Starting immediately, home subscribers of The Californian will have their newspapers delivered by a company that actually intends on making sure those papers arrive daily, on time and in a spot where readers can find them. Like their porches.

The Californian has partnered with CIPS Marketing Group Inc., a leading marketing and distribution firm, to oversee all facets of daily and weekly home-delivered newspapers.

Delivery of The Californian, as readers in certain circulation areas know all too well, has been unacceptably sporadic. The partnership with CIPS will end most of those difficulties as the switchover winds down. Lingering and isolated problems may persist during the next few weeks' transition period, but missed papers should be a rarity by May 1 -- and any delivery problems, starting Saturday, will be promptly rectified. On that count, there will be no transition period.

"CIPS has taken circulation distribution off our hands and at a very competitive price," Michelle Chantry, The Californian's chief financial officer, said this week. "Not only do they use state-of-the-art GPS equipment that we could never afford; they have years of expertise in the industry that encouraged us to put our trust in their hands.

"We are confident they will continue to provide excellent customer service and open and direct communication as they have from the beginning of building the contract through the entire transitional period," she said.

The partnership significantly expands CIPS Marketing's Central Valley operations and its ever increasing home delivery customer base.

In a statement, Manuel Collazo, CIPS Marketing's executive vice president, noted, "We have enjoyed a very successful distribution partnership with The Californian for several years, delivering their TMC product (The Voice) market-wide. ... Our operations team at CIPS has more daily newspaper experience than any other alternate distribution company and are the best suited to handle the unique challenges associated with this kind of partnership."

Michael Lynch, president and CEO of CIPS, said, "The integrity and quality of service CIPS Marketing brings to the table is more critical than ever as publishers consider providing access to their core customers."

Said Chantry: "We continue to have a sense of urgency during this changeover to redeliver missed households, and the customer service department has been inundated with complaint calls. We are committed to provide the best service we possibly can to our readers."

CIPS, in business for more than 40 years, handles the weekly distribution of 10.5 million unique print packages and advertising circulars to more than 7 million households. Its comprehensive quality control systems include verification tools that comply with all delivery specifications, including the strictest "do not deliver" and "paper pile-up" standards in the industry, according to the company. CIPS says it enjoys the industry's only perfect track record of successful home-delivery conversions from coast to coast.

The Californian, which has been privately held by the Harrell-Fritts family since 1897, is today the largest family-owned newspaper in California. Its media products include, TBC Mobile, Bakersfield Life magazine, the Tehachapi News and several additional niche products and publications. To subscribe to The Californian, the digital Californian or the e-edition, call 392-5777.