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Government Printers Rendezvous in the Rockies

Government in-plants gathered in Denver last month for the NGPA 2012 conference.

October 2012 By Bob Neubauer
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State government printers from around the country assembled in Denver last month for the 35th annual National Government Publishing Association (NGPA) conference. About 30 government attendees took part in the three-day event, which was titled "Exceptional Government and the Power of Partnership."

In addition to the educational sessions, roundtables and member discussions, the group visited the State of Colorado's Integrated Document Services (IDS) operation, overseen by conference host Mike Lincoln. There they saw the in-plant's extensive offset and digital printing operation—which includes a Xerox Color 1000 and a two-color Presstek/A.B. Dick 9995 offset press, among other equipment—as well as its impressive mailing operation, home to two Pitney Bowes FlowMaster inserters and a 94-bin Olympus sorter.

The conference got off to a great start with keynote speaker Gary Reblin, USPS vice president, Domestic Products. He stressed that even in this age of digital communication via smart phones, direct mail is still a powerful medium. He noted that 80 percent of people look at their mail daily, and 63 percent of mail is kept for at least two days.

"I think anybody would like to say their TV commercial was seen by 80 percent of the people," he argued.

Though digital messages may be cheaper, Reblin added, "Mail is more effective than e-mail." A paper message stirs deeper emotions and richer feelings, he said. Also, he added, people receive fewer of them; the average person gets 157 e-mails a day, but just two pieces of direct mail.

"Direct mail helps you break through the clutter," he said.

Reblin talked about how mailers can use QR codes to increase response rates and get more information to the recipient.

"You can't put everything you want on a mail piece," he said. So add a QR code to link the recipient to that additional information online. Just make sure the scanned QR code brings the viewer to a mobile-optimized site, he cautioned.

Success Through Partnerships

After Reblin, consultant Vic Barkin talked about how in-plants can leverage partnerships with other in-plants and with vendors. He related how he had partnered with other organizations when he was manager of Northern Arizona University's in-plant. For example, he created agreements with the city of Flagstaff and county departments to handle work they were sending out, and he took advantage of a cooperative purchasing agreement to get better pricing.



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