As Abbas Badani sees it, print and mail services alone aren’t enough for an in-plant any more. Attracting new customers means catching their attention with unique, value-added services.
Several years ago, I had an opportunity to visit my friend John in Thailand. While there, John thought I might enjoy a unique shopping experience. He took me to something called a "floating market" where we bought fresh tropical produce, flowers and hand-crafted goods. We did all of our shopping from a rented, wooden boat. Every transaction took place vessel-to-vessel as we and the local merchants floated alongside each other in a slow moving river. It was an enjoyable day—until it was time to leave.
One of the biggest challenges in-plant departments face is remaining relevant within the parent organization. Regardless of the industry vertical, in-plant managers are constantly looking for ways to demonstrate their value and contribute to the overall success of the organization.
Here's something you probably didn't know: there is an in-plant in the Empire State Building. It's not in the basement either; it's way up on the 34th floor, where the view of lower Manhattan is spectacular.
It’s been a busy autumn for in-plants around the country. For the second year in a row, the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association has held fall regional meetings, bringing dozens of managers together for a day of networking and education. Recent meetings have taken place in Denver, Muncie, Ind., El Reno, Okla., Sacramento and Nashville, in addition to the gatherings in Harrisburg, Pa., and Baton Rouge, La., already documented in IPG.
About two years ago a student, who was majoring in education and working on her senior project, came to Misericordia University Print and Mail Services looking for help. Her assignment was to write a children's book. She had completed the writing and wanted to get it printed. I told her we could provide the layout, and she asked me if I could supply illustrations. It was at this point that our communication broke down.
As we head into 2015, the road that printers are driving down looks wide and bright. Offset technologies and digital print solutions have found a balanced co-existence, and print communication has solidified its place in the overall marketing and media landscape.
People are naturally social creatures—we crave friendship and positive interactions, just as we do food and water. The better relationships we have in life—including in the workplace—the happier and more successful we will be. President Teddy Roosevelt was on the mark when he said, "The most important ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people."
Managed Print Services (MPS) is becoming mainstream. Ever since a large IT research organization published a "study" a few years ago in which it estimated that organizations spend 1 percent to 3 percent of total revenue on printing, an entire sub-industry has evolved to tap into this market. The researcher called it a "gold mine" but failed to address the fundamental issue: Is 1 percent to 3 percent too high, too low or just right?
At my first job, I was a programmer for an insurance company. While there, my first boss told anybody who would listen that the Internet was "just a fad." As you may be aware, his assessment was slightly off-base.
Though most of the high-quality newsletters, annual reports and recruitment material for Burlington County College is printed on its in-plant’s four-color Ryobi 524GE, the six-employee operation still produces a good deal of short-run work on its digital printers. Those devices recently got an upgrade, which has improved the quality and consistency of the Pemberton, N.J., shop’s digitally printed pieces.
A pretty catchy headline, don't you think? I chose it for many reasons—some you might not have considered. First, I firmly believe that printing, particularly in-plant printing, is viable and capable of amazing things. Second, if we are not open-minded with our planning, we will surely head down a road to closure.
In-plant operations that are surviving and thriving in today's market are expanding their offerings beyond print and adding services that enhance value to the overall communications process.
In its largest gathering in years, the Southeastern University Printing and Digital Managers Conference (SUPDMC) drew 36 managers this year from 31 different in-plants. They met in Orange Beach, Ala., for three days of educational sessions, vendor exhibits and peer networking time. The event also included a tour of the printing and mailing facilities at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, overseen by Director Nelson Singelton.