It's Serious Business; Run It Like One
Communicating with upper management is crucial to your in-plant's survival, but you must also keep track of your expenses—and know your competition.
Before we talk about justifying the in-plant, let's define it. An in-plant printing operation is a small, independent business operating within a corporation or other organization.
Typically, the organization's business is not printing, nor anything related to it. The in-plant exists to provide a service to the organization only because it's less expensive than buying the printing commercially and/or the organization feels it will have more control with the printing handled internally.
As a printing manager, justifying your in-plant is your job, and how successful you are determines whether you keep your job—and the jobs of your employees. With today's downsizing trends, this is serious business. It is an ongoing task that should be considered whenever you have the opportunity to report on your in-plant to upper management. The bottom line is you must run your in-plant like a business.
To justify your in-plant, you must be able to prove that you can do the work for less money, with the same or better quality and just as fast or faster than your commercial counterparts. There are a few key steps that you must follow to successfully justify your in-plant operation:
• Communicate effectively with upper management.
• Become thoroughly familiar with your operation's expenses.
• Have a chargeback system in place.
• Know your competition.
Communication: This is the first step to take in justifying your in-plant operation. Upper management must trust that you are effectively and efficiently managing your organization, and the best way to demonstrate that is with good communication.
Keep them informed about your operation, your goals and your progress. Most importantly, provide them with the reasons why the organization is wise to keep your in-plant operating. Your goal is to have upper management understand your operation and have enough trust in you so that if there ever comes a time when the in-plant's existence is questioned, they come to you first.