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Platinum Equity, the new owners of The San Diego Union-Tribune, has hired efficiency experts from a Texas-based consulting firm to help streamline operations at the newspaper.

Editor Karin Winner described the effort this way in a June 10 e-mail to staff.

For the next two weeks, representatives of DeWolff, Boberg & Associates from Dallas, Texas, will be in the newsroom asking us questions about how we do our jobs. These folks specialize in process improvement and have worked with Platinum Equity at other companies. They will be spending time in all departments of the organization with an eye toward helping us create greater efficiencies.

The DB&A team will be performing “day-in-the-life” studies with a randomly selected handful of managers and staff. The intent here is to have DB&A see all of the tasks that each of you do in a given day. I think it’s important to emphasize that they are here to collect data, not assess individual performance, nor dispense advice. 

I encourage you to be candid and forthcoming with them.

I know the people from DB & A are mindful of the disruptions that this process may temporarily cause and intend to be respectful of your time. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

Karin

P.S. We will notify those of you who have been asked to participate by the end of the week.

According to newsroom sources, the consultants have either stood behind employees while holding clipboards or sat behind them with arms crossed, staring at the employees while they work.

Among the success stories that DeWolff, Boberg & Associates lists on its website: BellSouth’s small business call center, a steel company and major paper mill.

The company describes what it does this way:

Working with every level of management, we focus on all organizational and cultural issues, with a special emphasis on developing accountability and leadership at the employee and front-line supervisory levels. Using our proprietary approach, we consistently transform organizations into high-performance, results-oriented teams and typically deliver a guaranteed gain in performance of at least 20 percent.

ROB DAVIS

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