Transforming In-Plants into Profit Centers
In-plant managers often talk about the challenge of outsourcing. Even with printing resources in-house, companies still outsource printing. In some cases the reason is due to the perception of the in-plant and lack of understanding among organizational departments about what services the in-plant actually offers.
Overcoming these challenges is key to any in-plant's success and can turn an in-plant from a cost center into a profit center. The key is to understand who your customers are and to know their individual needs. Here are a few tips from some of the most successful in-plants.
1. Know who your customers are.
The best in-plants make it their business to know their customers. Steve Dimond, manager of MIT CopyTech and past president of the Association of College and University Printers, has made a career of focusing on serving the needs of university professors and students. Steve's philosophy is that by partnering with his campus customers, he is serving the university, its faculty and students at the highest level possible. Dimond, a 30+ year print industry veteran, always says, "If you aren't understanding and delivering on your clients' true needs, you are not adding value, and your service becomes a simple commodity."
2. Partner with organizational departments.
Teri Oliver, print and design manager for Ohio Health, and her associates partner with each department within the organization. This helps the in-plant better meet departmental needs, showcase their capabilities and keep business in-house. "You have to make the process streamlined for the departments; the key is to keep knocking on that door, prove the value that you can provide along with the cost savings, over and over again," says Oliver.
3. Align with marketing.
Debbie Pavletich, former president of the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) and manager of Graphic Services at Briggs & Stratton, positioned a member of her in-plant within the company's marketing department to be involved with marketing campaigns as they develop. Initially the in-plant printed technical publications and production materials but expanded to produce marketing materials after demonstrating that cost savings would result from moving this work in-house. "Integrating within your organization is the key to your success," says Pavletich. "Do whatever it takes to satisfy your customers' needs, add value and be viewed as an essential partner to your organization."