Western New York In-plant Event A Success
More than 20 in-plant managers and staff from Buffalo to Albany attended the Western New York (WNY) In-plant event in February. Held in Rochester and hosted by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the day-long event offered in-plant managers and staff ample time to introduce themselves and their operations.
As managers and staff talked about their in-plants’ services, discussion and questions arose during the morning and over breaks and lunch. Attendees learned from each other about a variety of topics that ranged from chargebacks to budgeting and hourly rates, capacity planning, increasing employee morale, equipment and specific printing applications.
The event was the brainchild of two in-plant managers: Catherine Chambers, director of Print & Mail Services at Alfred State, and Catherine Ciardi, director of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Document Services division. Both wanted to hold a local event for in-plants who can’t travel while also providing low-cost training for their staffs. With the Rochester area’s rich resource of print and mail vendors, this event gave them the opportunity to draw on local expertise to share in-plant case studies with the audience.
“Helping coordinate and host this event has helped me learn, share and grow with fellow professionals, and it was especially rewarding for my staff to showcase what we have worked so hard to build,” Ciardi says.
The morning was capped off by a tour of Document Services, an impressive operation with more than 50 employees who produce more than 210 million A4 impressions a year and mail 22 million pieces annually.
After the tour, Chambers, who facilitated the morning session, asked the group their thoughts about meeting again, who would be willing to host a future event, and what topics the group would find interesting. Virtually everyone in the group was in favor of meeting again and was interested in staying in touch.
Two attendees were from RIT’s (Rochester Institute of Technology) HUB Print & Postal operation. Director Mary Ellen Gauntlett stated, “Our assistant director, Scott Boone, and I thought the event was terrific. We originally decided to attend in order to network with colleagues, as well as see the print and mail operations at Excellus BCBS. We have heard they are pretty special. We were not disappointed on either point. The networking was great, and the tour was fascinating. The shared information, various solutions to common issues and opportunity to hear from other professionals provided us with lots of thought points and ideas for our own operation. We are looking forward to future events.” In fact, RIT HUB has agreed to host the next WNY session in the fall.
In addition to the Alfred State and Excellus BCBS staff, other attendees included Paychex, DCMO BOCES, Hudson Valley Community College, Corning, Inc., University of Buffalo, Syracuse University and Ithaca College.
Excited to Meet Other Managers
“Being relatively new to the printing industry, I was excited to meet other people who face the same challenges as I do in their day-to-day business,” says Pamela Zaprzal, director of University at Buffalo Print Services. “Within the first hour of introductions, I learned so much from everyone’s stories, and I look forward to the knowledge I can obtain from them at future events.”
The afternoon portion of the event was comprised of in-plant case studies by the event sponsors, Rochester Software Associates, Xerox, Ricoh, Kodak and BCC Software.
Xerox presented a case study about Frisco ISD, which added printers and RSA’s WebCRD Web-to-print software (later adding QDirect output management) to accommodate growth and a fleet reduction. The combined solution has eliminated touch points and reduced job turnaround and manual work by 67 hours per week. The savings are delivered back to customers, providing value and a better customer experience.
Ricoh offered a case study about the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Ricoh showed how it helped the in-plant differentiate and reposition itself using technology to increase its relevancy. The in-plant added equipment, multi-channel campaign services, WebCRD Web-to-print and Print MIS software. In addition to providing big efficiency gains, the total solution enabled Wharton’s in-plant to win back its largest customer, bring additional work into the shop and demonstrate its leadership in workflow efficiency.
BCC Software presented a case study about a municipality that was mailing water and tax statements. The firm identified potential savings of up to $120,000 using BCC’s software. Presenters also offered attendees a formula to calculate their own savings using BCC Software’s projected rates.
Kodak discussed Meridian Health Care, a Michigan-based top government-based health plan provider. Meridian utilized Kodak NexPress and Digimaster equipment to bring work in-house that was being printed outside, essentially creating a new in-plant.
Chambers plans to survey event attendees to understand the wants and needs of the group and develop the next event.
"I am thrilled with the turnout," she says. "Because I am still relatively new to the area, I wanted to learn who the other local in-plants are and how we can help each other. Clearly the response we received indicates that there is an interest and a need for this type of event and the networking and education that it offers."
Elisha Kasinskas is Rochester Software Associates’ (RSA) award-winning marketing director. She is responsible for all marketing, public relations, social media and communications, and community building for the firm. Ms. Kasinskas joined RSA in 2010. She is a marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in sales, product management and marketing in leading product and service business-to-business and business-to-consumer firms, including Pinnacle (Birds Eye) Foods, Level 3, HSBC, and a number of regional high-tech firms. She holds an RIT MBA and a BS, Marketing from Radford University. Kasinskas is a frequent moderator for industry speaking sessions, an in-plant blogger, and has received industry awards including the IPMA Outstanding Contributor award. She was an OutputLinks Women of Distinction class of ’15 inductee. Her marketing work with IPMA has secured multiple awards from the American Marketing Association (AMA).