ACUP Lesson: Adding Value to Your Organization
One highlight of the recent Association of College and University Printers (ACUP+) conference was a series of roundtables on the last day of the New Haven, Conn., event, which allowed attendees to share their tips and ideas. In one of these roundtables, managers discussed the different ways their in-plants add value to their organizations.
One in-plant manager counseled others to align themselves to their university’s mission and goals, while making themselves indispensable. The manager cited examples of taking on projects that were not print-related and being involved in “everything” as a way to demonstrate the in-plant's willingness to help others succeed.
Another manager said the in-plant is aligned with purchasing and communications and is an approved vendor for the college, which helps the shop, since it does not have the right of first refusal.
A Midwest manager with no printing background who took over an in-plant said that, as she learned the capabilities of the equipment that her shop had, she realized the shop had not been using it to its potential and there were more types of printing the shop could offer customers. Leveraging this, the in-plant has been able to grow volume, and is looking to expand into other services, take over the copier fleet and expand physical shop space.
A California in-plant takes a dual approach: it works with many different departments as well as with students for their projects. In-plant employees teach students how to set up files and create InDesign templates for students to use to create their portfolios.
A North Carolina state school has been beautifying older campus buildings with wide-format printing, ranging from murals to elevator wraps to window perfs. A tip this manager offered to educate new employees about the shop’s services is to request that the new employee come to the shop to pick up his or her first order of business cards. Once the new university employee is in the shop, employees give the customer a tour and show examples of the types of work they do.
One in-plant at a New England Ivy League school holds an employee photo contest for a dog calendar (the university is very dog-centric), which has generated great interest. The printed inventory always sells out.
Another university in-plant uses a calendar as an example of an “on-brand” piece, with approved fonts and logos, and even personalizes some calendars for gifts and special visitors, noting that the calendar is printed by the in-plant.
One in-plant that has responsibility for the MFP fleet uses the data collected to approach some customers who have been printing high volumes on MFPs and encourage them to print more cost-effectively at the centralized print center. The shop also is also responsible for the college’s mass email system, and sends daily messages. Because students and professors know that the shop manages the system, this maintains awareness of the shop.
A community college in-plant that reports to the CTO is trying to get approval to add wide-format printing. Despite having all the relevant data and a strong business case, the shop’s manager struggles with a unionized staff that does not want to take on this work.
Watch for IPI's full ACUP+ report in the May issue.
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