New Digital Press in Ohio Will Keep Work In-house
When Paul Jones joined the Montgomery County (Ohio) Board of County Commissioners in Nov. 2021 as material services manager, the county’s Graphic Design, Printing & Mailing Services operation was outsourcing a lot of work. The former manager of Ashland University’s in-plant was determined to change that.
While meeting with the head county administrator, Michael Colbert, Jones brought up the outsourcing and asked Colbert for his views on it.
“I said, ‘You hired me to print. I’m a printer, not an outsourcer,’” Jones relates.
As a result of that conversation and the support of Central Services Director Kyle Kolopanis, the Dayton, Ohio-based in-plant is replacing its two aging Sharp printers with a new Ricoh Pro C9210 Graphic Arts Edition digital press. Jones expects the upgrade to bring a lot of work back in-house.
“The quality difference will bring more [customers] back,” he predicts.
The shop is also adding Quadient mail meters, package tracking software, and scanners to improve its mailing efficiency, and got approval to install new folding and inserting equipment so it can stop outsourcing those services. Jones is looking into a 60" wide-format printer/cutter as well.
“You can’t increase revenue if you don’t have the equipment to process the jobs in a timely manner,” he notes.
Graphic Design, Printing & Mailing Services is also awaiting permission to add a designer to its staff of 14.
Located in a 4,000-sq.-ft. space inside the county administration building, the in-plant serves a range of county offices: the Board of Elections, the sheriff’s department, Children’s Services, Veterans Affairs, and more, plus local townships and nonprofits. In addition to business cards, forms, and envelopes, it prints employee training materials, benefits packages, court documents, brochures, and even crime scene photos.
The new C9210 will greatly improve the quality of those items, Jones says, producing photo-quality images with 2,400x4,800-dpi resolution — a big step up from the “business color” of the Sharp printers. The C9210 can also utilize better, thicker stocks, he adds, and is a more “robust” machine.
“We’ll be able to handle the volume without having two machines,” Jones says. The shop currently prints about 190,000 impressions per month, color and monochrome, but Jones says volumes are on the rise as county employees return to their offices after two years of remote working. He has plans to reach out to local school districts, government agencies, and nonprofits for more work once the new equipment is in place.
The C9210 will include an in-line bookletmaker and GBC punch for coil binding. This will allow the county to stop outsourcing its coil binding.
The in-plant was put to the test last spring with a job that required staff to go above and beyond. The shop was tasked with printing about 365,000 voting precinct change notice postcards for the Board of Elections. The postcards had to be printed and in the mail seven days before the election, but approval didn’t come until the Friday before Easter.
“Three or four of us stayed all weekend and worked 12-16-hour days to get that all printed, sorted in mail trays with all the paperwork, and delivered to the post office by Monday,” says Jones. “It was really quite remarkable that people were willing to drop everything they had [planned] for the holiday weekend and do what needed to be done to satisfy our customers.”
He notes that, with approval coming two days before Easter, he couldn’t possibly have found a local printer willing to take on that job.
“It really proved the point for in-plants,” he says.
Jones and his team received a lot of praise from Montgomery County officials for their effort. The Board of Elections sent a letter of recommendation to county administration thanking the in-plant for its hard work.
“The dedication of the employees exceeded anything I’ve ever seen,” praises Jones. “We have a really dedicated team that gets the job done. Now we just need to give them the tools to do their job.”
Related story: Ohio In-plant Lauded for Extraordinary Effort
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 more than 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, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.