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When There’s No Room for Downtime

International Ministry TWR Counts on Microtech for Critical CD Duplication 

Program distributor Naren Hollinger operates TWR’s Microtech CD duplicator.
disc publishing TWR

Program distributor Naren Hollinger operates TWR’s Microtech CD duplicator.

Cary, N.C., June 19, 2012 — Hundreds of CDs packed with hundreds of programs had to be mailed to Latin American radio stations, so if it wasn’t a crisis, it definitely was crunch time at TWR.

The reliable Microtech Xpress CD duplicator had long ago outlived its expected life span, and now it wasn’t performing as needed. One of the international Christian media organization’s information technicians who was unfamiliar with the equipment or the Microtech service department stepped in and struggled for hours to fix the problem.

As soon as TWR facilities coordinator Paul Stobbe heard that staff members were rushing CDs to be burned on a desktop duplicator at a nearby church, he put the embattled technician in touch with the appropriate consultants at Microtech.

“Well, they had almost burned out the church’s CD duplicator and only got about 50 done,” Stobbe said. “By that time the next day, we had this thing up and running. We realize that we cannot afford to have one of those $2,000 ‘disposable’ CD duplicators [like the church had]. Because our ministry is mission critical, if we don’t get the CDs duplicated, we don’t get programs to the radio stations in time and the programs don’t go on the air.”

Having confidence that mission-critical functions will get done is why TWR invested in a Microtech “industrial-strength” duplicator and a multiyear service contract in the first place, according to Stobbe. When a problem crops up – and that happens only two or three times a year – a system report is emailed to Microtech’s California office, where the glitch is diagnosed and, if necessary, a replacement part is shipped to the Cary, N.C., office by the next morning.

“I really value Microtech in the quality of their equipment and the quality of their service,” Stobbe said. “We’ve never been without the duplicator for more than 24 hours at a time.”

There was a time when duplication responsibilities were spread among the many North and Latin American ministry partners. But then Joe Barker, technical coordinator for the TWR Americas region, proposed that it would be more reliable and cost-effective in the long run to consolidate all duplication in Cary, investing in one fully automated, professional quality machine that could produce more CDs and DVDs faster, with fewer disc defects and a longer life span.

“TWR also previously owned a major-brand competitor’s product,” Barker said. “That product ran for two years and had so many technical issues that TWR began to look for a replacement. By that time, the Microtech product line had matured enough to be a viable contender. At less than two-thirds of the cost of the other competitor’s product, Microtech submitted the winning bid, and we are glad that they did.”

It wasn’t until the five-year service contract purchased along with the Xpress duplicator was about to expire that Stobbe took another measure of Microtech’s service. When the company told him that support for that model was being discontinued because the technology was getting old, Stobbe realized there simply wasn’t money in the nonprofit’s budget to purchase a new system; he and his team would have to get by with whatever in-house maintenance they could cobble together.

“Microtech came back and said, ‘Well, if you’ll do a minimal upgrade, we will continue to support it,’” Stobbe said.

That agreement extended the machine’s use for the past two years, but now the time finally has come to retire the old standby and upgrade to the next generation, the Xpress XP. To that end, TWR is calling on ministry supporters to help make possible this vital expenditure.

Barker said, “CD’s and DVD’s are still a significant means of distributing programs to radio stations all across Latin America and other parts of the world. Many local radio stations do not have adequate Internet bandwidth to download TWR’s radio programs.”

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