In-plants Popular at Graph Expo
Graph Expo catered to in-plants this year, with sessions and networking opportunities galore.November 2012 By Bob Neubauer
It was hard for in-plant managers not to feel special at Graph Expo this year. After years of being included seemingly as an afterthought, in-plants were given the spotlight this time around, with numerous sessions focusing specifically on in-plant issues and a new networking hub called "The InPlant Place" where they could gather and mingle. Some vendors set aside special areas devoted to solutions for in-plants, and one (Rochester Software Associates) offered daily in-plant networking receptions.
IPG attended most of the in-plant sessions and events and spoke with dozens of managers during the four-day event. One of the most informative sessions was a panel discussion, coordinated by RSA, entitled "Empowered In-plants: Tell-All Success Stories from the Field." Four in-plant managers described their operations, the challenges they have faced, the secrets to their success and ways they are demonstrating strategic value so that closing the in-plant is not an option. They also revealed ideas they tried that didn't go as planned.
Jimmy Friend, director of Printing and Distribution Solutions at the University of North Texas, talked about how he managed to change the attitudes of his staff years ago and focus them more on quality and customer service. This turned the in-plant around, enabling it to become the award-winning success story it is today. Friend noted that adding an HP Indigo digital press allowed the in-plant to offer variable data and print on demand, enabling it to provide recruitment materials for UNT. This has ingrained the in-plant into the fabric of the university.
Debbie Gallagher, senior operations analyst, with the Department of Administrative Services Publishing & Distribution Department for the State of Oregon, credited her operation's success to its partnerships with agencies and vendors. She noted that combining digital printing with mailing using automation has enabled her operation to provide "print to post" service for the state, a valuable service.
Gene Voelker, manager of Supply Chain Business Services at Parkview Health, said he expects his in-plant to grow 25 to 30 percent this year. Bringing staff into the decision-making process and listening to their ideas, he contended, has kept his in-plant strong. He stressed the importance of reporting, noting that he creates more than 30 reports a month, tracking new customers, service calls, types of jobs and more. His in-plant, he said, was once voted number one in customer service in the company.