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In-plants Assemble at Interquest Forum in D.C.

December 1, 2012 By Bob Neubauer
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In November, university and government in-plants met inside the U.S Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C., for the seventh annual Interquest Digital Printing in Government and Higher Education Forum. Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks gave the keynote address, discussing the challenges faced by GPO, including tight budgets, increased congressional oversight, rapid technology changes and the advance of social media. As a result, GPO has been reexamining its mission and trying to redefine itself as an information and communications provider.

“I think that we should be the Government Publishing Office,” she remarked, proposing a name change for the 151-year-old agency. She pointed to mobile apps, e-books and GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) as different ways that GPO gives the public access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. 

“We are official, we are digital and we are moving forward,” she concluded. 

Gilles Biscos, president of Interquest gave an overview of the print industry using Interquest research results. He discussed the growth of four-color in transactional printing, and the increasing shift from toner to inkjet. Direct mail volume is predicted to grow in the next couple years, he said. 

Biscos cited IPG survey data when he noted that more than half of in-plants are self-supported or mostly self-supported, more than a third have not expanded in the past three years and more than half are now insourcing. He said the top value-added services provided by in-plants are variable data printing, mailing, wide-format printing, online ordering and fulfillment.  Biscos also went over some of the technology developments shown at Drupa.

A panel of government and higher-ed printers talked about their operations. Greg Estep, superintendent of GPO’s Press Division, talked about GPO’s efforts to be a best-in-class printer. He noted GPO’s use of 5S lean manufacturing methodologies, and its certifications as a G7 Master Printer and a Sustainable Green Printer. GPO is planning to relocate its digital print center, upgrade its roll-fed toner equipment and investigate inkjet presses, he said. 

Richard Beto, director of Document Solutions at The University of Texas at Austin, detailed some of his in-plant’s offerings including QR codes, copyright clearance, Web-to-print and wide-format.

 

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