How One In-plant Got the First Right of Refusal
Getting the First Right of Refusal (FROR) for all the parent organization’s print work is the holy grail for many in-plants. This is a policy where stipulating that any person or entity in the organization must first submit their graphic communication work to the in-plant for consideration prior to sending the project out to an external vendor. If the in-plant refuses or can’t perform the requested work, the entity or person is then free to entertain external offers to have the work completed.
The FROR can be beneficial to the in-plant and to the parent organization by keeping more jobs in-house and thereby returning revenue to the parent organization. But getting administrative approval of this policy is not easy, in part because it seems to infringe on people’s perceived “freedom” to choose where they want to print a piece.
A new white paper from edu Business Solutions delves into the FROR and how it can help in-plants remain viable by keeping more services in-house. Authored by former in-plant manager Gordon Rivera, the paper cites data from a recent survey of Print Shop Pro users, 83% of whom indicated that they would be interested in establishing an FROR agreement at their organization.
The paper talks with two in-plants that have FROR to learn how they got it and how it benefits them. One of them is Western Carolina University where Al Goranson serves as business officer overseeing the self-funded in-plant.
The FROR at WCU was piggybacked to an existing policy proposal that the director of Auxiliary Services was promoting to protect food services at the university. Goranson’s predecessor worked with the office of Auxiliary Services and the university’s administrative council to get printing services covered under the same food services agreement to protect and funnel work back to the in-plant.
Officially approved as policy in January 2022, the FROR at WCU is even posted on the university’s website, giving the in-plant the enviable position of having a formal FROR with the university. The FROR covers digital and offset printing, mailing, signage, and wide-format services including vehicle wrap installations.
Goranson’s advice for other in-plant managers: “If you want an FROR, make a case that you’re sustainable and that if more of the work comes to you, you can turn it around and make a good job of it. You should be the easiest, best way to get things done for your institution, not be more difficult and expensive.”
Read more about WCU’s FROR experience and how other in-plants have attained and benefited from it, by downloading the full white paper here.
Related story: First Right of Refusal: Everyone Wants It, Few Attain It
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, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.