An All-around LeaderDecember 1998
Allstate Print Communications Center
The Allstate Print Communications Center does everything an in-plant is designed to do—and then some.
The main function of any in-plant is to save the parent company money on its printing needs. That's exactly what the in-plant at Allstate does well. According to Jerry Grouzard, print operations manager at Allstate, the in-plant expects to save the company millions of dollars this year.
"We save them money on print applications," says Grouzard. "Allstate knows we can print items cost effectively."
Over the past half century, the in-plant has evolved from a small duplicating shop with about 60 employees, to a massive 350-employee, three-shift operation housed in a 425,000-square-foot facility in the Chicago suburbs. To justify its size, the in-plant tracks every job and compares prices with commercial printers. These numbers are used to compile monthly profit and loss statements, which are passed on to upper management. Because it tracks its costs so well and provides such fast, efficient service to Allstate, the in-plant has the strong support of the company's senior management.
Not only is the Allstate Print Communications Center a leader in size, it is also a leader in innovation. In addition to handling Allstate's printing needs, the in-plant offers its services to other organizations. Over the past year its insourcing business has increased, and the in-plant plans to develop this business even more.
Allstate has also proven itself a leader by making major inroads into digital printing. It was one of the first in-plants to purchase an Indigo E-print 1000 digital color press, which it uses for short runs of four-color presentations, training manuals and covers for training guides. Allstate Print Communications Center was also one of the first DocuTech users in the country, according to Bob Tierney, print operations director. It currently has 11 DocuTechs in operation.
All equipment, according to Grouzard, must show a return on investment within 24 months for the in-plant to make a purchase. Beyond the two years, Allstate feels the depreciation on the equipment is too great to make it cost effective.
In August of 1995, Allstate took the innovative step of merging its in-plant with its data and mail (output processing) centers. As a result, it gained laser printing technologies, intelligent inserting and mail fulfillment capabilities. It moved from being just a printing facility to being a complete communications center.
Allstate's status as a leader in the printing industry is evidenced by the many awards it has received. Earlier this year the in-plant was awarded its third Gold Award from the National Association of Printers and Lithographers. In addition, Allstate Print Communications Center was selected as IPG's 1998 Industry Leader of the Year.