Inline Finishing Helps Highmark’s In-plant ExcelFebruary 2012
With 20,500 employees and 4.8 million health plan members, Highmark Inc. is one of the largest health insurance companies in the country. To produce the benefit books, sales collateral, enrollment packages, manuals and other items necessary to run its business, the Pittsburgh-based company relies on its busy Corporate Printing Services department.
Under the direction of Manager Jeffrey S. Taranto, Corporate Printing Services has built a reputation for responsiveness and service easily rivaling that of many mid-size print shops. The 18-employee in-plant operates facilities at Highmark's two main Pennsylvania locations—one serving the headquarters operation in Pittsburgh, and a satellite shop near Harrisburg, in Camp Hill.
Each operation runs 24 hours, five days a week, and on weekends when needed. The two facilities typically print between 10 and 15 million impressions a month—all of it at cost.
In the in-plant's Pittsburgh facility, the digital printing equipment lineup includes five full-color Xerox iGen4s, two monochrome Xerox Nuvera 288 EA perfecting production systems and a Xerox DocuColor 8000. The Camp Hill facility has a Xerox DocuColor 8000 and a Nuvera 288 EA. The in-plant's entire digital operation is driven by Xerox FreeFlow Digital Workflow software, with Xerox XMPie software used for variable print production.
Most of the finishing touches at both locations are applied using inline equipment from C.P. Bourg. In Pittsburgh, three of the iGen4s have Bourg BMEx booklet makers with BCMEx creasers, and all three Nuvera 288 EAs at both locations have Bourg BDFx finishers to stitch, fold and trim booklets, reports and various other documents. Other machines for folding, die-cutting, plastic coiling, comb binding, three-hole punching, packaging and padding round out the in-plant's finishing capabilities.
"We've had phenomenal success on the digital platform," says Taranto. "Much of our work involves the production of benefit books, high-end sales collateral, customized enrollment packages, manuals, marketing materials and postcards. We also often work 'outside the box,' producing everything from posters and transparent static clings for decorating office windows and walls to personalized customer letters, event invitation packages and die-cut materials."
The ability to produce personalized pieces printed with variable data is critically important today, and the ability to keep that data secure within the company is equally important.
"Having an in-house operation makes it possible to achieve both goals. It also means we can handle jobs at the 11th hour that often can't be done outside," Taranto says. "Plus, with the Bourg BMEx and BCMEx, we're able to finish full-bleed marketing materials printed on our large-format iGen4—something that even many commercial printers can't do."