Canadian In-plants Connect In Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario, was a pretty busy place at the end of June. With Canada marking its 150th anniversary on July 1, the nation’s capital was abuzz with activity: streets were shut down, barriers were erected and a massive stage was set up in front of the Parliament complex for a full day of musical performances.
Ottawa was also the scene of another anniversary in late June: the 50th College and University Print Management Association of Canada (CUPMAC) conference. About 30 managers from schools all over Canada, with a sizable contingent from the Vancouver area, took part in the four-day conference. IPG was there as well, for the first time since 2006.
Though similar in format to the U.S.-based Association of College and University Printers (ACUP+) conference, CUPMAC is a more scaled down, intimate gathering, with a single track of educational sessions and a half-day vendor exhibition. This year’s conference included tours of two Ottawa in-plants: Algonquin College and Carleton University. Both rely on multiple Konica Minolta printers. Carleton also runs several offset presses, including a four-color Heidelberg, which it uses to print some great quality work.
Nostalgia and Wit
The conference started off in great style with Frank Romano, professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology, offering a nostalgic look at how communications have changed over the decades, with a touch of his trademarked humor tossed in here and there. For instance, he noted that the first Xerox 914 copier came with a fire extinguisher.
“They said that was a feature,” he quipped.
Romano noted that print volume in North America reached its peak in 1995. Then along came the Internet and print volumes have never been the same. As this trend continues, he told managers, they will have to find new ways to serve their universities.
Inkjet is slowly replacing offset, he reported, and non-paper printing (i.e., on glass or plastic) is growing. Digital embellishment of printed pieces is becoming more common and is an area worth looking into, he advised.
In a slightly less jocular presentation, Pierre Jolicoeur, manager of the in-plant in Canada’s House of Commons, talked about the need to strike a balance between what his in-plant can print in-house and what it must outsource. In 2009, 75% of the work was outsourced, he said. This became too expensive, so he got approval to add a four-color Heidelberg perfecter, plus computer-to-plate, folding and booklet-making equipment.
The in-plant was able to bring a lot of work back in-house, though some vendors did complain about losing work. But the truth is, Jolicoeur explained, that the in-plant was saving taxpayers money, so the vendors’ protests did not hold water. His shop continues to send work out, due to heavy volumes at certain times of year. He was asked whether other in-plants could bid on some of this work, and he agreed it was a good idea.
IPG Editor Bob Neubauer presented IPG research on trends in the in-plant industry, noting that some of the biggest opportunities for in-plants are in wide-format printing, managing the MFD fleet and insourcing. This was followed by series of roundtable discussions, which covered topics like print management software and wide-format, allowing attendees to share their experiences and ideas.
Managed Print Services a Hot Topic
Several presentations at CUPMAC focused on managed print services and how important it is for the in-plant to control the process of assessing the university’s MFD fleet, overseeing the RFP and managing the program. The best of these sessions was given by Ray Konecsni, of the University of Regina.
The university’s focus on sustainability and its desire to reduce power consumption and paper waste gave Konecsni some influence in convincing senior management there was a problem. To remain neutral and avoid appearing to favor a particular vendor, management agreed to hire an independent consultant to review the existing print environment, identify cost reduction opportunities, benchmark and develop a campus-wide print strategy.
The consultant found 1,196 devices in use at the time with a ratio of staff to output device of 1.2 to 1. Based on the consultant’s recommendations, an RFP was sent out to vendors and two finalists were selected. They were invited to set up their devices at the university where end users viewed and evaluated them. Based on their feedback, Konecsni and his team chose one vendor to provide all campus MFDs.
Under the program, the university has gone from 1,196 disparate devices to a standard suite of 586 MFDs so far, with a goal of reducing that to 317. The ratio of staff to output device has increased to 2.45 to 1. Sustainability benefits include a 9.6% reduction in power consumption over the first five years, a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions over the same period and a 21% drop in paper consumption.
Thanks to this program, the user interface on these devices is simpler to use, the cost per copy is standard across campus, document security has been improved, quality is better and downtime is reduced. PaperCut print management software monitors usage by device, department or person, and reports can be generated. So if high-volume jobs are being produced on an MFD, for example, that user can be encouraged to send the work to the in-plant.
In another session, Colin McFadyen and David Townsend talked about the evolution of Carleton University’s public-facing campus print solution from its early days of employing Pharos print release stations (which required lab computers to send print jobs) to the 2014 implementation of PaperCut and Everyone Print software, which handles email and web job submissions.
The solution was branded “CU on the GO” and promoted with signage around campus. MFDs are branded with the “CU on the GO” logo and clearly labeled “color” and “black-and-white” to reduce student confusion. Prices are posted on the machines. So far student satisfaction is up, they said, as are sales.
In other CUPMAC sessions, managers shared their success stories. ACUP representative John Wesseling, of the University of Cincinnati, talked about his success fending off outsourcing vendors by having accurate data on his in-plant’s costs and using it to prove the in-plant’s cost-savings.
“We’re good stewards of the university’s money,” he remarked. “That’s what you have to get across to your administration.”
Related story: From the Editor: The Canadian Connection
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 more than 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, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.