September 2008 Issue


A Capital Job in Harrisburg

As director of the Bureau of Publications for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of General Services, Audrey Marrocco is both a devoted public servant and a dynamic publishing master. In her 22-year tenure with the Keystone State, Marrocco developed one of the government’s first Intranet sites, as well as its first Web-to-print application. She is currently seeking to centralize the majority of its printing and publishing services within a newly upgraded in-plant. Marrocco grew up near Harrisburg, the state capital. After high school, with no opportunity to attend college, she began her career in 1986 as an entry-level clerk typist for the Commonwealth. She

Big Opportunity in Wide-format Printing

In-plants that offer wide-format printing have found it to be an excellent value-added service—and more than half of them now offer this service, according to our latest survey. Once customers get a taste, they keep coming back for more. Many in-plants add ink-jet printers for proofing, only to discover a pent-up demand for posters, banners and the like.

Controversial Story: iGen3 Caps Big Upgrade

So much work had been flooding into one school district in-plant that the manager knew something had to be done. Test booklets, recruitment brochures, covers for student handbooks and many other items were testing the limits of the eight-employee in-plant’s equipment. To handle the work, the shop recently added a long list of new equipment—including a Xerox iGen3—and built a 3,000-square-foot addition to house it all. New on the shop floor are: • A Xerox iGen3 90 digital color press • A second Kodak Digimaster 9110 with an inline bookletmaker • A C.P. Bourg bookletmaker for the shop’s other 9110 • Two Konica Minolta

CTP Makes San Diego Shop Greener

The green movement isn’t just good for the environment; it can help your in-plant justify the equipment it needs. At the San Diego County Office of Education, the 18-employee in-plant had been getting by for quite some time with its aging imagesetter, vacuum frame and plate processor. But the chemicals involved in making plates were proving to be a nuisance, especially in an eco-minded state like California. So to wipe out the need for those chemicals and dodge the necessity of replacing that old equipment, the in-plant installed a Presstek TX-52 computer-to-plate system running chemistry-free Freedom plates. Not only has the shop saved

Government In-plants Excel

Though our new survey of government in-plants offers a good picture of this market segment, the data is even more illuminating when viewed next to the results of an industry-wide survey conducted by IPG earlier this year. For the most part, government in-plants match the trends we see among all in-plants, but there are several areas where government printers excel. More of them are providing digital printing (97%) than in the in-plant industry at large (90.6%), and more government printers handle data center/IT printing (33% vs. 18.7%). Also, more of them have computer-to-plate (CTP) systems (74% vs. 53.2%) and color printers

In-plants Are In at Graph Expo

Everybody’s courting in-plants these days. Recognizing that in-plants are expanding, several vendors have started gearing their marketing efforts directly towards in-house printers. Likewise, the Graphic Arts Show Co., organizer of Graph Expo, is focusing strongly on the in-plant market this year. “Now, more than ever, corporations are looking to their in-plant printer to provide more than just a print job—they need a marketing partner who can offer value-added communications pieces,” declares Ralph Nappi, GASC president. To show its support of in-plants, GASC is hosting a morning session specifically for in-plants, titled “The Future of Digital Through the Eyes of an In-plant Printer.”

In-Print Fees Updated

Now that all the In-Print 2008 awards have been presented, it’s time to start collecting samples of your best work for next year’s In-Print contest. One change in-plants will notice on the 2009 entry form is a slight increase in entry fees for IPMA members—and a larger increase for non-members. Since its inception, In-Print has generously allowed in-plants to enter several pieces at no charge, unlike most other print competitions. As a result, many in-plants submit only those free entries. This is fine, however a large number of those who do this are not members of the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association, the

JDF in the Bindery: Are We There Yet?

By now, JDF (Job Definition Format) has sunk its proverbial teeth into the prepress and press departments of the printing process, and no one can argue the benefits of adopting this technology in these areas of print production. However, for a true end-to-end JDF workflow, the technical innovation can’t stop at the press—it must continue into the bindery. So where are we in the pursuit of JDF-enabled bindery equipment? To find out, I asked several leading bindery equipment manufacturers/distributors, and got some interesting information from those who responded. When asked whether customers are requesting JDF-enabled bindery equipment, the overwhelming response was “yes, but

Offset vs. Digital: Offset Prevails at Millersville

THE QUESTION of whether or not to replace an aging offset press with a digital printer has nagged many in-plant managers. So when Millersville University hired a consultant last fall to analyze the five-employee Printing & Duplicating operation, it was no surprise when he recommended the shop decommission its sheetfed presses and go digital. What is a surprise is that, half a year later, this southeastern Pennsylvania in-plant just finished installing, not a NexPress, but a five-color, 19x26˝ Adast 755CP offset press. The decision to stick with offset—what’s more to upgrade from a two-color to a five-color press—was a complicated one, explains Barbara Buchanan,

Ohio State Printer Moves Downtown

THE STATE of Ohio’s Printing and Mail Services operation had a lot going for it. Its facility on the west side of Columbus boasted a convenient loading dock, more than enough floor space and plenty of free parking. One thing it didn’t have, though, was easy access to customers, most of which were in downtown Columbus, a good 15 minutes away. “If you’re in the quick copy business, you really need to be around your customers,” acknowledges Joe Tucker, state printing administrator. “And being out here, logistically, wasn’t a good thing for us because everything we print, we ship downtown.” So when

Ricoh to Purchase Ikon

In late June, Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA completed its acquisition of Danka Office Imaging, strengthening its distribution capabilities. Now Ricoh is about take the same approach. The company just announced plans to acquire Ikon Office Solutions, the only remaining large, independent U.S. distributor of printers, copiers and MFPs. The $1.617 billion deal, ambitiously targeted to close during the fourth quarter of 2008, has been approved by both boards of directors, though it still requires approval of shareholders and North American and European antitrust authorities. “Ikon has terrific strength in areas that complement Ricoh’s growth strategy,” says Shiro Kondo, president and CEO of

Self-Evaluate Your In-plant

The printers that thrive are those that carefully assess their performance, expanding what works and correcting what doesn’t. To help in-plants evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, NAPL, the trade association for excellence in graphic communications management, offers a free self-evaluation form along with an opportunity to enter its Management Plus competition. The form assess nine key areas of printing operations: internal control systems; financial performance; marketing/sales plan; business planning; human resources; environmental/safety concerns; quality control; community/industry affairs; and vendor relations.   If an in-plant is pleased with the results of its self audit, the next logical step is to enter the Management Plus Awards

Shape-Shifters Beware!

Attention catalogers who have changed the shape of your books or are considering doing so within the next year: Beware! Changing your catalog shape to qualify for automation letter postage rates may save money in the short term, but it can cost more in the long term. That’s because the U.S. Postal Service is in the process of conducting tests on a variety of design characteristics. Within the next year, its rules will change significantly and may wipe out the slim-jim savings. And it’s not just about the shape. The USPS also is looking into changing rules concerning mailing materials, thickness, tabbing requirements and

The Future of the Supply Chain Is (Almost) Here

Imagine this scenario: A pallet of books arrives at a distributor’s warehouse. It is scanned, allowing the system to keep track of the location of every book as the shipment is robotically de-palletized, stored and machine-prepared for shipment to retailers. Arriving at the point of sale, cartons are scanned at the door and all contents entered instantly into inventory, with special-order customers notified automatically that their book has arrived. Customers and employees can then discover with the click of a mouse exactly where a book is located in the store, and inventory, even at the largest bookstores, takes no more than 20 minutes.

TransPromo Summit A Success

Last month’s TransPromo Summit in New York was certainly upbeat in its predictions for this new marketing technique. Keynote Speaker Barb Pellow, of InfoTrends, pointed to data predicting a 68 percent compound annual growth rate for transpromo over the next four years. Most of the speakers backed this up with case studies and research indicating that customers are receptive to reading relevant marketing messages on their statements and bills. The 300 vendors, marketers and printers in attendance were certainly primed to hear this. They received numerous tips on how to initiate and carry out transpromo campaigns. Dozens of vendors were on hand to discuss

UNC Pembroke Strengthens Color Capabilities

Though its rural location is part of its allure, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke also has fewer choices when it comes to services. Knowing this, its three-employee in-plant has been striving to build up its printing capabilities. “We absolutely believe that we can provide any of the printing that any commercial printer can do,” proclaims Glenda Kiser, print supervisor. Two recent installations will help her prove it. The shop has added both a Canon imagePRESS C7000VP and an HP DesignJet Z3100ps wide-format printer. The imagePRESS C7000VP, one of Canon’s newest color devices, prints letter-sized jobs at 70 pages per minute, regardless

VA Beach Completes Long Overdue Upgrade

“We had one of the first DocuColors.” There was a time when Kevin Field might have been bragging when he said that. But 15 years have taken their toll on that Xerox DocuColor 40, as they have on all of his in-plant’s aging Xerox printers. So recently, Print & Mail Services for the City and Schools of Virginia Beach replaced those printers with a host of newer, faster devices. New on the shop floor are a Xerox DocuColor 260, two DocuTech 6135s (one with a square fold booklet maker) and a Xerox 128 highlight color device, which went into the data center.

Wide-format Printing Takes Off at the University of Washington.

The University of Washington has not even started marketing its new HP Designjet Z6100 wide-format printer and already it’s grabbing the attention of customers. The 42˝ printer was placed in the copy center at the undergraduate library, where it is visible to passing students. “They go there for other things and they notice the posters,” says Patrick McNelly, operations manager. Students have been ordering a lot of posters for class projects and presentations, he says, with demand peaking around midterms and finals. “We’re now starting to see some repeat customers, and we’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on the quality,”