In-plant Research Highlighted at DigiGov Conference
At Tuesday's Digital Printing in Government and Higher-Ed Conference (DigiGov), IPG Editor Bob Neubauer presented the results from a major research project on the in-plant industry. The data revealed some interesting trends and new directions in which in-plants are moving.
The conference, organized by In-plant Graphics and chaired by Neubauer, drew in-plant managers from government agencies all over Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area, and from as far away as California. Nearly every seat in the GPO's Harding Hall was filled. Though Neubauer's session came at the end of a long day, the attention of those in the room seemed riveted on the data he showed.
Neubauer compared government and higher-ed in-plants with the rest of the in-plant industry, using statistics gathered in an IPG survey, which garnered 216 responses. He noted several services that are more popular at university in-plants than in the rest of the industry. For example, 87.5% of higher-ed operations offer variable data printing, compared with 69.9% of the entire in-plant population. Just 64% of government in-plants offer VDP.
Similarly, mailing, online ordering, copier fleet management and selling promotional items are all services provided by significantly more higher-ed in-plants than by the general in-plant industry. One service provided by more government in-plants is graphic design; 84% of them offer this, compared with 75% of higher-ed in-plants and 71.8% overall.
Neubauer focused a lot of attention on wide-format printing. Overall, 65.3% of in-plants say they offer this service, but among college and university in-plants, a staggering 85% produce wide-format printing. Government in-plants lag here, with just 48% offering this.
Neubauer cited an increase, compared with 2014 figures, in the production of envelopes, manuals, annual reports, calendars, books and window clings/floor graphics at in-plants. Overall, items printed by a higher percentage of college and university in-plants than those in the rest of the industry include envelopes, direct mail pieces, calendars, magazines and window clings. At government in-plants, manuals, annual reports and books are more popular than in the general in-plant population.
Insourcing, Neubauer revealed, is now being done by 63.4% of in-plants, up from 52.7% in 2014. In-plants are adding new services to increase their value, such as garment printing (provided by 12% of in-plants), scanning (39.8%) website design (12%) and engraving (8.8%).
"The need to expand offerings beyond print is so evident now, as cited in the In-plant Graphics survey data and the conversations in the room," notes Rob Piersielak of Xerox, one of the many vendors that exhibited at DigiGov. "The transformation of the in-plant print center to a communications hub is well underway, and it’s a great time to be in the in-plant."
The IPG research data, which was first presented at the Association of College and University Printers conference last month, will appear in upcoming issues of IPG.
Related story: IPG's DigiGov Conference Packs the House