ACUP Lesson: Report the Right Things
When the president of Eastern Kentucky University resigned in 2009, it triggered a review of all campus departments, including the in-plant. Richard Tussey, director of Auxiliary Services, quickly prepared reports showing the in-plant's annual sales, ROI, budgeted hourly rates and productivity.
Administration stared blankly at the data. It was not what they wanted to see, he told the audience at last week's Association of College and University Printers (ACUP+) conference.
Instead, he said, they were more interested in data showing which departments the in-plant served and how much revenue it received from them. Of most interest were Enrollment Management, Admissions, academic departments and grant-based organizations.
"You have to know your numbers, but they have to be their numbers," he cautioned.
Tussey's session was one of several ACUP presentations devoted to in-plant justification, benchmarking and marketing. Combined with keynotes focused on overcoming the stress of change, the conference seemed more focused than usual on preparing managers to take action to ensure the survival of their operations.
Tussey encouraged managers to quickly educate incoming administration on your in-plant's value and how it focuses on the core mission of the university. Some ways to do this he pointed out are handling student projects, overseeing graphic design to ensure the university's visual identity is not compromised, managing the copier program and managing subcontractors.
Tussey cited an example of how he added value and found an important partner when he went to Admissions and offered to save the department time and money on its daily mailings, which were being processed by hand. Using the in-plant's inserter, he took over those mailings, and is now a close friend of Admissions.
"I'm part of their system now," he said.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.