The "In" Crowd
Insourcing can save your in-plant. Find out how from managers who have done it.
In the early '90s Liz Messner noticed an alarming trend: In-plants everywhere were being shut down. Her own in-plant at the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania Service Co. (HAPSCO) could well have been the next victim.
Fortunately, though, HAPSCO had decided a few years before to let her Harrisburg, Pa., in-plant start insourcing printing from outside organizations. That decision, says Messner, has kept the in-plant in business.
"Had we not gone outside and brought work in...we would not be here today," declares Messner, senior director of HAPSCO Printing and Graphics Services. Internal business volume has gone down, but thanks to insourcing, she says, "we are thriving today."
As in-plants struggle to prove their worth to their parent organizations, insourcing has become a great way for them to eliminate down time on equipment and bring in revenue to recoup costs. Additionally, working with external customers will improve in-plants' customer service and business skills.
IPG data shows that 40 percent of all in-plants take in work from customers outside their parent organizations. Still, not every in-plant thinks this is wise.
"I'm not a real advocate of an in-plant going commercial," says Robert Hulett, manager of central printing services at Beckman Coulter, in Fullerton, Calif. Commercial printers, he says, have a different overhead structure that can create an unfair advantage for in-plants.
"If I was a commercial shop and the in-plant down the street did [too high] a percentage of commercial work, I don't know if I would be too happy," he says.
Messner, though, feels she is competing on the same playing field as the commercial printers, with the same overhead costs, such as management fees, heat, electricity, rent and employee benefits.
Hulett admits he would love to insource from outside companies and increase revenue. But it's not a part of his firm's corporate philosophy.