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ACUP Wraps Up In Dallas

April 21, 2011 By Bob Neubauer
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The very last session at ACUP 2011 proved to be one of the best. On Wednesday, Jimmy Friend, director of Printing and Distribution Solutions at the University of North Texas, took the stage and revealed that his award-winning in-plant once produced such low-quality work and had such bad service that nearly every customer he surveyed described its service as unacceptable. He then described the steps he took, over the past 15 years, to turn his in-plant completely around into the roll model it is today. 

It was a session that impressed and inspired every manager in the audience at the 46th Association of College and University Printers conference this week. More than 85 higher-ed in-plant managers met in Dallas for the event—the first since ACUP become a non-profit organization. With twice as many attendees as last year, ACUP was abuzz with enthusiasm. Managers came from as far away as California, New Hampshire, Minnesota and all points between. One manager, Andrew Scott, even made the trip from Glasgow, Scotland. 

Dr. Jerry Waite, professor of technology at the University of Houston, got things going on the right track with his opening keynote, "Innovate - Collaborate - Educate." 

"It's our job to help our customers get the right message to the right person at the right time using the right media," he stressed. This means more than just a printed piece, he explained; it means a mix of media, such as e-mail, PURLs, social media and QR codes. In-plant managers should be looking for ways to integrate these types of media.

In a session on adding value, Paul Roberts, of the University of New Hampshire, detailed the success his shop has been having printing wallpaper for students; Bucknell University's Lisa Hoover talked about her in-plant's success taking over e-mail campaigns and integrating them with print marketing; and IPG Editor Bob Neubauer gave examples of numerous non-print services he has seen at some of the in-plants he's visited. 

Tuesday's keynote speaker was NAPL's Howie Fenton, who talked about the importance of benchmarking performance and looking at your bottom line at least four times a year. ACUP Executive Director Tom Tozier did a session on developing sustainability practices. Then, at a business lunch meeting, all conference attendees participated in an occasionally passionate session to discuss ACUP's bylaws and its future, including who would be eligible to join as a member.



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