Understanding The FM "Monster"
Our Great Debate series tackles the facilities management issue by pitting a respected in-plant manager against a leading FM.
No topic gets in-plant managers more agitated than facilities management. We all know of shops that were closed by FMs. Stories of their "shady" tactics spread like gossip. But how many of these stories are true?
In-Plant Graphics decided to dive right into the heart of the issue and talk directly to one of the larger FMs to find out what really is going on. But to address both sides of the issue, we wanted to have an in-plant manager on hand to comment on the FM's claims.
So, for the second edition of our Great Debate series, IPG tracked down Chuck LeClercq, vice president of Lanier Professional Services, the outsourcing subsidiary of Lanier Worldwide, and Ray Chambers, CIO at Juniata College and former assistant vice president of Information Technology at the University of Louisville. The resulting conversation revealed some interesting new perspectives on the issue. Surprisingly, there was more agreement that contention in the discussion.
The following discussion contains more information than we published in the printed version.
by Bob Neubauer
IPG: Ray, why is the University of Louisville better off having it's own in-plant rather than letting an outside company manage its printing?
Ray Chambers: Well, I can start with the reason why people started in-plants in the first place. It's cheaper, often we have a need for control, and in the university's case we've got some confidentiality issues in terms of the students' records, patient records and all those sorts of things.
But, we've got some other things going on, especially in higher education. We've moved past the notion that a document is a mark on a piece of paper. We look at documents as capsules of knowledge, if you will. Universities are in the knowledge business so we offer to our faculty, and to our staff to some extent, the ability to package knowledge in whatever the appropriate package is for the intended use. It might be overheads, it might be printing pieces, it might be CDs or Web sites. So we don't have any vested concern that the output has to be on a piece of paper. We offer flexibility and innovation that you might not find with an external provider.