Building a Better In-plant
By installing an impressive selection of new equipment, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Print Solutions has been able to increase its value to the company, keep more work in-house and cut costs.September 2011
A key challenge for any in-plant is to demonstrate ongoing value to its parent organization. Over the last five years, the Print Solutions department at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has stepped up to this challenge, reinventing itself in the process.
"Until about five years ago," says Robert Pettway, manager of General Services and Mail Operations, "we were strictly a conventional in-plant operation producing corporate materials and occasional in-kind donations for local charities and in support of our community. We were basically viewed as a copy center."
Today the 27-employee, ISO 9001 registered shop operates in three discrete areas: digital printing, offset printing and transactional printing.
"Over the past five years," says Pettway, "we have placed a strong focus on adding value for the corporation and keeping as much work as possible in-house as we support all of our marketing areas across all corporate subsidiaries. Our mission is to minimize administrative expenses for the corporation while maximizing quality and customer satisfaction."
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) is an independent, not-for-profit, locally governed health plan company covering three million people in Tennessee and across the country. Located in the Gateway Building of the corporation's Chattanooga, Tenn, headquarters, Print Solutions has been in operation for more than 20 years. It is managed by Laura McEvoy and supervised by David Gaines.
The digital and offset production areas reside on the building's first floor, while the second floor is home to its transactional printing operation. This area produces provider checks, explanations of benefits (EOBs) and other transactional documents on a Xerox platform that includes a DocuTech 180 with MICR, a Nuvera 288 with MICR, a 495 continuous-feed black-and-white press and a 980 continuous-feed color press. More than 250,000 magnetic ink and related documents per month and 400,000 to 500,000 EOBs and remittances translate to about 60 million lines of printing monthly.
"We just installed the 980 in May," says Pettway, "so we are not yet doing much color in this area. We are still working through the details, but plan to take advantage of color capabilities with transpromo and white space management on outgoing documents."
Pettway is proud of Manager Jarita Norman's mailing and fulfillment operation, which utilizes Pitney Bowes equipment and has its own Pitney Bowes technician on site.
"We use Intelligent Mail Barcodes and transmit data directly to the USPS to maximize our postal discounts," says Pettway. "We average about 100,000 pieces of outgoing mail per day, which we deliver to a nearby USPS facility; 93 percent of the mail we sent out last year received the maximum postal discount."