Trevecca Nazarene Brings Print Back In-house
Trevecca Nazarene University is a liberal arts school in Nashville, Tenn., with about 2,800 graduate and undergraduate students. It is best known for its teaching and music programs.
The university has a digital print shop that produces every-thing from tests, syllabi and books to invitations and programs for black-tie fundraising events and fullblown marketing campaigns to attract prospective students. Trevecca Print Services, the university’s in-plant printing facility, is run by Kelly Huebscher as well as a nighttime supervisor and a staff of students who get experience and pay down a portion of their loans through the university’s iwork program.
The in-plant was not always as successful as it is today. In 2013, the shop was filled with older digital copy machines, which were so outdated that the university was considering closing it. The administration asked Huebscher to perform a campus-wide enterprise print study and ultimately decided against closing the in-plant. Instead, the university used the study’s conclusions to transform it into a fully digital operation that also manages all printing on campus. Huebscher was placed in charge. Now 99% of the in-plant’s work comes through its website, and volumes continue to grow.
The in-plant operation’s first challenge was selecting the proper technologies for the migration from copy machines to digital printers. However, transforming an in-plant facility from an outdated shop to a vibrant, digital printing operation is considerably more challenging than acquiring digital presses and software. Huebscher also needed to get upper management support; change clients’ ordering methods and habits; alter the university’s perception of the in-plant; and determine how to promote and use the new capabilities. Finally, she needed to learn about printing, since Huebscher had never run an in-plant before.
Trevecca Print Services started by investing in a Xerox Color 1000i digital press driven by an EFI Fiery digital front end (DFE) and EFI Digital StoreFront Web-to-print and ecommerce software. This gave the shop state-of-the-art digital printing capabilities, online ordering and the ability to print in gold, silver and clear. It also provided the means to bring many high-quality color jobs back in-house to deliver considerable savings on this high-margin work.
Huebscher identified the university’s marketing department as a key user of these types of materials, and that department soon became her No. 1 client. In fact, marketing began to rely upon the print shop so much that the in-plant migrated from reporting to finance, to being under the mail house, to its new home reporting to marketing.
Though the in-plant’s days of being an expensive, low-quality operation were over, changing that perception was not easy. And getting students and staff to use the Digital StoreFront Web ordering portal required careful planning.
The in-plant rolled out its new website during the summer of 2016 while most students and faculty were away. Huebscher and her team trained key administrators in how to log in, order and even create brochures using the system over the course of three weeks.
They tailored these sessions to each department and engaged administrators as champions for their departments. The administrators made suggestions on how to improve the system and agreed to roll it out as the faculty returned.
Huebscher used the same strategy with the students. She first trained the campus residential directors and residential assistants and included roundtable discussions to brainstorm ideas about products students would like to see. These advisors then became the experts who rolled the system out to their fellow students as they returned to school.
Huebscher also leverages EFI’s online learning portal to quickly and efficiently train new student workers in her shop. The portal lets her put training packages together for free; these include hands-on modules and quizzes to ensure that student workers truly understand the material.
The storefront not only made it faster and easier for in-plant customers to order materials, but it also helped alter their perceptions. Now clients can see the variety of products and services Printing Services provides, and with real-time pricing updates, they’ve found that the prices are extremely competitive.
Learning to Manage
Huebscher’s biggest challenge, however, was learning how to run a printing operation and how to promote its new capabilities. She reached out to local printers to ask for advice.
Huebscher continues to use many of these shops to provide finishing and other work she can’t do in-house, and she was pleased with their willingness to help her out. She learned that different printers have various strengths and weaknesses and that they work together to handle all their customers’ work. In fact, the first gold and silver work came from outside the university to support a local commercial printer, since Trevecca Print Services is the only location in Nashville with that capability.
The bottom-line results for Trevecca Print Services have been remarkable.
“Our Web storefront has helped us grow our volume by at least 50%,” Huebscher says. “People used to think that using the print shop would be really expensive, but now they can come here and add whatever they want, and Digital Storefront gives them real pricing as they go.” The broader impact for the in-plant is also clear: It has altered the way the marketing department works.
“I work so much for marketing that I’m involved with the project all the way from conception to when we hand them the product,” Huebscher explains. “I’m in the meetings with the customers when they’re coming in saying, ‘Hey, I want to do this marketing campaign,’ talking about the design and offering suggestions about what kind of paper would look nice and how long it would take to get it printed after the design. It makes us look like a cohesive team.”
It also has had a significant financial impact on the university.
“We saved hundreds of thousands of dollars when we brought the print shop on campus with the new Xerox digital press, our new EFI Digital Storefront and our move under marketing,” Huebscher maintains. “It was a huge win for the university.”
Related story: Trevecca Nazarene University In-plant Pulls Off Major Turnaround
Greg Cholmondeley is president of Cholmonco Inc. Cholmonco is a technology marketing consulting company that researches, analyzes and documents best practices and innovative solutions. Cholmondeley is especially interested in how industry leaders efficiently get work through digital printing and marketing services operations. He has also written two fictional novels. The first is titled “Nakiwulo and the Circle of Shiva” and the second is called “Princess.” You can learn more about his consulting practice and read more of his blogs at www.cholmonco.com. You can discover his books at http://books.cholmonco.com.