A Beacon in the Storm
On Sept. 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike slammed full blast into Galveston, Texas. Within hours of the storm's arrival, Paul Kida, plant manager at Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Printing, received word that his in-plant would need to produce 3.5 million applications for assistance—a four-part snapout form, to be distributed along the Gulf Coast portion of the state.
"When Ike came through, we received a heads-up call, and the paperwork came through within a few hours," Kida recalls.
Normally a two-shift operation, HHS Printing worked around the clock and produced the order for delivery in less than 48 hours. Herein lies the value proposition of HHS Printing: Speed, flexibility and prioritization. When disaster strikes, HHS Printing drops whatever it's doing and plays a critical role to ensure that assistance is quickly within reach. Employees are thoroughly cross-trained, allowing Kida to mix and match people where needed, which is of particular importance during a state emergency.
"With a commercial printer, how fast they will respond depends on how big of a customer you are," notes Kida. "Having us in-house, [the state] knows when they need something right away, they can have it within hours."
While it might not have the hands-on impact of the Red Cross, this 47-employee in-plant plays a significant role in coming to the rescue of the Lone Star State's 25 million residents whenever a storm rears its head. And while the Austin-based shop is not always called on to play the role of Superprinter, in this age of headline-grabbing catastrophes and epidemic outbreaks such as H1N1, HHS Printing is constantly kept on its toes.
A Busy Operation
Located on the northern edge of the city, about 13 miles from the state capitol, the in-plant primarily produces forms, brochures, booklets and mailers in its 37,900-square-foot facility. Backed by a $7.5 million operating budget, the shop falls under the auspices of the Health and Human Services enterprise, which is comprised of five agencies: Department of State Health Services, Department of Aging and Disability Services, Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Family and Protective Services and the Health and Human Services Commission. Other state agencies, such as Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Attorney General's office and the Department of Public Safety, also avail themselves of the in-plant's services.