From the Editor: My Oregon Trail
WHILE VISITING Portland General Electric's Print & Mail Services operation last month, I had the good fortune to sit in on the in-plant's Monday morning staff meeting. As expected, they went over the daily workload and discussed some quality improvement ideas, but what impressed me most was when they paused to thank one another.
Each of the 13 staff members publicly recognized specific team members for going beyond what was expected: helping out with a task, staying late to finish a job, or just providing moral support. They handed each recipient of their appreciation a "PGE virtual dollar" for use in the company store.
What a great way to build team unity and make everyone feel respected and recognized. Who wouldn't leave a meeting like that feeling good, ready to put in a hard day's work? I was impressed.
Equally impressive was the efficiency and productivity of this operation, which prints some 36 million pages a year. Each day, about 50,000 transactional statements are printed on the shop's digital printers. Every single one of them is mailed the same day—and have been for eight years straight. Plant Supervisor Eric Houger demonstrated the process by which the operation provides 100 percent document integrity throughout the print and insertion process. Clearly, this is an in-plant that deserves its recent NAPL 2009 Management Plus Silver Award.
PGE wasn't the only in-plant I visited that day. From Portland, I set off on a 160-mile road trip, touring two more shops along the way before ending up in Corvallis, Ore. There, I met for two days with a dozen university in-plant managers, members of Xerox's Higher Education Advisory Council.
I pulled into the state capital of Salem around 11:00 for a tour of the Oregon State Publishing & Distribution operation. There, I sat with Deputy for Operations Deborah Gallagher and her entire management team and learned all about this impressive "print-to-post" operation. The current 102-employee department, in four locations, is a result of years of hard work, consolidated data centers and print shops from other agencies. Today State Publishing prints and mails countless projects like jury summonses, license applications, DMV renewals, legislative bills, and much more. Half of its jobs contain variable data. Its pickup and delivery shuttles make 551 stops each day around the state.
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.