Sunday, January 22, 2012

About Packing and Dispatch Work

At a first glance, the packing and dispatch work would seem to be something of a low level job.  Of course, that is true if one considers the technical aspect of printing of a newspaper or other complexities of newspaper production such as news gathering or editorial job or page making, but all of the above good work can be made or marred by the way the dispatch work is carried out, either done efficiently or not. If the newspaper delivery is delayed an hour, then it becomes as waste paper, and most of you know how people use waster paper.

But I had the feeling that the manager under whom I was working was of the opinion of the dispatch work as a lousy job and he had treated me as a man who was doing just that kind of job.  For him, appointing newspaper agents was the work he had relished the most apart from keeping the cost of running the branch office as low as possible, which alone is not the mark of a good manager, or is it? But, I will defer to the next posting about the manager and his attitude toward my work and the dispatch work itself and confine myself to the dispatch work in this post.

Dispatch Work Preparation Dispatch work begins after the printed papers reach the dispatch section by conveyor from the press. The materials used for dispatch work like craft papers, jute twine (now plastic is used instead of jute twine), paste for sticking labels on the parcels, etc., must be kept ready for the work. The jute twine is received in bales (as shown in the picture below left), and the workers make the jute twine ready for packing like balls (as in the picture right) as it would be easier for them to use while packing the parcels.

Labeling and Checking The branch office will give a list indicating the amount of paper (indent) to be sent to every agent served from the branch office for the day. There were about 400 to 500 agents at that time and the number of copies printed was from 75,000 to 100,000.  The printing speed of the machine at that time was 15,000 to 20,000 copies per hour.

Labels are kept in the rakes in the order in which they are sent. The labels must be taken from the rake in that order and the number of copies for each agent is marked for the day. Most of the workers are not educated, some not even literates, but the work of preparing labels involves the reading the names of the center, and also in some cases the news agent’s name.  When the names of the center spell like the same such as wadakkanchery and vadakkencherry, and the names such as Mannarghat, Makkaraparamba, or Mallpuram in Kerala,etc., he must be able to read and mark the indent correctly. This needs some training on the part of the worker. I have kept at any time at least two workers who are able to do the work. Sometimes, I have to do the job myself when the trained workers do not turn up for work, but I personally check the marked labels for its correctness daily.

Types of Packing:  The newspaper parcels are packed in two different ways. One kind of parcel is which is directly dropped at the newsagent offices. These are main centers on the way of the route of that particular transport where the driver of the car or the van drop the parcels. These parcels are packed with just covering the upper and lower part of the parcels by craft paper (Picture below right). The other type of parcel is that which is sent by bus by the agents at main centers to the nearby areas. For example, the Erode agent will send  parcels of the agents of Arasur, Arachalur, Chennimalai, Ingur, Kavundambadi, etc., which are towns and villages near Erode. These parcels are packed with craft paper completely covering the newspaper (Picture below left).