A Chat with the New Public Printer
HANDS DOWN, GPO topped our tallies of the largest in-plants last month. But the Government Printing Office has moved far beyond its middle name, putting it in a much different league than other in-plants.
IPG editor Bob Neubauer recently talked with new U.S. Public Printer Robert C. Tapella about the future of GPO’s in-house printing operation and of the new ways GPO is handling the digital information it is charged with collecting and making available.
>>> Offset vs. Digital Printing at GPO
Robert Tapella: “Even though we’re making significant increases in what we’re doing digitally, we are still a majority offset factory. We did 61 million pages (8.5x11?) on digital equipment last year. We did 2.8 billion pages with our offset web and another 800 million sheetfed offset, and then about 40 million envelopes.
“As we look forward, I would like to see us go majority digital, but there are limitations. What’s going to drive this change is our customers. How many copies each day of the Congressional Record does Congress really want? Every year that number is reducing. We’re getting to the point, very quickly, where I think in the next couple of years you’re going to see where the numbers start to make sense for running digital equipment, either ink-jet or toner-based, for the majority of the printing work we do for Congress. But that’s going to be driven by Congress’ needs.”
>>> Front-end Changes
“Our biggest changes are going to be in the composition piece as we look at how we best replace MicroComp, which is our aging composition system that we use for Congress and for the Federal Register. And I’m spending a lot of time working with Congress to see if we can make changes on the front end, which would also drive changes throughout the entire production process.”
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, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.