State Printers Gather Online to Discuss Challenges
State government in-plants have not slowed down a bit during the COVID-19 crisis, and some have stepped into new areas of responsibility to help their states battle the virus. This came to light in a recent video conference call I moderated that brought together eight state printers for an enlightening 40-minute chat.
Participating in the call were state printers from California, Colorado, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington. All noted a large increase in their transactional printing and mailing, especially for unemployment benefits. The printing of absentee voting applications in Michigan has gone way up as well. Pennsylvania’s presort operation is now running seven days a week to get materials to citizens. Tennessee is offering curbside mail pickup for customers.
Though all eight operations have been deemed “essential” or “business critical,” all are limiting the number of operators on location at the same time. Gloves and masks are available and temperature checks are being done to ensure no sick employees come on site; so far none have reported any staff contracting COVID-19. Thankfully, only one state has lost workers to layoffs.
Some of the directors have been working from home, but most have been in the office every day, often working overtime and weekends. The Colorado and Washington state printers said they have had one day off in the past 45 days, and Oregon’s state printer is working shifts of 10 days on, one day off.
Half of the state operations have been asked to handle the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) for their states. Washington’s operation has distributed 11 million pieces of PPE. Oregon’s Publishing & Distribution operation took over a vacant warehouse to stage PPE items and has shipped hundreds of pallets of material so far.
The conference call, done via the Zoom platform, was very interactive and gave these state printers an opportunity to compare their procedures and realize that they are not alone in the challenges they’re facing. IPI, coordinated the call with Mike Loyd, executive director of the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. We plan to continue bringing in-plant managers together in this way during the COVID-19 crisis.
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.