IPMA’s Virtual Conference Wraps Up: Here Are Highlights
The In-plant Printing and Mailing Association’s Virtual Conference and Vendor Fair has concluded after two weeks of information-packed sessions. More than 400 people from 171 different companies and organizations registered for the online event.
The conference featured a mix of in-plant managers talking about developments in their shops over the past year and outside experts in topics like workflow, sustainability, employee fulfillment and even eye care. Here are some of the highlights:
Mike Lincoln and Monique Moynihan of Colorado’s IDS operation revealed how they kept the print and mail operation running during the pandemic to produce essential materials, despite having some staff working remotely. This involved delivering laptops to the homes of employees who had never worked remotely, setting up their internet access and coaching them to continue doing their jobs while still feeling part of the team. There were many days of “creative scheduling,” Lincoln said, working around sudden absences due to family sickness. New inserters were installed during the pandemic, and new services like mail scanning were implemented. Though he expected a significant budget impact, Lincoln said, the opposite happened; the shop got even more work and actually experienced growth.
- In a session on outsourcing, Amy Bellows of Mutual of Omaha advised her peers not to fear the word “outsourcing,” but rather use it as an opportunity to prove your in-plant’s worth. Get yourself invited to meetings where the in-plant’s future is being decided and ask questions. Be the person who recommends better solutions so the in-plant can deliver better service to customers.
- Opening keynote speaker Trish Holliday returned to talk about how to create a better workplace. Employees are no longer satisfied with mere job satisfaction, she said. They want to feel fulfilled in their work. “Employees want to know that their work has meaning; that they are part os something bigger than themselves,” she said.
Greg Cholmondeley, president of PRINTelligence Consulting, moderated a great panel discussion of in-plant managers, who talked about how they have leveraged new technology investments to add new services and grow their businesses. Bloomberg’s John Cruser told how adding an automated cutter brought unexpected opportunities for new business, saving the in-plant enough money to buy a flatbed printer. Joe Verardo, with the state of Oregon, noted how the in-plant started providing fulfillment services for state parks to provide maps, envelopes and other needed items, after layoffs made it difficult for the parks to provide those services.
- Doug Maxwell, of Brigham Young University’s in-plant, talked about his shop’s decision to become the first university in-plant with an inkjet press, a Ricoh Pro VC 60000, which the shop added to be able to print religious publications. He talked about the pros and cons of inkjet and toner devices, and how inkjet allowed the shop to lower its cost per page to just $.0003.
- Marcie Carr, head of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Publications, talked about how her in-plant's new flatbed printer and other wide-format equipment led to a surge in signage work.
- Though most IPMA members incorporate some sustainability practices, noted Messiah University's Brandon Hoover in a session on June 16, they are largely doing it in isolation or in ways not recorded by their parent organizations. There is a great opportunity to work with the parent organization to advance its sustainability goals and create a statement declaring the in-plant's support.
- Workflow automation is an in-plant’s best opportunity to create savings, insisted Vince Tutino of Rochester Software Associates. And if you don’t have a Web-to-print system in your in-plant yet, “it’s time,” he said. “If you’re still taking emails [with attachments], that can cost you $10,000 a year in wasted time.”
- Richard Silver, of George Fox University, detailed his in-plant’s travails over the past couple of years, starting with the closing of printing services, the subsequent expansion of the mail operation, and the disappointing order to move mail to the far edge of campus. Through persistence and getting advocates to help make his case, he was able to negotiate a more convenient location.
- Kathi Rowzie of Two Sides gave an interesting presentation about her group’s efforts to stop Fortune 500 corporations from “greenwashing” in their communications: making misleading claims that imply printing is bad for the environment. “In North America, we grow manymore trees than we harvest,” she contended.
- An unexpectedly great session on eye strain featured Pete Hanlin, with Essilor of America, offring printers eye-opening advice. Our eyes, he noted, were designed for hunting and gathering, not looking at electronic screens. Doing that for extended periods forces eye muscles to contract and push on the lenses, leading to fatigue. Every 20 minutes, he advised, people should take a 20-second break to focus on something 20 feet away.
At the conclusion of the virtual conference, IPMA President Kelly Hogg, looking dapper in a bowtie, returned to thank attendees for their attention and invite them to attend IPMA 2022 in person next year in Buffalo, N.Y. He noted that, because the 2020 and 2021 conferences were not live, the winners of the In-Print contests for those years will all be honored next June in Buffalo. This includes the Best of Show winners, all six of which will be revealed at the live event.
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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.