When it comes to upgrading equipment, few in-plants are installing as much new technology as San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD) Printing and Graphics Services. In 2019, the six-employee in-plant added a Mutoh ValueJet 1638UH wide-format printer, an OKI C931E digital envelope press, a Sterling Digibinder automatic perfect binder from Spiel Associates, a Graphic Whizard PT331S creaser and an Edward Segal portable pneumatic press for grommets. This followed 2018 upgrades to its numbering, perfing, and scoring equipment, and the 2017 addition of a Mutoh ValueJet 1324 wide-format printer and cutter.
The ability to upgrade and add new services and equipment to the shop isn’t a fluke. It is the product of a combination of factors, including both the luck to have a management team that understands and supports the in-plant, but also, says Anna Mendez, Printing and Graphics supervisor, a concerted effort by the shop to ensure the quality of its work never gives management a reason to question its support.
“They understand how important printing services are, and what kind of service we provide to our organization,” she notes. “We try to offer the best quality work and fastest service possible, and we work closely with all our clients and try to give them the best service possible.”
640,000 Impressions a Month
Located in Redlands, Calif., the in-plant serves two campuses in San Bernardino County — Crafton Hills Community College and San Bernardino Valley College — and an administrative office, along with a few smaller offices. Between those campuses 27,000 students are served.
“We produce about 640,000 impressions a month, which include printing on our two Xerox black-and-white [Nuvera 144 and D95] copiers, Xerox Versant 180, Ryobi 3302, Ryobi 524, OKI C931e printer, Mutoh ValueJet 1324X, and Mutoh ValueJet 1638UH,” says Mendez.
As for the recent upgrades, she notes that every one of them was for a very specific purpose.
“We purchased the Mutoh ValueJet 1638UH because we have grown a lot in the wide-format printing area,” she explains. “We wanted something that could print on flat material as well as rolls.”
That is something the 64˝ hybrid LED-UV printer can do well. Because it’s a hybrid, it not only prints on rigid substrates up to a half inch thick, it also prints on roll media. Its staggered dual printhead design provides high print speeds, and the dual UV lamps, on either side of the printheads, provide exceptional cure times.
As for the new OKI C931E, Mendez says, the shop added it to improve the quality of the envelopes it was printing.
“We had a Neopost Mach 5 for envelopes, but we were having problems matching the ink colors, and the ink heads dried faster than expected,” she says.
The OKI uses digital LED technology to produce high-definition printing at resolutions of 1,200x1,200 dpi. It can print both A2 envelopes and banners up to 13x 52˝. It prints on paper stock up to 360 gsm and on a range of media including polyester, magnetic media, transparent film, and more.
Adding bindery equipment like the Sterling Digibinder and Graphic Whizard creaser has allowed the in-plant to reduce the amount of work it had been outsourcing.
“We added the Sterling Digibinder to keep the perfect binding jobs we were sending out in-house,” she notes, adding. “Our old creaser was at the end of its life and it was necessary to replace.”
To cut down on the ergonomic challenges involved in banner production, the shop found a unique solution.
“We were using a hand grommet puncher for our banners, which we produce a lot of, and came across this hydraulic unit from Edward Segal at the Las Vegas SGIA show in October of 2018,” she says. That show has evolved into PRINTING United, and will take place this year from Oct. 21-23 in Atlanta.
For 2020, Mendez notes the in-plant is already considering its next new piece of equipment, hinting that an engraver might be in the shop’s future. Name tags are an item still outsourced to another vendor, and the goal is to bring as much work in-house as possible over time.
A Great Relationship
Beyond the great support the in-plant receives from upper management, Mendez also attributes part of the shop’s success to the fact that it belongs to a very technical department to begin with.
“We are part of the Technical and Educational Support Services Department. This is the most tech-savvy department you can belong to,” she says. “I strongly believe this is why we are able to upgrade and replace equipment. They understand the importance of keeping up with some of the newest trends in printing, and how important this is in order to keep our customers coming back and keep us working.”
That philosophy has shown results, with the shop today offering a range of services, from quick copying to wide-format printing. And that list is constantly expanding, as Mendez looks for new opportunities to better serve the organization, and bring more work back in-house.
“We are trying to offer more services so that we can keep the work in-house that has been getting sent out to private printing companies,” Mendez says. “We can also offer more reliable services to our organization.”
When it comes to putting those relationships into practice, Mendez notes that the process is fairly straightforward.
“Anytime I ask for a replacement or new piece of equipment, I put it in writing and I put down the pros and cons of getting the new piece of equipment,” she says. “Once they see it on paper, it’s harder to reject the facts.”
SBCCD is proving that in-plant operations are still a vital and vibrant part of organizations that devote the time and resources to supporting them. Mendez sets a great example of how mixing good relationship building, a tech-forward management team, and doing the research ahead of time to present hard facts can come together to ensure the in-plant gets exactly what it needs to thrive. And backing that up with superior service and quality goes a long way toward ensuring management can see direct results from the upgrades, and will feel increasingly confident in continuing to invest in the shop when new requests come up.
It is a blueprint for success that demonstrates how all the elements can come together for in-plant excellence across the board.