Steve Priesman, manager of Printing & Publications for the Omaha Public Schools, is a proponent of finding new and innovative ways to use variable data printing to get individualized information into the hands of students and their parents. One big annual job involves sending out personalized mailers with crucial student transportation information.
“This is a letter that goes out to the parents of every student that receives transportation,” Priesman notes. “We have about 54,000 students in the district. When we did this job last August, there were between 18,000 and 19,000 letters that were sent out.”
The variable data job is created using XMPie software, and includes the student’s name and address, bus pickup locations and pickup times, which may vary by the day. In certain situations it could include several bus stops, such as for special education students or students attending specialized academic or athletic programs.
Next year, Priesman plans on taking the project a step farther by also sending out an electronic version to parents that have provided an email address. But the job will still be printed and mailed to 100 percent of the parents.
“This is too critical of information for parents to not receive,” Priesman stresses. “What if we have the wrong email address? Or what if a parent doesn’t have an email address? We are an urban school district and we see a lot of mobility, and people change phone numbers all the time now with landlines and cell phones. We have no confidence that we have 100 percent accuracy of email addresses.”
There is also the chance that, even if the in-plant has the correct email address, the content will not be read or will get accidentally deleted. The printed version that all parents will receive in the mail will also include instructions on how to either retrieve or sign up for the electronic version.
Priesman jumped at the opportunity to speak about this variable data project during panel discussions at Graph Expo 2015 and EFI Connect 2016. He found the experience to be a good way to learn about variable data issues other in-plant managers are facing and how they have worked through common problems.