Meeting Of The Minds
At a recent IPG roundtable in Chicago, representatives of some of the Top 70 in-plants compared notes and shared ideas in a lively exchange.
by Bob Neubauer
It was a landmark event.
Print managers from corporate giants like Allstate and Boeing mingled with representatives from leading universities. The supervisors of the Ohio and Washington state printing operations chatted with managers of the top insurance company in-plants, like Blue Cross, Safeco and Cigna.
For the first time, the leaders of some of the country's largest in-plants sat together in one room to share their views. In-Plant Graphics organized this meeting during the recent Print 01 trade show in Chicago to give the Top 70 in-plants a chance to meet and discuss their large operations.
The meeting was made possible by the sponsorship of Printable Technologies, a provider of solutions enabling printers to incorporate online tools into their present business models.
Though a similar, more informal meeting took place during the IPMA 2001 conference in June, the Chicago roundtable marked the first official meeting of the Top 70 in-plants. (IPG ranks the Top 50 each December, and our Web site extends the list to the Top 70.)
Perhaps the most telling sign of how different these large in-plants are from one another was in the way they handle business cards. The prices they charge range greatly, from a low of $10 for 500 to a high of $115 for 500 (two-color) cards.
Some said they don't handle business cards at all. Others have a link on their Web site to an outside business card vendor's site, allowing the customer to come to the in-plant with the order. Still others have developed their own online ordering sites for business cards and similar items.
Other differences also came to light during the roundtable discussions. For example, not all participants oversee graphic design. Boeing's in-plant doesn't because its customers are the company's graphic designers. At Louisiana State University, design falls under University Relations. Due to an increased workload there, however, LSU Graphic Services was asked to take on some design responsibilities, so it has started its own design department.