Engraving and Signage Services Give Villanova More Visibility
Wide-format printing isn't the only new service Villanova University Central Services has embraced as it sought to diversify the offerings of its in-plant (find out how Central Services diversified its offerings by adding wide-format printing here). It also expanded into engraving and signage.
According to Michael George, director of Central Services, the shop has recently been producing a great deal of room plaques and signage around campus, especially as construction forces offices to move around. The in-plant works with Villanova’s facilities management office on these projects.
“They’re not doing 600 signs; they just need seven to 10 room signs,” he notes. “That’s mostly what we’re doing in that space. We’ve also been getting into some emergency signs — shelter-in-place signs for buildings, dorm signage for remodeled buildings, etc.”
One challenge the shop had to overcome was the requirements for ADA- (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant pieces.
“There are a lot of requirements,” says George, “primarily around new construction. But any time there is a remodel of a space, we like to bring them into ADA-compliant signage.”
Getting into engraving and signage was something George considered for more than a year as he looked for ways to keep the in-plant relevant. He checked out options at the SGIA Expo, walking around and noting what services he thought might take the shop into the next five years. Eventually, one staff member stepped up and offered to own the engraving project, learning to run the machines and everything necessary to create ADA-compliant signage.
“She owned that project, which was great,” he says. “And it took off, and now we’re entrenched in that space.”
The key to adding any new service, George stresses, be it wide-format, engraving or something else, is to focus on building trust with the parent organization by providing excellent service for a good price. He notes that the in-plant has the trust of everyone on campus, from faculty to students to staff.
“If I could say one thing people need to do, it’s build that relationship,” he stresses. Good service will take the shop much further than offering a $50 discount on a $3,000 job.
“We focus on pricing and recover costs, but our primary focus is on maintaining a service level that exceeds what they can get on the outside,” he concludes. “And that works for us.”
Related story: Villanova Finds Success in Diversification