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At Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Graphic Production Center, Debbie Alexander (left), color lab specialist, and Alvin Griffin, director, show off an apron and a shirt printed on the in-plant’s AnaJet mPower mP10 direct-to-garment printer.

At Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Graphic Production Center, Debbie Alexander operates the in-plant’s AnaJet mPower mP10 direct-to-garment printer.

At Allan Hancock College, Gordon Rivera (left) and Robert Nourse hold up signs created with the in-plant’s Epilog Legend 36EXT laser engraver.

Allan Hancock College's in-plant is engraving information on digital devices.

Colgate University Document and Mail Services added a 36˝ Kyocera 4800w wide-format scanner and started scanning blue­prints and maps for academic departments.

Nestlé Purina Print Services is now producing name badges (modeled here by Sean Deken) using a small-format manual die cutter.

Director Dwayne Magee stands in Messiah College Press & Postal Services’ warehouse, which the in-plant makes available to campus departments that lack storage space.

This van wrap is just one of the creative wide-format products being produced by Central Michigan University Printing Services.

The University of Mississippi started offering multicolor foiling using a Therm-O-Type foil fusing machine.
Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Adding new services gives you more opportunities to make customers happy, improving your reputation while strengthening your in-plant's position in the organization.

It wasn’t exactly his forte, but just the same, Alvin Griffin hated to see so much of his school district’s money being spent to print T-shirts.

“Last summer we outsourced probably about 1,500 shirts,” says the director of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Graphic Production Center. At about $12 each, this was a big expense for the Charlotte, N.C., school district. Griffin didn’t know much about shirts, but he did know how to save the district money on its print costs. He’d been doing it for years. Why not take on garment printing too?

So last year his in-plant purchased an AnaJet mPower mP10 direct-to-garment printer and went into business.

“Our clients, they just love it,” he reports. If there’s a special event at one of the district’s 159 schools, people order personalized shirts. This has brought in a lot of new business for the in-plant.

Griffin says it takes about a minute to print a high-quality image on a shirt, an apron, even a baby’s “onesie.” And the machine is easy to operate. He can buy shirts for $3 apiece, and it costs about $1.25 to print on them, he says. Even after a slight markup, the district saves a ton of money. Griffin says he invested $36,000 in the garment printer.

“But I look to get that back within a year, free and clear,” he says.

Even better than the business, though, is the boost this new service brought to the in-plant’s reputation and the value it provides to the organization.

“It can’t continue to be all about just the marks on paper,” Griffin says. “You’ve got to get diverse in what it is that you’re doing.”

This is a mantra all in-plants should take to heart. Fortunately, many of them have.

Related story: Document Destruction

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