Want to Know More About Outsourcing? Google It!
Did you ever have one of those days where you just can’t get your head around what you’re supposed to be doing, so you look for other things to do? Things that may be interesting but may not be your priority?
I’m having one of those days, but in a way I may be better off for neglecting the report I’m supposed to be writing and surfing instead. Let me explain.
One of the things I have noticed is that we, the in-plant community, tend to be loners. We often don’t address issues until they are staring us in the face, and then we tend to take them on mano-a-mano. We might ask for help or advice from colleagues for some things, but all too often we tend to develop our own responses — and that may not be a successful strategy. It’s hard for a lone voice to make enough noise to be heard over whomever is trying to convince our organization to take the outsourcing route. We must do better.
As I have said for years, our administrators and organizational decision makers are only hearing one side of the story — and it’s not from us.
So, now to my aha moment: the insight I gained while surfing this morning to avoid doing my “real work.”
I Googled “outsourced printing” just to see what would turn up. Was I in for a shock! My initial search turned up over 500,000 hits. Here are a few of the links from the first two Google pages:
- Print and Mail Outsourcing: Lower Risk, Greater Savings
- Print Outsourcing vs. In-House Printing Services
- Outsource to cut print costs by up to 30%
- Print Management Outsourcing: A Trestle Group Research Publication
- The Advantages of Outsourcing Print Production
- How Outsourced Printing and Mailing Services Can Grow Your Business
- The Power Of Print Outsourcing
- Why Your Competitors Are Outsourcing the Print Shop
- State of the Art Solutions: Optimizing the Way Work Gets Done
There was even a Wiki page.
Surely, I thought, we have strong representation as well. Surely there are sites telling the in-plant story. Wrong!
My Google search (advantages of in-sourcing printing) revealed:
- One link to an IPMA document
- One link to an ACUP site
- Five links to IPG articles.
I also found one InfoTrends article: Corporate Print Services: The In-Plant Opportunity
That was it from the first couple of screens of my in-plant search. And do you think we have a Wiki page? Now I’m not sure how one gets a Wiki page, but I can’t help but think that the presence of an outsourcing page and the absence of an in-plant page may be reflective of the problem. Namely, that we lack a voice.
This is why I’m so concerned about getting our story out there. IPMA, ACUP and IPG do a good job, but they’re outnumbered. Anyone looking for information on outsourcing print is going to find a lot of material, but if they look for the advantages of in-plants, not so much.
And that, friends, is one of the reasons we need to hold an In-plant Summit. We need to start getting the word out there. We need to work together to develop an information base that describes our value.
I had a lot of positive feedback from my In-plant Summit proposal last week (and one negative comment — from a vendor). I’d like to hear from more of you. So if you think the summit has potential or if you think we could do some good for our community, drop me a note: RayChambers@earthlink.net
And if you think it’s a lousy idea, I’d like to hear that as well.
Related story: Oops! There Goes Another In-plant
Ray Chambers, CGCM, MBA, has invested over 30 years managing and directing printing plants, copy centers, mail centers and award-winning document management facilities in higher education and government.
Most recently, Chambers served as vice president and chief information officer at Juniata College. Chambers is currently a doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Administration at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). His research interests include outsourcing in higher education and its impact on support services in higher education and managing support services. He also consults (Chambers Management Group) with leaders in both the public and private sectors to help them understand and improve in-plant printing and document services operations.