circulation ups and downs, advertising certainly isn't what it once was and newspaper ownership has changed dramatically. But our world isn't all gloom and doom. There are many bright spots and cause for celebration. Over the years, we've seen advancements in technology throughout our industry. For those of you who remember the pre-pagination days and can draw a parallel to where we are today, you'll have to agree we've come quite a long way. Long gone are the days of trimming galleys, marking-up ads and cutting apart small pieces to assemble them into an advertisement like a jigsaw puzzle.

Our process for making plates has simplified and quality has grown to new levels from the days of raw metal needing to be coated in-house and burning plates on a vacuum board through a thin sheet of film, to the current point of laser imaged readymade plates being locked up on press without processing.

Yes, we've come a long way, and as we've advanced, we've continued to spend a sizeable amount of time and money on consumables.

I go back a bit in our industry. I clearly remember 35 years ago speaking with vendor after vendor negotiating price, discussing delivery costs, product availability and spending an absorbent amount of time meeting in my office with an endless line of salespeople. I remember the feeling of accomplishment when I'd come across a great deal and the disappointment when a vendor would raise a price and there really wasn't a lot I could do about it if I needed the product. But all in all, time aside, I enjoyed having the ability to work closely with vendors and negotiate pricing that I "thought" might just be better than the shop down the street was paying.

I was happy to be left alone to do my job and thought I was doing it excellently, then came the word from the head office that we would be using PAGE Cooperative to negotiate pricing with vendors and our purchases would go through them and them alone. No more face to face negotiating with vendors? This just couldn't be right. I just couldn't understand what the advantage could be to buying through a cooperative. Then again no "cooperatives" existed for consumable purchases back then, and of course, we didn't yet understand any benefit in having one.

To get to my point: I was stuck in my ways, resistant to change and in all honesty, quite ignorant at that stage of my brief career...

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