Consumer Magazine Fulfillment Co. Merger Raises Concerns
As the merger of Palm Coast Data and Kable Fulfillment continues, a picture of the process and likely long-term result is emerging, and circulators who have been through a steady stream of fulfillment-company consolidations are concerned.
Palm Coast and Kable were two of the big three consumer-magazine fulfillment companies, along with CDS, and now there are just two. Earlier this month, 75 employees were laid off as part of the merger, all of them from the Kable side.
Palm Coast management will run the merged company, which means that even though it was Kable’s parent company that bought Palm Coast, on the management level the effect is that Palm Coast is taking over Kable.
Some circulators are wondering if Kable’s systems—including the original Neodata system that was in the somewhat long and arduous process of being integrated into the existing Kable system—will be going away, and whether Kable clients would have to be converted to the Palm Coast systems. This idea makes some publishing clients nervous.
According to John Meneough, president of the combined company, considering the current state of the evolving marketplace, and the fact that publishers are struggling, the primary need for Palm Coast right now is to leverage the resources it has to service its clients, taking advantage of all the experience they have and their joint people resources.
“The past six months have been spent evaluating all the systems under the combined companies,” says Meneough. Before the merger, Kable was in the process of migrating Neodata titles to its K-Data system, and had completed about 30 percent.
“The primary purpose now is to get off the NeoData system, notify clients which systems they will go on and set up a conversion schedule.” Over the next year, Meneough says they will complete the migration off of NeoData.
The next step will be to take a “deep breath” and decide which way to go, he says—considering the necessary modifications, scalability, functionality. As titles migrate off of NeoData, some clients will be a better fit for Palm Coast’s systems and others will go onto K-Data.
“We’ll be looking at what is the best fit for the customer in terms of economics, scalability and efficiency.” All of the company’s resources and systems will be evaluated in this way.