As you seek new services for your in-plant to offer, don’t forget to look outside the walls of your print shop. At The University of Texas at Austin, Document Solutions Director Richard Beto knew that his staff delivered print and mail to every building on campus on a daily basis. He was looking for ways to capitalize on this by having his staff pick up and deliver other supplies as well.
Beto was not shy about sharing his ambitions, and one day the assistant VP of Procurement and Payment Services asked him if Document Solutions might be able to take on Central Receiving services for the entire university. This would encompass most incoming deliveries, such as office supplies, hospital supplies and some packages from FedEx and UPS. All of this was then being handled by an outside vendor.
“I said, ‘I think we can do that,’” remarks Beto.
Beto and his mail managers Jim Guza and Herman Vallejo wrote up a proposal, the university gave them the green light and on Jan. 1, Document Solutions formally launched Campus Distribution Services.
Things got off to a rocky start.
With three new drivers hired and three trucks on order, Beto and his staff excitedly awaited the first day’s deliveries from an office supply company — only there was a snag.
“None of it belongs to UT,” Beto recounts.
On day two, the same thing happened.
“So we load day one back on the truck and tell them to take it all back because none of it’s ours,” he says.
By day three, the correct deliveries arrived, but Campus Distribution Services already had a backlog. Since then, staff has worked feverishly to shrink that backlog. Each day, delivery trucks arrive at 6 a.m., and by 8 a.m. the in-plant’s trucks are on the road. Altogether, Document Solutions has 14 drivers, who combine print and mail deliveries with other supplies, ranging from staplers and computers to desks and coat racks.
The launch of Campus Distribution Services provides a number of advantages to the university. First and foremost, it reduces the number of non-university vehicles on campus. It also saves money, since the university no longer has to pay the outside delivery service. Plus, the office supply company pays Document Solutions for each package it delivers, new revenue that is helping to offset other expenses.
Also, now that Document Solutions oversees distribution services, campus customers will soon be able to track their packages using the in-plant’s campus tracking system, which runs as part of its SC Logic MIS system.
The biggest advantage of this new service for the in-plant, however, is the attention it is bringing to Document Solutions.
“I’m delivering now to departments all over campus, but they may not have ever been customers before,” Beto points out. “Document Solutions is now touching every department on campus.”
Drivers wear jackets with the Document Solutions logo, and Beto insists they remain polite at all times, as they are the face of the in-plant to customers. If there are problems, he has them give his business card to the customer and invite them to call. Beto expects to see new print business from all the additional exposure this is bringing.
“Weave your way into the fabric,” he urges other in-plants. “If you’re in every building, every day, like our mail guys are, there are opportunities out there. You just have to look for them.”
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 more than 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, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.