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Findlay Publishing Company - Six Disciplines Client Case Study

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Executive Summary

Customer Profile
The Findlay Publishing Company specializes in newspaper, radio broadcasting, and web-based media, with more than 107 years of experience in Findlay, Ohio and surrounding areas.

The Challenge
The Findlay Publishing Company needed to execute upon a strategy that would focus the company on keeping both the newspaper and broadcasting business relevant and profitable in the evolving media world.

The Solution
Six Disciplines helped The Findlay Publishing Company plan strategically. Through coaching, Six Disciplines continues to assist Findlay Publishing Company with goal realignment and helps them to set new company goals as the business environment requires.

The Benefits
  • Improved team member understanding and alignment with company goals
  • Management transparency and accountability has increased
  • Targeted focus on fixing unprofitable products and creating new products
  • Customers see shared content and improved news quality between distribution channels
  • Record readership for combined print and web-based content
  • Resolved problems within internal workflows with new processes and minimized errors
  • Significant increases in sales and in production efficiency and quality
The Result
Six Disciplines helped The Findlay Publishing Company:
  • Align multiple divisions of the company to make sure that the company remains relevant and profitable in a quickly changing industry. 
  • Increase  combined readership by 4 percent, 
  • Increase employee ratings of internal processes by 11 percent, and 
  • Replace unprofitable products and workflows with new products to the net effect of $75,000 within a one-year period.

Detailed Customer Profile
The Findlay Publishing Company, located in Findlay, Ohio, is a media company that operates newspaper, radio broadcasting, and new media divisions. The company is one of the very few companies that operate both a newspaper and a radio station within the same community. The newspaper segment of the business was founded in 1836 and the radio broadcasting segment began in the 1940s. The Findlay Publishing Company has been using Six Disciplines for four years. 

The Problem
The Findlay Publishing Company was faced with the challenge of keeping both the newspaper and radio stations relevant and profitable amid the fast changing media world. The company needed a way to identify a strategy that was based on their strengths and opportunities.  Once identified, the management team needed a way to develop a tactical plan that supports the strategy and communicates the vision and plan throughout the organization on an ongoing basis. This included aligning resources within both the radio broadcast and newspaper divisions.

The Solution
Six Disciplines led The Findlay Publishing Company through a strategic planning process that helped identify where the company was, where the leadership wanted to take the company, and how to achieve that goal. On a quarterly basis, senior leadership from both main divisions meet to identify common broadcast and newspaper themes and opportunities, facilitated by the company’s Six Disciplines coach. The coach then helps Findlay Publishing Company weave these common pieces into the planning process within each division. This results in a broadcast team and a newspaper team that are aligned, working in a common direction, and deploying resources in such a way to support the common direction. The Six Disciplines process and the built in accountability helps each team member stay on the identified path or return to the path, if they stray.

The Benefits
The Findlay Publishing Company realizes the following benefits from using Six Disciplines:
  • Team Communications – teams members have an improved understanding of the company direction and action plan, and how they fit into the plan
  • Transparency – improved transparency and openness from managers, requiring the managers to be more accountable in issue resolution
  • Workflows and Processes – increased focus on fixing or replacing products that are not profitable and includes the prioritization of the work needed to improve
  • Customers – content sharing between distribution channels has improved the quality of the product for the customers
  • Readership – combined readership of the print content and web-based content has reached an all-time high
  • Problem Resolution – targeted focus analyzing and improving internal workflows, specifically in sales and production, resulted in new processes to minimize common errors
  • Sales and Production Efficiency and Quality – relationships with advertising customers have brightened because of significant increases in both sales and production efficiency and quality

What Findlay Publishing Company has to say about Six Disciplines

“We have used Six Disciplines processes to successfully define and complete several critical initiatives including: the redesign of our websites to become more valuable for the reader and include more advertising opportunities; the blending of our Entertainment Guide with our Weekend Section; and most recently - the launch of our e-paper.  These initiatives were fairly complex but by using the Six Disciplines system, we were able to achieve our desired results on time and on budget. The Six Disciplines system has forced us to become more accountable to ourselves and others.  It has also forced us to define measurable goals and objectives that serve as litmus tests as we look to implement new ideas/products.”  ~ Jim Zellner, Marketing Manager, Findlay Publishing Company

“The project staring me in the face was getting our FM radio stations streaming on-line. This is something that had been on my to-do list for quite some time. Due to the magnitude of the project and the dynamics involved, I had a difficult time getting my arms around the project and how and where to begin. Our Six Disciplines coach assisted me in breaking the project into manageable tasks and setting a realistic timeline for each task.  This enabled me to focus on one chunk of the project at a time without being overwhelmed by the size of the entire project.  The Six Disciplines process kept me on task and we ended-up completing the project ahead of schedule.” ~ Kurt Heminger, VP, Findlay Publishing Company

“As Production Director for the last 20 years, I was always frustrated by the chronic problem of commercials not being ready in time for airing on the radio.  The source of this problem usually came from the Sales Department with such issues as production orders submitted past deadline and no current production order for commercials already scheduled.  It created a “firefighting” environment with lots of stress for everyone.  Because I was unable to effectively address the problem, I came to feel like it was something I had to live with.  But Six Disciplines helped us focus on the problem to discover patterns and trends; and then involve the Sales Staff in taking responsibility to help solve the problem.  Today, the frustration and stress is considerably less and more time can be spent on creating effective commercials for our clients.” ~ Roger G. Kranz, Production Director, WFIN/WKXA/106.3 The Fox