In-plant Graphics April 2012
Student workers are a common sight at higher-ed in-plants, but it's rare to find one where 79 percent of the employees are students. That's the scenario at the Arizona State University Print & Imaging Lab.
IPG recently visited Canon's impressive 18,000-square-foot Customer Experience Center, in Boca Raton, Fla. for a tour of the facility and a peek at Canon's new monochrome mid-production digital press, the Océ VarioPrint DP 135.
Before adding a digital color press in 2010, Donna Cooper Horbelt says her in-plant at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) was not nearly as busy as she wanted it to be. "I was losing color copy business to everybody in town," recalls the director of Auxiliary Enterprises, Printing and Media Services. "Our quality just wasn't good enough."
I just got back from a rather unique business trip. I went to Israel to cover HP's pre-drupa event and get a sneak preview of some of its cutting-edge technology. Not a bad deal, all things considered. It was a fantastic opportunity to see a part of the world I likely would never have gotten to visit.
Last month, Hewlett-Packard brought more than 100 graphic arts journalists from all over the world to Israel, home of its Indigo and Scitex divisions. Against this fascinating backdrop of history and diversity, HP unveiled 10 new digital systems, hoping to make some history of its own.
When she headed off to college in the early '80s, Lisa Hoover knew exactly where her studies would take her. "I wanted to be a TV news anchor," says Hoover, director of Bucknell University's Office of Publications, Print and Mail. "That's what I thought I was going to do. But I got sidetracked." That sidetrack has led to a rewarding graphic arts career and brought her to the director's chair at the nation's largest private liberal arts university, located in Lewisburg, Pa.
The competitive threats to in-plants are not diminishing. The reason: print volumes are not returning to pre-recession volumes, so fewer in-plants are achieving their goals (i.e., financial break-even), leaving the door open to an outsourcing or facilities management company.
At University of Washington Creative Communications, the in-plant's implementation of Lean production practices have been critical to its rapid financial turnaround from a $200,000 deficit to a $300,000 profit—a half-a-million-dollar swing from one fiscal year to the next.
Next month, drupa 2012 will take over Düsseldorf, Germany. IPG asks industry observers David Zwang, Jim Hamilton, Noel Ward and Bill Lamparter what they expect to see there.