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Digital Makeover Boosts Business for UTHealth

Improved digital color printing combined with new online ordering capabilities have turned UTHealth’s in-plant around.

April 2012
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Before adding a digital color press in 2010, Donna Cooper Horbelt says her in-plant at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) was not nearly as busy as she wanted it to be.

"I was losing color copy business to everybody in town," recalls the director of Auxiliary Enterprises, Printing and Media Services. "Our quality just wasn't good enough."

The in-plant's Xerox 6060 was seven years old and its color capabilities were far from state-of-the-art. Seeking to upgrade, Horbelt looked at a number of options. In the end, the in-plant decided to install a Xerox iGen4.

"They just really had the quality product for color that we needed," she remarks.

Immediately, the in-plant was able to upgrade the quality of the color digital products it could deliver. Customers took notice. The number of color digital copies increased from 644,000 in the 2010 fiscal year to more than 1.13 million the following year. Horbelt now credits the digital machine with her in-plant's survival.

"My doors would have closed if I hadn't moved to high-end color digital," she contends.

A Well-rounded In-plant

With 22 full-time employees handling more than 8,000 jobs a year, Auxiliary Enterprises, Printing and Media Services is a busy in-plant. Its customers include 369 departments at UTHealth, another 374 within MD Anderson Cancer Center, and 87 other accounts. UTHealth educates more healthcare professionals than any health-related institution in the State of Texas, and features the nation's seventh-largest medical school. It has more than 10,000 faculty, staff, students and residents.

As the university has grown, so has its need for printed materials. Typical jobs for the in-plant include identity packages, brochures, magazines and newsletters, digital copying, perfect-bound books, fulfillment, kits and invitations.

The in-plant boasts five offset presses, ranging from a six-color, 29˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 perfector to several two-color presses ranging from 18˝ to 40˝. The presses produce high-end brochures, newsletters, four-color stationery, invitations, posters and more. An A.B.Dick 9870 prints nearly three million envelopes a year.

The addition of the iGen4, has changed things a little, though.

"The iGen4 has allowed us to move many jobs from offset to digital to meet our customers' needs," Horbelt says. "I don't think there's an application we don't do on the iGen4."

That wasn't the only new digital device the in-plant added, though. For the shop's black-and-white copy work—the majority of which is tab work, 43-hole drill stock and copy-and-staple jobs—Horbelt selected the Xerox 4127 copier/printer. As a result, black-and-white impressions increased from roughly 6 to 6.5 million in FY 2011.


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