Quality, Customer Service Help Oregon Shop Flourish
WHEN MARK Dixon inherited the lead role at the University of Oregon's Printing and Mailing Services in December from long-time Director J.R. Gaddis, he started by taking a back-to-basics approach and stamping it with his own progressive twist.
Dixon, interim director at the 25,000-square-foot shop in Eugene, Ore., first absorbed his old position overseeing the well-respected offset printing operation as a cost-cutting measure. Next, he rededicated resources to focus on customer service, an especially important move in a state that recently experienced some serious economic problems.
"Since the economy went down, we've had a 15 percent revenue drop," confides Dixon, who has been a University of Oregon employee since 1992. "Oregon's economy was really hit hard, and a lot of printers closed down here in Oregon. It became a dog-eat-dog world."
Customer service has always been a priority for the in-plant, Dixon points out, but during busy periods it is easily put on the back burner. Now that he has reassessed the in-plant's customer service initiative, employees are having more face-to-face meetings with customers, providing the students and staff with information about the shop's offerings, and becoming more ingrained with the campus community.
"J.R. always stressed getting out to see people, but we never seemed to have the time to do it," Dixon admits. "Well, when you have down revenue, you find the time. And we are seeing results from it."
Hooking New Employees Early
At a large school like the University of Oregon, new faculty and employees are constantly coming on board. Dixon saw this as an opportunity to grab the newcomers' attention and educate them on the variety of services the in-plant provides. At an orientation this year, the in-plant addressed new faculty members with a presentation on copyright clearance procedures.
Also, Dixon notes, because of new state administrative rules for higher education, the university requires employees with authorization to make purchases to take classes that cover the new rules, along with annual refresher courses. There, they are reminded of the policy that all printing must go through Printing and Mailing Services.