Web-to-print Caps Digital Overhaul at Mesa College
When veteran print administrator Penny Hedgecoth joined San Diego Mesa College as its Digital Printing/Mail Services administrator, the college’s print department was a completely analog operation. At the same time, budget constraints were making it difficult to replace staff lost to attrition.
Hedgecoth needed to find a way to operate with only six employees while providing better services to the college community. So she made the decision to convert the operation from analog to digital.
“While we have always tried to provide next-day service to faculty and staff,” she says, “it just wasn’t always possible with a manual, analog workflow in place. With the attrition we have had, it was absolutely critical for us to establish a more efficient work process in order to serve the institution and help keep it at the top of the performance list among California community colleges.”
Situated on a beautiful 104-acre mesa in the geographic center of California’s southernmost city, San Diego Mesa College is one of the state’s largest community colleges. It’s a fully accredited, comprehensive two-year college serving 25,000 students, and employing more than 1,000 faculty and staff members.
Hedgecoth joined San Diego Mesa College’s print and mail operation with years of experience in other academic and private sector printing organizations. She applied that experience and a great deal of enthusiasm to create a modern print and mail operation based on a digital workflow.
Her first task was to replace some of the older printing equipment and ensure that all equipment was connected to the college’s network. In 2006, a year after Hedgecoth began at Mesa College, the department purchased three Xerox digital printers: a Nuvera 120, a 4110 copier/printer and a DocuColor 250, which was recently updated to a DocuColor 560. The team was then able to send jobs to the printers digitally. Today, that equipment has been joined by a Xerox 265, a Canon imagePROGRAF iPF755, a Baum hydraulic cutter and an assortment of other bindery machines.
Hedgecoth’s second task was to find a way for customers across the campus to quickly and easily send files electronically for printing.
“In the past,” she says, “most of the work came into the shop on paper. A paper work order was filled out, and the paper originals were copied. This was simply not a sustainable process.”
To create a more productive digital workflow and make its services more accessible to faculty, staff and students, the in-plant implemented EFI Digital StoreFront as its job submission tool in the summer of 2014. Now work is seamlessly transferred from Digital StoreFront to the in-plant’s Xerox color and monochrome printers, often for same-day turnaround.
“We had to undergo a fairly significant justification process,” Hedgecoth says. “Our Budget Advisory Resource Committee looks at the financials but also evaluates how any investment the college makes will benefit students. We were able to meet all of their requirements with our request to implement Digital StoreFront.”
Since adding the Web-to-print solution, Hedgecoth has worked to educate faculty and staff on the new digital process.
“All work now comes in electronically,” she explains. “If there is something on paper, we scan that into the Digital StoreFront library and it is available for production as well as for potential later reprints or repurposing.”
Repeat work is easier to produce now, which is great because it is an important feature for some of the school’s academic programs.
“Our American Sign Language Department, for example, refreshes its coursework every three years, so our system is set up to ensure their content will be available when they are ready to redo their course materials,” Hedgecoth says.
With additional labor resources being difficult to come by, it is significant that a single staff member can monitor all of Mesa College’s Digital StoreFront submissions and queue jobs up for print.
The department plans to move to a new facility in 2016, which will be located in the front of the college and will include a delivery dock. Although the new space will not be larger, it will be designed specifically to house a printing and mailing area.
The in-plant recently started doing wide-format printing with its Canon imagePROGRAF iPF755, and is also now printing for students. The new location will be centrally located on campus, making it easier for students to access.
Most of the work that is completed for students is submitted