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Doing Everything Right

January 2002
Not only does Eastman Chemical Creative Services have sophisticated prepress and printing operations, it handles photography, video, streaming media, CDs—and it even insources.

As the largest employer in Tennessee (with 10,000 on its payroll), Eastman Chemical has a large presence in the state, says Mike Thomas, manager of Eastman Chemical Creative Services.

That presence is especially felt in eastern Tennessee, where the company's Kingsport facility is located.

And it is in eastern Tennessee that this sophisticated in-plant is capitalizing on its parental relationship. By promoting its graphic arts capabilities externally, Creative Services is taking full advantage of Eastman Chemical's manufacturing fame.

"The company has a reputation, and we feed off that," admits Thomas, noting that under the Eastman banner, Creative Services has increased its commercial printing/insourcing business 42 percent since last year. In fact, insourcing now accounts for nearly a third of the in-plant's total business, with sales of about $1.5 million a year.

While profitable, insourcing carries a weighty responsibility, Thomas cautions: "We use the company name, which means our integrity and quality have to reflect the business practices, products and standards of Eastman Chemical," he says. "We don't want to negatively reflect on the company."

Strong Selling Points

In operation for more than 50 years, Creative Services had already established a good reputation within the company when it began to look for outside customers five years ago. The in-plant had two strong selling points: the company's reputation and decades of four-color offset experience. In 1999, under the guidance of former manager Larry Sutherland, insourcing really started picking up steam and became a main focus of the in-plant operation.

With its arsenal of equipment—including a computer-to-plate system that was installed in February 2000—Creative Services found it had a knack (and a passion!) for commercial printing.

"The key advantage is the wide variety of services we're able to provide," notes Thomas. These include:

• Six-color offset printing

• Flexo label printing

• High-volume color and black-and-white copying

• Wide-format poster production

• High-end studio photography

• In-house design

• Full-service video/audio production

"We're a one-stop shop," Thomas continues. "We handle customers' needs from creative development to finished product; from streaming media and making promotional CDs to our high-end studio photography. We do it all. And, that's what makes us unique. Very few in-plants can do all that."

Few in-plants are able; they don't have the cutting-edge technology, which is the backbone of the 60-employee Creative Services operation, Thomas contends. With a $3.4 million budget, Creative Services has an arsenal of equipment that reads like a "wish list" for most in-plants. The centerpiece of its digital prepress department is a Rampage Systems RIP with a CreoScitex Spectrum Trendsetter 3230 platesetter.

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