In-plant Forum Shows In-plants A Path to Success
IPI has organized in-plant meetings at industry trade shows for more than 20 years, going back to PRINT 2001 in Chicago when we brought together the leaders of the country's largest in-plants for a roundtable discussion.
To keep the tradition alive, and to kick off the first day of PRINTING United, In-plant Impressions editor-in-chief Bob Neubauer moderated the forum “Reaching the Pinnacle of In-plant Success,” which also doubled as a luncheon sponsored by Ricoh.
Neubauer was joined by Delvecchio “Del” Shankle, who is the director of Operations, Print Services, and Marketing for CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System in Tyler, Texas, and Debbie Pavletich, a former in-plant director for Briggs & Stratton and the director of Business Consulting Practice and Graphic Communications for Ricoh.
The forum highlighted CHIRSTUS’s remarkable expansion from a small shop with slow turnaround times to an award-winning in-plant that was able to reexamine its mission and persuade its parent organization to support a major expansion; and emphasized how in-plants should be continuously adding value to their operations.
“Three years ago, we were a small shop. We were serving three hospitals and about 30 clinics. And then we merged with CHRISTUS. And that opportunity became something larger than what any of them could offer internally,” Shankle said. “So, we took that opportunity to try to leverage what we were doing in our small shop in order to pass along all those opportunities of being SMEs internally to CHRISTUS.”
Today, the in-plant is entrusted with brand management for the health system and takes on ever-more-complicated projects, including braille signage, intelligent mail, and acrylic name plates.
It Starts With A Vision
To achieve a transformation of this magnitude, it typically needs to start with something along the lines of a dream or a vision, Pavletich explained.
“As you're looking at developing the plan, you must have a vision. Del had a vision that he took to the extreme, and he had a passion for what his department could do for its organization to support the mission, the goals, and objectives of the parent organization,” Pavletich said.
Shankle explained that the major components of his vision were cost savings — or as he likes to term it, cost avoidance — and security.
Security was a factor because there were concerns about hospital data breaches when it came to outsourcing work, and Shankle said he knew if his in-plant were to get the right investments, then that work could be done in-house. It was just a matter of the in-plant proving itself.
Proving Yourself as an In-plant
Pavletich touched on the fact that in order to get approval from your parent organization, an in-plant needs to align itself with the goals and objectives of the organization.
Shankle explained that he’s lucky enough to have access to CHRISTUS’s five-year plan so the shop was able to plan accordingly and align its aspirations with the five-year plan. He also mentioned that sharing similar values with his parent organization helped in the long run as well.
“I am very fortunate to work with an organization that is faith-based, and because of that my team and I walk in every day, excited about what we can do to impact the lives of our patients and those that we serve,” Shankle said.
He continued, “And so every decision if it's a piece of equipment, or if it's a piece of workflow, automation software or things like that, it all goes in how can we get that patient? And I can tell you when you align with your company or your parent organization's strategic plan, they have one they will notice what you're doing because it helps them achieve what they need to achieve.”
Improving Workflow Through Software Solutions
As the session was beginning to wind down, Pavletich inquired about Shankle’s online storefront, how far it has come, and how it has improved overall operations for the in-plant.
Shankle said that optimizing the online storefront is the single most important thing the in-plant has done.
“I will tell you two years ago we were just kind of limping along. Maybe 30% of all jobs came through the storefront. Before, orders came through emails, phone calls to our office, I mean even smoke signals they just came in every kind of way that you can imagine. Today, after optimizing our storefront we now have about 89 to 90% of all jobs coming through our storefront,” Shankle said.
Since improving the storefront, Shankle said that time spent returning calls and emails has dwindled. Now, it can give its customers the best-in-class, or as Shankle described it, the “Amazon experience” that will win their trust and competence.
Overhauling the storefront didn’t happen overnight, Shankle said it was a nine- to 10-month process that involved outside consultants.
Overall, it’s safe to say that CHRISTUS Health Print Services is always looking for ways to innovate and become more efficient. The organization has invested in the latest technology and equipment and because of that can offer services that reduce costs and improve the patient experience.
Related story: Innovative Applications to Expand Your In-plant's Services