From the Editor: Brand New In-plants
We’ve all heard scary stories about in-plants that were outsourced in a vain attempt to cut costs; we don’t often hear about companies that open new in-plants for the same reason. So it’s striking that in just the past month I’ve met two managers whose organizations have done exactly that, and another whose college tossed out a facilities management (FM) firm and took over in-house printing.
At the Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) conference last month, I ran into Kris Sanders, of Valparaiso University, who was starting a new in-plant at her Indiana school. At the same event, I talked with Dave Woodard, of Keuka College, who told me how the poor service provided by an FM prompted his Keuka Park, NY, college to dismiss that company and start running its own in-plant.
Then a few weeks later at the Inkjet Summit, I met Brett Birky, of Urban Lending Solutions, who recounted how his company decided to stop using outside print vendors and bring all printing in-house. The company built a 25,000-square-foot production facility near the Denver International Airport, where it installed two Ricoh InfoPrint 5000 GP inkjet presses.
Birky cited risk mitigation, confidentiality and control as reasons that Urban Lending wanted to start its own in-plant. Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the in-plant now prints 1.8 million inkjet pages a day.
Though she doesn’t quite aspire to those volumes, Sanders still has noble goals for her new in-plant at Valparaiso University, which was created specifically to save the university money. Equipped with color and wide-format printers and awaiting Web-to-print, the shop has started printing marketing pieces, booklets, course packs and more.
In the Finger Lakes region of New York, Keuka College grew weary of the poor service it was getting from its FM provider, so about a year ago it started its own in-plant with a focus on cutting costs and improving service, and a special focus on serving students. The shop brought in Konica Minolta color and monochrome printers, an Epson wide-format device and Pitney Bowes mailing equipment.
Woodard says his in-plant has drastically improved customer service and slashed costs compared to the FM. Jobs that were previously outsourced are now printed in-house. Departments like marketing, alumni and family relations—not to mention the student body—have dramatically increased the amount of work they send to the in-plant.
So the next time someone talks about outsourcing printing as a way to reduce expenses, remember these examples of organizations that did the exact opposite when they wanted to control their print costs.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.