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Big Shop in Berkeley

December 1999
University of California Printing Services

Berkeley, Calif.

Annual sales/budget: $15,877,189

Full-time employees: 186

Jobs printed per year: 5,000

To satisfy the printing needs of some 140,000 University of California students attending nine campuses across the state, University of California-Berkeley Printing Services has needed to be flexible. According to George Craig, printing services director, there have been many changes over the years, especially with the emergence of digital technology.

Craig recalls bringing in photocomposition and computer business management systems in the '80s, before moving to the direct-to-plate processes and computer-controlled presses of today. Through it all, Craig says, his staff has excelled at adapting to the changes.

"The skill-sets of all employees have evolved continuously during this transition," he says.

University of California-Berkeley Printing Services recently merged with the campus copy and mail services unit and assumed mainframe print responsibilities. Printing and mailing are now handled in one continuous process.

The benefits include more efficient service, more competitive pricing, and fewer order forms, requisitions and invoices. Customer service has reportedly gone up on the mailing side, now that it can take advantage of Printing Services' computerized tracking system. And best of all, both services have acquired new customers as a result.

In the future, Craig sees an increase in high-volume digital printing and larger-format color work. He is also finding increasing demands for warehousing, fulfillment and distribution services. Automated materials-handling systems may also be on the horizon.

"Recent growth has come from strategic investments, a good economy and offering a wider range of services," notes Craig. Future growth could come from a different area. There has been an increasing demand for electronic documents, a service the in-plant already provides, plus data archiving services. Even with more jobs being routed to different electronic media, Craig does not see a decrease in paper use any time soon. If anything, he feels he may need to change to different sizes and grades.

All of this change is aimed at keeping out the competition. By building a strong in-plant, Craig has reduced outsourcing worries.

"In our area, printers are competing on the basis of who can produce and deliver fastest, then cheapest," explains Craig. "The organization must be built to survive this continual pressure."

Printing Services consists of a 35,000-square-foot main printing plant on the Berkeley campus, plus 30,000 square feet of warehouse space. There are also two 20,000-square-foot library binderies, located in Oakland and Los Angeles, which serve the university library system's bookbinding needs. Printing Services receives no annual budget from the university—it must rely on sales. This year, sales reached almost $16 million.
 

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