Four years ago, Terry Fulcomer, the supervisor for the Prince William County in-plant, in Woodbridge, Va., had a dilemma. His half million dollar, six employee in-plant's equipment was fast becoming obsolete. But, catching up and keeping up with technology was an expensive proposition—one that Fulcomer's budget was not inclined to support.

Ease of use, automation, reliability, flexibility, versatility and productivity are just a few advances touted by saddle stitcher and booklet maker manufacturers. by CAROLINE MILLER One thing is clear, today's booklet makers and saddle stitchers are easier to operate than the models of yesteryear. Features such as air feeding, detectors for misfeeds and doubles, and operator LCD control panels are just some of the innovations found on contemporary machines. "Customers are looking for a machine that will do any job their clients bring them, so the [equipment] has to be versatile," says Donna Hall, advertising manager for MBM Corp. "They want to turn jobs

The debate about whether to institute a right of first refusal policy continues, but many in-plants find it does more good than harm. by CAROLINE MILLER Right of first refusal: Benefit or death knell? Critics of the right of first refusal claim it amounts to a monopoly and will only breed bad service; proponents say it makes in-plants even more valuable to their organizations and improves service. "The fact that we don't have right of first refusal does force us to focus on customer service more," remarks Ted Bailey, manager of Boise State University's 15-employee Printing and Graphic Services department. "I think it does

To keep business from going to quick printers, in-plants need Web-based ordering capabilities. Here's how one in-plant went online and some leads on how you can, too. by CAROLINE MILLER THREE YEARS ago, the University of Colorado at Boulder's printing and copying services department realized it needed to hone its competitive edge to remain viable against local competitors such as Kinko's. The $3.2 million operation's core business—course packs, stationery, business cards and flyers—could easily be sent to outside shops, since the university does not mandate the use of the in-plant. "It was very easy for people to go off campus," admits Newell Fogelberg, director

When the City of San Diego's in-plant sees an opportunity, it rushes right in to take advantage of it. The resulting mix of services, both traditional and nontraditional, has kept customers happy. by CAROLINE MILLER Not only is variety the spice of life for the City of San Diego's in-plant. It's also the key to its success. "We've found that we've had to continually reinvent ourselves, and that like all good in-plants we have to always anticipate the needs of our customers before our customers do," says Liam McGuigan, deputy director of the general services department for the City of San Diego. Situated

These days, who can afford a new six-color press? At University of Missouri-Columbia Printing Services, it was just a matter of saving up. How can you buy a brand new six-color press without going into debt—or begging your management for money? Wayne Merritt knows. His in-plant at the University of Missouri-Columbia has just installed a new six-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster 102 perfecting press. And he doesn't owe anyone a cent. "In the last four years we have managed to save enough money to buy it outright," reveals Merritt, director of Printing Services. The shop's savings, he added, were about $2

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