BYU StreamlinesMay 2005
One of the largest university in-plants, the BYU Print & Mail Production Center is reorganizing to make itself more efficient and customer friendly.
By Bob Neubauer
When Brigham Young University merged its print and mail operations in 1998 to form the Print & Mail Production Center, it improved communication between the departments and enhanced its workflow.
Now Doug Maxwell wants to take that merger even farther. The new director and his team are reorganizing and streamlining the 65-employee in-plant so that printing, copying and mail functions are completely integrated, not independent services with separate staffs, reporting structures and scheduling.
"We felt that we had too many inefficiencies in the organization," admits Maxwell, who took over as director last July when West Barton retired. "We were trying to maintain equipment, personnel and systems for three organizations. We had a lot of redundancy...that was very costly."
To eliminate that redundancy, the mailing, printing and copying areas in the operation's Provo, Utah, plant have been moved into one production area that reports to the production manager. In this way the in-plant now manages one pool of part-time student workers, rather than each part of the operation hiring and managing separate staffs. As a result, these student workers—about 200, working three shifts—can be cross-trained and quickly shifted to whichever area is busiest.
"We better utilize the students that we have," Maxwell says.
But this reorganization benefits the in-plant in other ways too, he notes. Now, rather than generating variable data files twice—once to personalize print jobs and again in the mailing area to print the addresses—the in-plant processes this data only once for both purposes. This increases efficiency and helps maintain list integrity, Maxwell notes.
BYU's reorganization has also improved customer relations, Maxwell says. This is a big concern of his, since he spent 13 of his 17 years at BYU working as a customer consultant for the in-plant, advancing to supervisor of that department before being named director of the Print & Mail Production Center.
"Our customers were getting somewhat of a runaround when they would call and check on the progress of their work because we would make them call each area of either copy, print or mail to check their status," Maxwell says. "We want our customers to feel that working with us is so easy that they would never want to take their work anywhere else. We want to streamline our organization to be as efficient as we can possibly be."