Curing Sick Shops
Mismanagement, underfunding and poor morale are just some of the battles in-plants have to fight. Against the odds, some in-plants have turned themselves around.
WHEN RICHARD Raveson first came to the North Broward Hospital District in-plant, the machines were broken, the staff was unhappy and the management was indifferent. The in-plant was like a chronically ill patient in a world without doctors. Thanks to Raveson's skills as a manager, though, not only has the patient recovered, it's never been better.
But 12 years ago, Raveson says, it would have been pretty hard to imagine this kind of turnaround. Back then, the shop was a paltry 1,200 square feet, had only three employees and was outsourcing 80 percent of its work. There were no controls for the regulation of outsourcing, upper management hardly knew the shop existed and the in-plant's previous manager ruled with an iron fist. On top of all that, employee morale was low and print production was limited.
But Raveson had a plan.
"The first thing I went after was to try and make [the shop] as self-sufficient as possible," explains Raveson. "Shortly thereafter, I got the presses working properly and we expanded into larger press work. All through that time my mission was to centralize all the printing services and let everybody understand that if you wanted print, come through the print shop."
Slowly, but surely, Raveson's plan began to take effect.
Been There, Done That
Of course, Raveson wasn't the first person to face this kind of trouble. Four years earlier, Pete Twentey, of the Washington Hospital Center in-plant in Washington, D.C., had a similar experience.
When Twentey took over as director of printing services in 1985, the shop was known as the "Black Hole," he says—work went in, but it never came out. Like the shop Raveson inherited, the Washington Hospital in-plant was saddled with outdated equipment, a small, unmotivated staff and an overmatched manager. At first glance, Twentey says, he had his doubts.