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Andrew McChesney

Editor, Adventist Mission

Adventist Church Overhauls U.S. Publishing Operations
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5 Strengths of Each Publishing House

In recent months, Adventist leaders have weighed the benefits of basing the North American Division’s publishing operations at Pacific Press (PPPA) in Nampa, Idaho, or at Review and Herald (RHPA) in Hagerstown, Maryland.

The North American Division leadership has carefully weighed multiple factors in its decision to recommend consolidating print operations within its territory at one location.

The discussions did not disparage any employees, whom the leaders have held up as dedicated, God-loving people. Instead they focused on what inherent strengths would give the publishing ministry its best chance at success.

From longer lists, as submitted by each publishing house’s leadership, here are five strengths that they considered about each site:

Review and Herald

Location. RHPA is located less than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from a majority of the Adventists living in the North American Division: the 603,660 church members in the Columbia, Atlantic, Lake, and Southern unions. PPPA is located less than 1,000 miles from 322,550 Adventists.The RHPA office also is an easy drive from the offices of the General Conference and the North American Division, as well as the cities of Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.

RHPA President Mark Thomas

Shipping and logistics. RHPA is located near two main highways, providing fewer transportation fees and faster delivery times for incoming raw materials and outgoing products. Distribution centers for FedEx, UPS, and a trucking company are less than a mile away. For international shipments, the Port of Baltimore is 70 miles (110 kilometers) away, while PPPA is 490 miles (780 kilometers) from the port in Seattle and 825 miles (1,330 kilometers) from the port in Los Angeles.

Raw materials. Most U.S. paper mills are located east of the Mississippi River, and foreign paper mills mainly use four U.S. ports on the East Coast, decreasing shipping costs and providing quicker transit times for paper shipments to RHPA. A railroad spur near RHPA generates additional savings in shipping.

Fiber optics. RHPA has access to 12 strands of fiber directly connected to the backbone of one of the world’s largest fiber providers, allowing it to potentially offer bandwidth to church entities and businesses, send HDTV video, set up multiple studios with video feeds, and create a data recovery center for church entities and businesses.

Plant and facilities. RHPA is situated on 83 acres of land and is housed in a facility of 280,000 square feet, allowing it to handle both PPPA and RHPA workloads with its current equipment. The equipment has been well maintained and is useable for the next 10 to 12 years, after which it could be rebuilt without hindering production.

Pacific Press

Competent and effective management team. PPPA has a strong, experienced, cohesive and collaborative management team that has developed a spirit of teamwork. It would be a mistake to assume that the leadership team, as an intact unit, could relocate elsewhere.

Sound and stable financial position. PPPA has maintained an unbroken history of positive financial performance under various leadership teams over the past 20 years. With an all-time high of $25 million in cash and investments on hand, it continues to enjoy sound financial health and has the capacity to address future needs.

Positive company culture. PPPA has highly motivated employees who conscientiously fulfill their responsibilities while being mindful of how their work habits, attitudes and performance affect others in the workplace. Effective and efficient corporate culture is developed over time and could not be automatically replicated elsewhere by the transfer of some or even all of the employees.

Plant and facilities. PPPA is situated on 61 acres of land and is housed in a facility of 180,780 square feet that was designed for efficiency in workflow. PPPA has a full line of printing and bindery equipment, and a web press that was completely rebuilt several years ago. The equipment line is not used to its full capacity. PPPA has “print-on-demand” equipment for smaller orders. Over the past decade the company has invested more than $1 million in IT infrastructure, not including desktop computers and printers. As a result, the publishing, production and distribution operations are highly integrated. The publishing house uses state of the art offsite backup facilities in Boise for its intellectual property.

Location. PPPA is located in a metropolitan area that is not congested and offers attractive amenities such as a low cost of living. The Forbes ranking of 100 largest metros places nearby Boise, Idaho, as No. 2 in Best Cities for Raising a Family.

Source: Case studies prepared by Review and Herald and Pacific Press on behalf of the General Conference and North American Division.

Contact Adventist Review news editor Andrew McChesney at Twitter: @ARMcChesney

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