Making the Big Plays
As director of Printing, Mailing and Document Services for the University of Oklahoma—renowned for its storied Sooners football team, this year's Big 12 preseason favorite—John Sarantakos is used to thinking big and going long.
"I'm always looking to buy new things, and I'm not afraid to take chances," he declares. "Being a larger operation makes it easier to provide new services. Smaller equipment investments can be made when the ROI may not be as favorable as you might like."
With annual sales in excess of $16 million and 78 employees, OU Printing, Mailing and Document Services is the largest university in-plant in the country according to annual sales. The operation comprises:
- A 60,000-square-foot off-campus facility in Norman, Okla., housing prepress, offset printing, bindery, mailing and warehousing.
- The Collums center (on campus), which includes the campus mailing operation, document production, novelty sales and light digital production services.
- Two satellite copy facilities in the Oklahoma Memorial Union center on campus and in the Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.
Impressive Offset Operation
Sarantakos acknowledges that the in-plant's size has increased its ability to take risks with purchasing. Six years ago, the operation made a significant investment considered unorthodox for an in-plant: it purchased an eight-color sheetfed press—a 28x40˝ Heidelberg perfector. How has that purchase panned out?
"It's been even better than expected and a reason our overall sales have increased [by $3 million since 2008]," Sarantakos says. "Since its installation, the press has been running three shifts per day. The savings related to the increased efficiencies in conjunction with the one-pass-and-done process have allowed us to increase quality and reduce prices."
That quality boost brought the in-plant a prestigious Best of Show award in the In-Print 2010 contest, and the shop consistently earns multiple Gold awards in that contest each year.
Related story: University of Oklahoma Wins Organizational Impact Award