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Globe creates plant for Sunday inserting.

THE BOSTON GLOBE is taking an unusual approach to handling more than a billion Sunday advertising inserts a year: a satellite plant dedicated solely to compiling its Sunday insert package.

The $25 million project is being put together in an existing 130,000-square-foot warehouse in Westwood, Mass., 16 miles southwest of Boston.

It is designed to insert into the comics section an average of 24 preprinted ad circulars, the television listings book, Parade and the Globe's Sunday magazine, then wrap the package in plastic.

The Globe wants to combine into one package the preprinted items now being sent to distributors in three pieces.

Plastic-wrapped insert packages will be trucked to distributors, who will combine them with three editorial sections printed at the Globe's headquarters in downtown Boston and a satellite plant in Billerica.

Production manager Mike Ide said that the Globe chose a separate Sunday inserting plant because it lacked space at the printing plants. Located close to highways and distribution points, the new plant will take over inserting work now being done at the Globe's printing plants and a leased building.

The job of compiling 860,000 Sunday insert packages will take about 100 workers five days, from Sunday through Thursday.

Scheduled to start this summer and be fully operational by September, the Westwood operation is designed to produce as many as 100 different insert products a week: one for each of 50 zones, each offering advertisers home-delivery or single-copy distribution.

The plant's subsystems include three 28-into-1 Graphic Management Associates inserters, an automated Jervis Webb materials storage and retrieval system, Sitma plastic bagging machines, and Idab palletizers.

If more than 28 inserts are sold--the Globe's record is 39--a pre-insert package will have to be compiled in advance.

With Westwood, the Globe aims to cut inserting costs up to 16%, and to free the two on-line inserters on each of its seven press lines to do more daily inserting.

Like newspapers around the country, the Globe is struggling to keep up with the explosive growth of inserts and zoning. The number of inserts in newspapers soared 57% from 1985 to 1991--an average of 8.3% a year--to 71.5 billion in 1991, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

However, its approach is not unique. Other papers with space constraints have set up inserting and packaging operations separated from their printing presses. They include the Hartford Courant in Connecticut and Allentown, Pa., Morning Call.

The Washington Post for several years has been wrapping its preprint package in plastic, but its sections are collated rather than inserted.

Papers that have space--such as the New York Times at its $450 million plant in Edison, N.J.-- combine printing and inserting in one place.

"What's unique is the level of automation we are putting into this" Ide said. The plant also adds a big responsibility: a third plant for the production department.

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Title Annotation:Boston Globe
Author:Garneau, George
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:Feb 13, 1993
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