March 2008 Issue


‘Green is Good’ in Texas

Customers and staff of The University of Texas at Austin Printing Services gathered recently to hear a powerful and entertaining presentation on sustainable business practices given by Derek Smith, president of Derek Smith and Associates. Smith’s firm specializes in highlighting the business opportunities presented by the sustainable environmental market, stressing that “green is good for business.” Approximately 25 university print buyers attended the event, co-hosted with Clampitt Paper Co. Smith challenged them to consider the entire eco chain rather than just recycled paper content when producing their documents. UT staff suggested the idea of a sustainability event after hearing the topic discussed during

A Cuyahoga Comeback

JUSTIFYING NEW equipment on paper is one thing, but real-world verification is far more satisfying. For Jim Sebes that happened not long ago when a customer of the Cuyahoga County Central Services Printing and Reproduction (CSPR) Division asked for a quote on 50,000 single-color, one-sided documents, to be run on the in-plant’s two-color Sakurai press. A local copy shop also made a bid. The customer’s eyes nearly bulged at the result. “They couldn’t believe the price difference,” recalls Sebes, senior printing coordinator for the eight-employee in-plant. It was $1,400 cheaper to print the job on his in-plant’s offset press. This incident only underscored the

Adobe PDF vs. Microsoft XPS

CHANGE MAY be good or it may be bad, but it is nearly always disruptive. In a production workflow, that generally means that when procedures change, mistakes increase, resulting in heightened inspection vigilance. Ultimately, though, the goal is to complete the process better, faster or cheaper. Such a change is about to occur in digital printing and prepress as the adoption rates of Windows Vista and Office Suite 2007 swell, because Vista and Office 2007 create and print files differently than other systems. Microsoft’s new document standard is the XML Paper Specification (XPS), which, like Adobe’s PDF format,

Empowered: DDI Gives Employees Responsibility

IT MAY sound like a popular television crime drama, but CSI, the in-plant facility serving Development Dimensions International (DDI), is writing its own script by leveraging the latest printing technologies, empowering its dedicated staff, and keeping focused on providing the best possible customer service. The evidence is clear that this in-plant has taken a page from its Pennsylvania-based corporate parent, a global human resources consulting company specializing in the design and implementation of selection systems to help companies hire better employees faster. DDI prides itself on identifying and developing exceptional leaders who will create a high-performance workforce. CSI takes that goal to heart.

In-plant Partnership, New Color Printer for Missouri University

When some in-plants close down their offset operations, they permanently lose a big chunk of business. When Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla) sold off its presses a couple years ago, the in-plant not only kept its school’s offset work in the in-plant arena, it put the proceeds into an equipment fund to ensure its own future growth. Recently the 10-employee Printing and Mail Services department tapped that fund to purchase a new Xerox DocuColor 252—without even trading in its older Xerox 1632 or Xerox 3535. By purchasing instead of leasing, notes Manager Jesse Singleton, the shop got a better

In-plant Prepress Survey

IN-PLANT PREPRESS departments have changed a lot in the past decade—the equipment mix, the employee count, the responsibilities. To get a feel for what a modern prepress operation is like, we conducted our most extensive prepress survey to date. It generated 102 responses. To see the results as a PDF, click on the link to the right, under “Related Items.”

It’s in the Fine Print

LEASING IS one of many financing tools available to help in-plants fill their equipment needs. Leasing allows fixed rate financing and usually is accompanied with little or low up-front costs. Most surprises come at the end of the lease; however, some can slip in at lease commencement and show up with the first month’s invoice. By then the contracts are signed and it is too late to negotiate changes. Every lease contains complex, confusing documentation, obscure terminology and a language that can bewilder the most astute financial managers. Capital equipment manufacturers usually provide a standard lease quote with every RFQ response. Traditionally,

Moving into VDP

SINCE THE development and maturation of digital presses, the concept of variable data printing (VDP) has become a reality. With today’s digital presses and software options it is possible to customize virtually every element on a page for every sheet that comes off of a digital press. The level of sophistication that can be achieved with today’s hardware and software options is mind-boggling. The hot buzz term right now is “One-to-one Marketing.” Sending a personalized or customized message to an individual that has more relevance or meaning to them has proven to be a more effective way of marketing. Personalization can help break

Océ Fills the Bill at York Tech

Two years into a five-year lease, York Technical College Printing Services outgrew its Xerox DocuColor 12. Demand for color pages had skyrocketed to about 30,000 color prints per month. “Because of the slow, internal processor and only running at 12 copies per minute, the Doc12 ran all day and most nights after we left,” says Steve Mauney, Printing Services manager at the Rock Hill, S.C., college. So when the contract neared its end, the in-plant researched all brands and models of color printers in the 25-50 cpm range, using Xerox quality as a baseline. The department made a test CD and took its

Prime’s Sampson Joins xpedx

Any in-plant manager who has attended one of the popular xpedx in-plant workshops in the past 10 years has met Jerry Sampson. As vice president of development and e-procurement for Prime Digital Printing, in Dayton, Ohio, he and workshop founders Don Kendall and Gary Smith travelled the country, meeting managers and passing along advice on how to keep their in-plants healthy. Sampson has now moved onto a new role. He has joined xpedx as national business development manager for Business Imaging. He will be charged with deepening xpedx’s relationships with in-plant managers and working with them to support their operations. “We can help in-plant

Retail Store A Hit in Vermont

THE UNIVERSITY of Vermont Print & Mail Center has gone underground. More specifically, the 22-employee in-plant opened a retail center on the lower level of the new Dudley Davis Student Center last fall. Called Underground Copy, it has been slowly building business, with gross monthly revenues averaging more than $10,000. “The students like the convenience; they like the array of service offerings,” says Rick Carlson, director of the UVM Print & Mail Center, in Burlington, Vt. Those offerings include design workstations, self-service copiers, photo kiosks, wide-format printing, tape and coil binding, mailbox rental and, of course, mailing and shipping. “At least 50 percent of

Team Spirit Helps Regence Group Thrive

IT WAS a particularly painful memory from Kim Knox’s early career: a former boss remarked that as the youngest and least-paid, Knox would be the one taking extra overtime. The comment drew laughs from more tenured employees, but not from Knox. “I will never forget how it made me feel, like I was worth less and could be worked harder just because I was paid less,” comments Knox. “That made a big impact on me and how I treat those that work for me.” Today, Knox, supervisor of Print and Mail Services for The Regence Group, in Portland, Ore., has

Ten Ways to Improve Color Management

THE PRIMARY goal of color management is to reproduce consistent, predictable and repeatable color across a range of devices, such as scanners, digital cameras, monitors, printers, offset presses and corresponding media. The idea is simple in theory but much more complex in practice. In your quest for perfect color management, consider these 10 tips: 1) Prepare your files to commonly used standards. These include SWOP (Specifications Web Offset Publications), GRACOL (General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Offset Lithography), and PDF/X, a subset of PDF designed specifically for reliable prepress data interchange. 2) Establish and enforce standard operating procedures (SOPs). The IPA, the association of

The Insourcing Opportunity

INSOURCING PRINTING from outside organizations has become a common practice at in-plants. More than half do it, and that’s been the case for four or five years now, according to our surveys. Our latest research reveals that those who insource get an average of 13 percent of their work this way. A few of the more zealous insourcers say it makes up 75-80 percent of their business, while a handful of dabblers estimate that less than 1 percent of their work comes from insourcing. Most are in the 5-10 percent range. The half that doesn’t insource has its reasons. They’re worried customers will

Trivia Time

If you clicked on this link, you must have read the trivia question in our March issue. But if not, or if you just want a reminder, here was the question: Which of these associations once held its annual conference in Fairbanks, Alaska? n In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) • International Association of Printing House Craftsmen (IAPHC) • Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) • National Government Publishing Association (NGPA) • Xplor International

Trouble in Prepress

Our latest in-plant prepress survey pulled in some very useful information. What’s more, I was impressed that 60 percent of those who responded chose to provide a comment when asked for their “top prepress problem.” There was a striking similarity in the responses. The top problem cited—the root of just about every prepress problem noted, in fact—was summed up in just one word: Customers. I laughed at first, but then the word kept coming up again and again as the “top prepress problem.” For those unaware of the customer’s role as a prepress impediment, here’s the gist of the complaints I

Two Months Till Drupa

THIS WILL be the ink-jet Drupa. No, it will be the green Drupa. Or, maybe the print buyer Drupa. Actually, it will be big enough to be all three, and much more. In case you’re new to the business, Drupa is the largest trade show in the graphic arts industry. Held every four years in Düsseldorf, Germany, it will boast more than 1,800 exhibitors and cover more than 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space in nearly 20 halls when it kicks off on May 29. Putting a label on Drupa is one way to make it more digestible. Another is for

Understanding Postal: Get Smart

If you mail at automation-discounted postal rates, your catalog will have to meet a host of new requirements next January, including the USPS’s Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB). The USPS last month issued its proposed rules on the requirements that go along with automation rates starting in January 2009. It goes beyond the IMB, although that in and of itself is a significant change. The Postal Service’s proposed rules would no longer allow the POSTNET barcode, which has been in use for nearly two decades, to qualify for automation discounts beginning in January 2009. It’s not clear what will happen to pieces

Winter Blues in Alaska

If you think your winter weather is bad, just talk to Warren Fraser, manager of Printing Services at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In a land where tossed water freezes before it hits the ground, daytime temperatures in the -40s can impact the operation of an in-plant in ways far more serious than the chilled ears you’re complaining about. “When we have the extreme weather that we are now experiencing,” he e-mailed, on a recent balmy day of -41, “these are some of the additional challenges that we have to face.” • Personnel may not make it to work because their vehicle