There have been big changes over the past few months behind the scenes at SA Flyer. This has led some to ask whether we are closing down. Let me, like Mark Twain, hasten to assure you that any “report of my death was an exaggeration”.
To set matters straight: About six months ago, I made a lifestyle change and moved to ‘Escape Town’ – Simon’s Town specifically. Here we have a fantastic house on the hillside overlooking the harbour. Good move, as I work from home – and keep ZS-OFH at Morningstar, 50 km away.
This precipitated a clamour from the rest of our team that, if I can work from home, why can’t they? As long as the work gets done properly and on time, there was no good reason. So they all did, and soon there was no one in the office. I have to admit it takes a bit of getting used to from a management perspective. It’s hard to tell now whether anyone is actually ‘at work’ or not – a good exercise in employee empowerment and trust.
Without anyone coming to the office, it was natural to try close the office down. That proved a bit harder. There was an elaborate contract for data and telephony, and we needed a presence for deliveries and collections. But the cost savings were significant. Also, we had a few tons of magazine returns and over-runs.
So, we had a big clean out and I advertised tons that we had old magazines for free on social media. Two truckloads were collected by Hans Heydra of the Magaliesberg Gliding Club for distribution in the Club and schools. And the irrepressible Felix Gosher took a whole load for goody bags for his wonderful children’s flights.
We moved the rest of our stuff into storage – and hold and below! – it looks to our hopeful competitors as though SA Flyer doesn’t exist anymore. But each month the magazine still happens – like magic. Everyone is indeed getting on with their jobs, the work gets done – and you will get your monthly flying fix.
A surprising number of our loyal readers get impatient if it arrives a few days late. This brings me to the vexed subject of distribution. As if closing our offices wasn’t enough upheaval, we changed our distributor from RNA to On the Dot. This means that the shops may be getting a different quantity of the mag from before. In some cases, I hear it is selling out – and presumably there are too many in other shops.
Then there is the eternal blight of the post office. Latest CEO Mark Barnes seems to have made little impact. So we have engaged a courier company which is delivering mags directly to subscribers’ street addresses. It should be a big improvement, but again, it’s still early days.
All big changes – but we are still very much alive and will continue bringing you original flight tests, columnists, news, reviews, hard data and much, much more.