A FULL 75 percent of the United States work force is not fully engaged on the job(1). Many work teams struggle and perform at a mediocre level—or worse. In contrast, some teams stand above the norm. These high-performing teams (HPTs) are known for their positive morale, high motivation, productivity and commitment to excellence. How are HPTs developed and maintained?
If you couldn’t already tell from the numerous news stories IPG publishes each month, digital color printing is a hot topic for in-plants. One more sign of this came at Graph Expo last month when more than 60 in-plant managers packed into a special digital printing seminar, co-hosted by IPG and the IPMA. The 90-minute session featured six different speakers—three vendors and three in-plant managers—who provided a ton of useful information about selecting, cost justifying and marketing digital color printing equipment.
THERE HAVE been significant developments that make ink-jet a more viable process and now thrust it into the mainstream of the printing industry. The ink-jet market is growing in every direction, from flatbed and wide-format, to label, to transpromo, to commercial web and sheet. Print head manufacturers are accelerating their developments, and new inks are being introduced almost daily. Today’s ink-jet technologies are undergoing a number of significant quality and performance evolutions. These changes will combine with advances in new jettable fluids and inks, with improved materials handling and substrates—all of which are leading to a new generation of cost-effective printing solutions. But many of these solutions are due in the 2009–2011 time frame.
NEARLY TWO decades ago a major production trend called “print on demand” emerged. Its effects not only changed the way documents were produced, but also how they were stored, packaged and shipped—and, more importantly, how quickly they needed to be fulfilled. Then the “Internet revolution” took hold and once again traditional in-plant applications were impacted. Forms moved to laptop computers while rate guides and directories became Web sites.
Two-color printing used to be fashionable, remarks Bob Tippins, manager of Graphic Services at Carleton University."But now everyone wants four-color,” he says. For an in-plant with a two-color press, however, this presented a small problem. The 23-employee, Ottawa, Ontario-based in-plant did some four-color work on its 25-year-old two-color Heidelbeg MOZP, but it was, Tippins admits, “very inefficient.
To support its university’s core mission of education, University of Mississippi Printing and Graphic Services has created a scholarship with a gift of $25,000. The funds were both given by department employees and will be generated from revenue made by the department. As an auxiliary unit of the university, theOxford, Miss.-based in-plant generates its own revenue for wages, benefits, retirement, health insurance and utilities by charging back for its services.
When Rochester Institute of Technology’s HUB Print & Postal Services was recognized at the recent 2008 Printing Innovation with Xerox Imaging (PIXI) Awards ceremony in Chicago, it was one of only a few in-plants to ever receive one of these prestigious awards. The 21-employee shop won a third-place award in the Books and Manuals category for printing the ImagineRIT Reporter magazine using a Xerox iGen3 110 Digital Production Press. “We were ecstatic,” says Director John C. Meyer. “We realize how wide a range of entries there are from, really, across the world. It was astounding to go to this ceremony and find out people were there from Japan and Bahrain and Australia.”
San Diego State University ReproGraphic Services has received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification for the paper products used in its operation. To earn this certification, ReproGraphics underwent a rigorous process that encompassed a site audit of its policies and procedures, records, paper usage and product labeling.
The people who buy variable data printing (VDP) are not buying printing. If you try to sell them printing, you will fail. You’ll fail because you have not articulated the productivity and capability of VDP in meeting business objectives in the 21st Century marketplace. The choice to buy variable data printing is a business decision made by individuals whose jobs entail making critical decisions for their companies. This precludes print buyers, production coordinators, traffic managers, etc. Instead, it includes directors and VPs of marketing, brand and division managers, senior VPs, and even CEOs, CFOs and presidents. If you do not speak the language of business, you will fail.
2008 Ranking of the Largest North American In-plants
AS INCREASINGLY more printers develop online services and create print portals for their clients, it is becoming a business imperative for your in-plant to provide Web-to-print services. While vendors will be happy to sell you their software and services—as well as a full-service maintenance agreement—you may still have concerns (and rightfully so) about how easy E-procurement is to implement, and the skills and resources required.