Colorful In-plant Ideas
In-plant managers from the University of North Texas, the State of Tennessee, Shelter Insurance and Yale University shared ideas with their peers during a “colorful” panel discussion at last month's In-plant Printing and Mailing Association conference in Orlando. (Full conference coverage here.) Each panelist shared one idea in each of four categories, while attendees followed along and colored in a workbook of over 40 ideas.
The speakers covered topics like new services, adapting existing resources, working in new ways and gaining awareness. Here are some of the ideas they shared:
- The State of Tennessee adapted existing equipment when a request was made for frames and matted photos, which they could not provide. The in-plant now has decorated many state offices and conference rooms with gallery-wrapped canvas prints.
- Yale is producing digital publications for mobile use. The apps will be generated in the department and provide analytics about customer consumption.
- UNT became a promotional products distributor to offer customers customized, branded UNT products at a lower cost. The in-plant is part of the branding process, working to create special branded items for the institution’s 125th anniversary. The promotional program has become so popular—generating about $500,000 in annual revenue—that the in-plant had to add three staff members.
- Shelter Insurance encouraged its designers to work as team, which has produced great, award-winning results that often are better than any one individual could have created.
- The State of Tennessee has several creative ways to market the in-plant's services. One example is a calendar. The shop holds a photo contest for state employees, selecting the best photograph for each month on the calendar. Marketing information about the operation's services appears throughout the calendar. This approach advertises their business, and state employees help spread the word because they want to show off their prize-winning photos.
- UNT holds classes in print buying, InDesign, and mailing for customers and potential customers to provide them information about UNT’s services and to help them be successful in their projects.
- In the past two years Yale has increased marketing initiatives, re-purposing a staff member as a marketing person. The operation takes a multi touch customer outreach approach that reaches over 5,800 customers (i.e., Yale students, faculty and staff) with efforts that range from electronic newsletters, website content, Yale media channels, and direct customer programs.
- After hearing their Agency force express their struggles with outside vendors, The Shelter Insurance in-plant made the decision in 2014 to purchase an EFI H652 wide-format UV flatbed printer. The in-plant prints on substrates like vinyl, poplin, mesh, foam core and Coroplast to create everything from table runners, to window graphics and car decals. The shop has promoted this with an infomercial style video that demonstrates how to install window graphics.
Watch a video of the session here. You can also download the “Colorful In-Plant Ideas" book to get more than 40 ideas from panelists Lora Connaughton, director of Printing and Distribution Solutions, University of North Texas; Tammy Golden, director of Printing and Media Services, State of Tennessee; Linda Winn, manager of Document Services, Shelter Insurance; and Frank Savino, associate director of production operations, Yale Printing and Publishing Services