What Good Do In-plants Do? 'Plenty' Say IPMA Panelists
In-plants work hard, aim high, and hit their marks — it’s how they retain the loyalty of their customers and the confidence of their parent organizations. On September 11 during PRINT 17 in Chicago, four in-plant managers described their newest services and detailed their upcoming plans in a panel discussion hosted by the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) and sponsored by Canon, RSA, Ricoh, and Xerox.
The panelists were:
- Bruce Goodman, section chief, Wisconsin Bureau of Publishing and Distribution (BPAD);
- Louis Ferell, manager of Printing Services, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Houston;
- Cathy Skoglund, director of the Print and Imaging Lab at Arizona State University;
- Nancy Corcoran, director of Document & Mail Services, Spectrum Health.
The first question from moderator Elisha Kasinskas (RSA) was about new services and/or initiatives from the in-plants. Houston Metro, said Ferell, is about a week away from deciding which software vendor it will select to help it make more of the transit system’s information available to the riding public. Consolidating internal and external reporting systems is another goal.
Spectrum Health, said Corcoran, has made it easier for customers to obtain printed materials by installing WebCRD Web-to-print software from RSA. The solution has streamlined the process to the point where “we do not have any more paper orders,” she said.
At Arizona State University, the Print and Imaging Lab enlisted the help of a student IT team to standardize production of name badges (a task formerly outsourced to Staples). This initiative, Skoglund said, enabled the in-plant to add $15,000 to its bottom line by producing 3,000 badges in one month.
Wisconsin BPAD has just issued an RFP for a high-speed inkjet printer, said Goodman, who added that the in-plant saves its state-agency customers considerable amounts of money by producing their wide-format work internally. BPAD also helps the agencies improve their accounts payable routines by scanning invoices.
Asked what they’d like to offer next, the panelists continued to answer from the point of increasing customer service.
Corcoran wants to create templates that will make Web-to-print orders easier to design. Skoglund hopes to teach customers how to design for digital and vows that the in-plant will “never create a door” that keeps customers from getting what they want. Among other things, said Goodman, Wisconsin BPAD aims to help the state’s department of motor vehicles simplify the process of producing the 300,000 license plate renewal forms it distributes every month.
For Ferell, the goal is simply to do what all of Houston Metro aspires to do: “build ridership.” To that end, his shop is in the midst of reissuing some 22,000 bus stop signs in aluminum—a ask that’s all in a day’s work for a busy, committed in-plant like his.
Patrick Henry is the director of Liberty or Death Communications. He is also a former Senior Editor at NAPCO Media and long time industry veteran.