Geneva College Refreshes and Upgrades Mail Operation
When the lease was up for the mailing equipment at Geneva College’s in-plant, Joel Palmer, director of Mail and Print Services, started to think it might be time for a mailroom refresh. After all, the shop’s last renovations were nearly 14 years ago. But he wasn’t so sure management would take it on.
Earlier in the year, the Beaver Falls, Pa.-based school had laid off 12 employees due to severe budget cuts (fortunately, not in the mailroom). It would cost about $10,000 to replace all the shop’s equipment, install new carpets, shelves and chairs, and add a fresh coat of paint — not to mention the dream machine Palmer was hoping to add.
But because the in-plant had saved the college about $50,000 last year by printing jobs in-house instead of sending them to outside printers, the refresh was granted.
“They felt it was worth it,” Palmer explains, “because we’ve proved we could save the college money.”
Palmer made arrangements for a new Pitney Bowes inserter, addressing printer, tabber and postage meter, which were leased through Amasti in West Virginia.
But sadly the coveted “dream machine” — a Xanté Impressia digital envelope printer — was not approved.
“It was one more piece than we originally had, and it was actually going to put us over budget,” he reflects.
Then something unexpected happened; an inter-departmental meeting with the Office of Institutional Advancement (IA) and Admissions changed things significantly.
Like all departments at the college, IA had cut its budget; it was down $20,000 per year. To compensate, IA planned to bring in-house its quarterly appeal mailings — a job of about 100,000 annual mailings.
“Basically, my boss looked at me and said, ‘Well, I guess you’re getting a printer!’” Palmer recalls.
The new Xanté Impressia does more than save time and money though. The variable printed envelopes are actually encouraging students to open their mail. For example, before each school year, Mail and Print Services sends a letter to incoming freshmen with their mailbox number. But once they get to campus, most can’t remember it.
This year, Palmer used the Impressia to print an image of a mailbox and each student’s unique box number. “I noticed that more incoming freshmen know their box numbers now than in previous years,” Palmer notes.
An additional benefit, he says, is that the in-plant is not wasting any envelopes. For example, Admissions used to order 100-200 once a year, only to have the envelopes sit in storage. By the time Palmer and his crew of four tried to insert them, the envelopes would be warped or sealed.
“Now we are always dealing with fresh envelopes, which is so much easier,” he observes.
Palmer proved that it doesn’t hurt to ask for what you want, even in a time of reduced expenditures. In the end, ironically, it was actually due to budget cuts that the new printer was approved.
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