From the Editor: Under the Radar

In-plant Graphics Editor Bob Neubauer
Trying to get by without promoting your in-plant is not the best survival technique.

“If you are not looking for new avenues to expand what you can do and enhance your services, you are nothing more than some numbers on a budget. It is easy to mark out numbers,” points out John Sarantakos, director of the University of Oklahoma’s in-plant. “We have to be seen as valuable and indispensable to our companies.”

At Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Alvin Griffin spends a lot of time leading task forces and sitting on committees. “It’s important that they realize we are a source of problem solving,” he declares. “Thinkers that also provide print and graphics.”

“We need to be part of the conversation,” adds Sarantakos. “When you are an afterthought, little concern is given to what value is being lost, what expertise is being lost and…what control is being lost.”

And as for that “under the radar” strategy, Griffin points out, “Under the radar is great when you are planning a sneak attack, but a horrible way to support the corporate strategic mission.”

Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.

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  • PMCmike

    Bob – Your comments are right on target. There are a number of reasons why print and mail facilities should be increasing their visibility. Hiding down in the basement has no long-term benefits.

    Marketing people and executives enamored with the idea of relying on the web, social media, and email to communicate with their audience may not understand or appreciate the impact of printed materials. Or they may have experienced disappointment with printed communications in the past due to poor list quality, lack of personalization, or inadequate segmentation.

    Who is going to educate these decision-makers about the value of print if not the in-plant operation?

    Your point about missed opportunities brought back memories of a personal experience where as a managed services vendor we made outreach efforts to company departments and discovered tons of work that was being sent to outside vendors while in-house equipment and staff sat idle. Because of negotiated minimum charges, the company was able to move jobs from the outside to the in-plant at virtually no cost!

    For in plant managers who don’t have the time or are uncomfortable with promoting the in-plant face-to-face, a monthly internal newsletter can raise awareness and educate potential in-house customers. I’d rather take some control over the future of my department than “fly under the radar” and hope for salvation through obscurity.