In-plant Groups Unite in Concern About Washington In-plant Audit
Representatives of three major in-plant printing organizations voiced serious concerns about the "Subject Matter Expertise for Printing Services Performance Audit" being performed on the Washington State Department of Printing, according to industry consultant Ray Chambers, CEO of Chambers Management Group.
Printing performance audits can be a good thing, if done properly, Chambers noted. “The problem here is the process,” he says. “The State Auditor’s Office Work Request was titled ‘Subject Matter Expertise for Printing Services Performance Audit,’ and only firms that were “prequalified” were allowed to participate."
But only one of the 60 or so prequalified firms listed in documents provided by the State Auditor’s Office had past experience evaluating printing plants, Chambers says—and that experience does not seem to be applicable to this project.
Chambers used the freedom of information process to obtain copies of the two reports used as references of subject matter expertise by BERK and Associates, the successful vendor. Neither report appears to demonstrate the level of proficiency required by a project of this magnitude, he says.
In one report, BERK and Associates evaluated the performance of a printing facility with two full-time and one part-time staff, two part-time student workers and program income of approximately $570k. The other project evaluated a shop of about the same size. By way of comparison, the Washington Department of Printing employs over 100 staff with revenues of $30 million or higher.
“Industry leaders are concerned about the process,” continues Chambers.
Ragina Ostendorf, president of the National Government Publishing Association (NGPA) points out that in-plant printing facilities are responsible for more than just document production. “As president of NGPA, and having been a part of this industry for several years now, I understand the importance of controlling costs by local, state and federal government. But I also understand the importance of protecting the content of critical public documents in both print and/or electronic format. Any assessment of a public in-plant printer should factor in the important role in-plant printing facilities play in protecting sensitive content, especially in this ever increasing move toward more electronic management of data and communications.
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