Using GIS to optimise deliveries in the publishing sector

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Geomarketing - this is how the Lensing-Wolff media company has the minimum wage challenge under control

Minimum wage has put the newspaper sector under pressure since 2015. Publishing houses must expect additional costs of around one billion Euro over the next five years. The Lensing-Wolff media company implemented a customised GIS by WIGeoGIS to manage this economic challenge.

The problem: Minimum wage is forcing the sector towards a cultural change. It must change from piece wage to hourly. Publishing houses cannot remain economical under these circumstances unless they create ideal regional structures and delivery processes. The Lensing-Wolff media company is streets ahead of others in the sector – it has implemented this using a customised GIS.

Delivery of newspapers poses a logistic challenge – more so in times of minimum wage. Publishing houses are now no longer paying their delivery agents for the number of distributed newspapers, but for their time. Publishing houses, however, don’t know the time it takes for the deliveries. They therefore also don’t know whether they are paying their carriers the minimum wage. Publishing houses must determine the delivery times. One option is to ask the carrier. A second option: Use a geomarketing tool to simulate the routes of the carriers as realistically as possible and then calculate the hourly wage.

Lensing-Wolff opted for the latter and now uses ArcGIS extensions programmed for the media company. “No publishing house can these days afford logistics which are not transparent or inefficient. The sector is under financial pressure. To work economically, you need optimal delivery processes," asserts Torsten Schmechel. Schmechel is head of the Geoinformation systems Sales service department at Lensing-Wolff, where he developed the GIS Department. The focus is currently on the implementation of the minimum wage. The minimum wage must not turn into an operational burden. Process optimisation is the order of the day.

Savings potential through new regional structures
Analyses of regional structures is the sine qua non for any optimisation. “The analysis showed that many regions were demarcated ineffectively. Carriers were walking unnecessary because routes overlapped. By simply more logical demarcation of regions, we managed to reduce delivery times and thereby increase delivery quality,” says Schmechel. The so-called walking lines – meaning the exact path taken by a carrier - are specific to each region.

Ideal walking lines for carriers
“We need a map with detail down to house numbers. Road maps are not enough. We need to know the exact distance from walking line to front door, in metres. We absolutely need this to determine ideal walking lines and exact times,” explains Schmechel. The minimum wage tool will calculate the working time of the carrier per day of delivery. This requires: Address points, walking lines depending on the means of travel and time to a post-box. Every carrier may download his ideal route and the sequence of calling at the associated subscribers. The GIS simultaneously generates such maps for hundreds of regions. “This previously had to be done manually for each region, requiring several days. It requires only 10 minutes these days,” says the GIS expert.

Lensing-Wolff has been relying on GIS for seven years now
With this approach, the media company has become a pioneer in its sector. Says Schmechel: “Using the GIS and such methods, we were in a position to depict and analyse night-time delivery processes ever since. This has given us a head start in terms of the minimum wage issue. Many publishing houses have only recently examined the benefits of GIS as a solution to this challenge.” Industry insiders also know: “Many publishing houses rely on preconfigured systems. Publishing houses, however, need a tool capable of addressing a company’s specific requirements. This is why we need WIGeoGIS, offering us practical tools to satisfy our requirements.”

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