Keeping Print Alive
Adding new capabilities would be much easier for Rivera if he had extra floor space. The four-employee in-plant currently operates out of a modest 2,200-square-foot facility. He says he knows he could make money on wide-format printing, but just does not have the room to add the equipment. He also has a strong interest in entering the realm of 3D printing.
Rivera has penned a proposal to acquire additional space, and has brought the school's board of trustees in for a tour to explain how much more work they could do with extra square footage.
"The college president knows we can do more," Rivera says, stressing that he gets a lot of support from the school due to the large amount of work handled by a skeleton staff.
Over the past seven years, the shop has been insourcing work from other schools and non-profits. Rivera points out that the in-plant runs a profitable retail printing operation for students, which has been growing by about 33 percent annually.
While managing a busy college in-plant would be more than enough for most people to handle, Rivera also serves as a lecturer at Cal Poly. He has taught a variety of production and management courses, and is now focusing on quality management, including Six Sigma practices.
Rivera is a proponent of using Six Sigma—a set of techniques and tools for process improvement—at his shop to boost productivity and streamline the whole printing process.
"Six Sigma can be applied to just about anything," Rivera says, noting that he has introduced Six Sigma techniques to other departments at the school. He is currently writing a white paper on implementing Six Sigma into a print environment.
"I am blessed because one of my employees is a Cal Poly graduate, and he was trained in the process," he says, adding that the other in-plant employees quickly got on board.