Besides declining print volumes, shrinking budgets and the many other demands facing today's in-plants, University of Minnesota Printing Services faces a special challenge: the in-plant operates in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, the largest metropolitan area in a state where printing is manufacturing's second-largest sector.
Tina Gray has managed the Oklahoma Department of Human Services' in-plant for 10 years, and she couldn't be happier. With a solid staff and an unforeseen passion for printing, Gray says the joys of the job outweigh the challenges by a long shot.
Bindery equipment is often a secondary thought for printers. Sometimes they put up with inferior equipment for years, even though it's clearly slowing down their productivity.
The potential for digital packaging is great, and while there are many obstacles, these can all be overcome. Commercial printers would also like to get into packaging, but commercial shops have some additional challenges. Commercial printers generally do not have the finishing equipment: folding, scoring, diecutting. Perhaps more significant, brand owners generally look to box makers for boxes, not commercial printers.
Sometimes you have to search high and low to find what you want. For Doug Bekkering, press and quantity team leader at RBC Ministries, and Doug Eizenga, maintenance engineer at the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Christian publisher, their search for a press led them to Madrid, Spain.
Spring is in full bloom, but astute in-plant managers may have noticed one thing missing from the graphic arts garden this year. For the first time since it took root nearly two decades ago, the On Demand show is nowhere to be seen.
A collection of graphic arts products geared toward the in-plant market, including digital printers, workflow software, finishing equipment and substrates.
Can we directly motivate another person? Not really. But we can intentionally foster a climate that helps people motivate themselves. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said it well: "Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it."
More than 480 entries were submitted to In-Print 2013, the only national printing contest exclusively for in-plants. After a full day of judging, 80 winning pieces were selected, from 34 different in-plants.
At the inaugural Inkjet Summit in April, Charlie Pesko, founder of InfoTrends, stressed that production inkjet technology was poised to transfigure the printing business. "I sincerely believe that inkjet is the next big game changer in the printing industry," he said.
Mark McCarty knows something about moving an in-plant. When his shop at Missouri State University relocated in March to a new facility on campus, the experience was all too familiar for the manager of Printing Services.
After sprouting in 1994 and quickly blossoming into the industry's main spring event, On Demand has faded quietly from sight. Questex, owner and producer of the event, had planned a more modest two-day conference this year, focusing on the life cycle of content, but it never came to fruition.
For many years, running the bulk mail processing equipment at University of Oregon Printing & Mailing Services was a lonely job. Since 1993, the in-plant’s inserting, tabbing and addressing equipment has been in the basement of its building in Eugene, Ore., down a steep set of metal stairs, out of earshot of the rest of the shop.
In April, Xerox hosted an event in Washington, D.C., that drew more than 80 in-plants from around the region. Titled “Freedom to Perform: Innovative Ideas to Make Your In-plant Thrive,” the one-day event focused on sharing best practices.