In-plant Graphics January 2012
AS WE start into 2012, it seems as if the printing industry, the country as a whole and even the global economy have been cast in a sequel to the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. The first draft of the script for the year ahead reads much like it did for the past two years.
At the Mail and Copy Solutions shop at St. Louis, Mo.-based Webster University, six to 10 work study students are recruited each semester to fill important roles ranging from graphic design to marketing to copywriting.
With 68 percent of in-plants still providing offset printing (according to a new IPG survey), and shops like University of Alabama, University of Oklahoma, Vanderbilt University, and many others still keeping their presses very busy, it appears that long-run offset printing is a long way from fading away.
At the INTERQUEST Digital Printing in Government and Higher Education Forum speakers from government and university in-plants discussed best practices at their operations. In between, principals from INTERQUEST—the market and technology research and consulting firm that organized the event—presented trends and research results.
Several new wide-format printers are featured from Canon, EFI, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Océ and Screen (USA).
After putting up with an inefficient, Excel-based job management system for years, Ashland University Printing & Imaging Solutions acquired EDU Business Solutions' Print Shop Pro Manager software. Since then, life has been so much simpler for the in-plant's six full-time and four part-time and student workers. Customers can now pull up previous jobs and review the details, sparing staff from fielding their calls.
Over the past couple of years, there has been a noticeable increase in envelope printing at in-plants. The trend has been enabled by the availability of small digital envelope presses from companies like Xanté, PSI Engineering, Intoprint Technologies and OKI Data Americas. All of the devices use the same OKI print engine but offer different feeding options. These devices hit the market just as many in-plants' old offset duplicators were breaking down and their operators started retiring.
When University of Alabama President Dr. Witt took the Crimson Tide's reins in 2003, enrollment stood at 19,000. His aggressive growth initiative has resulted in a nearly 100 percent enrollment increase to 35,000 this past fall. In an age of multi-channel marketing, it was the humble yet time-tested success of printed recruiting materials that played a significant role in the population surge at Tuscaloosa, Ala.'s legendary 180-year-old institution.
More than 40 year after moving to Alaska, Warren Fraser—manager of Printing Services for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks—has no regrets about having left New England. Fraser became manager of the University's Printing Services in 1990, and immediately set out to establish a benchmark for quality.