Merging For Mutual Success
Combining departments will not only boost your services, but it will save money in the long run.
Marrying in-house mail and print departments requires all the foresight, planning and tact of a royal wedding—and the payoffs are just as spectacular. A more coordinated, efficient operation able to offer customers more services at a lower cost—that's the dream come true for managers of integrated in-plants.
"The results [of our merger] were far greater than we ever imagined. There's a synergy from everything being together now in one wide-open space," reveals Tim Steenhoek, who manages mail and print at Equitable of Iowa in Des Moines. Operations were merged in September 1997.
Steenhoek has a staff of 28 which last year handled 850,000 pieces of in-bound mail and nine million outgoing pieces. The fulfillment center processed 100,000 orders and printed pieces for 350,000 kits shipped last year. The center also duplicated 50,000 diskettes and 5,000 CD-ROMs, in addition to printing 38 million impressions, 300,000 of which were full color.
Steenhoek, however, is not alone. A number of other in-plants have discovered the benefits of merging their printing and mailing operations and are saving their parent organizations lots of money as a result.
A decade ago the University of Washington combined print/copy, mailing and design departments under a "publication services" monicker. Acting Director Frank Davis now oversees 160 employees plus over 100 students in the operation, which was reorganized primarily for efficiency.
"The best thing about it is the [ease of] communication. We have people look at the design and make sure it works for postal requirements," Davis says.
The department averages 75,000 pieces of incoming and outgoing mail daily, verifying addresses, bar coding and sorting to gain discounts. The savings for postage is $15,000 to $20,000 monthly, Davis says.
A Wonderful Relationship
Print and mail have been a team "forever" at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pa., says Jim Muchler, director of administrative services.