In-plants Share Growth Strategies
The in-plant community is well represented at PRINTING United and eager to learn. Many in-plants turned out for a panel discussion on Thursday to hear four leading managers reveal how their in-plants have achieved "growth through change."
The panel discussion was moderated by Elisha Kasinskas of Rochester Software Associates and included Mike Lincoln, Colorado State Printer; Richard Beto, director of Document Solutions at The University of Texas at Austin; Lauren Tarbet, Copy Center Supervisor at Pflugerville Independent School District; and Laurie Metzger, Valero's manager of Print and Promotional Products.
Each related how they have brought innovative ideas to their internal customers and added services. By doing this, they have enhanced the value their in-plants bring to their parent organizations.
Metzer noted that her 11-employee in-plant has improved its efficiency by rearranging its equipment for a better workflow. Mail and print were combined, giving the shop the ability to cross-train staff across departments to alleviate bottlenecks. Metzger focuses on staff development and training to prepare her employees for the future.
At Pflugerville ISD, adding new services and rebranding existing services has increased awareness of the nine-employee in-plant, Tarbet said. "The demand for our services keeps increasing," she noted. The shop just bought a wide-format printer to start bringing that service in-house, and will soon add mailing services.
Lincoln noted that adding production inkjet printing six years ago "has really transformed what we do." He is now looking to bring more work in-house that is currently being outsourced. Getting in front of customers to tell them how the in-plant can benefit them is important, he said. He holds customer focus groups to learn how the in-plant can help agencies with their strategic plans and better serve them.
Beto noted that the business needs of customers are continually changing, so in-plants must be alert to what new services are needed, what current services need to be modified, and what services should be discontinued. In his case he saw a need for wide-format printing and promotional products and added these services. He also started providing courier services, and in January took on Central Receiving services for the entire university. To promote the shop's services, it holds two showcase events a year in different parts of campus.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.