Inserter Lets Penn State In-plant Capture More Work
Ty Emel prgrams the in-plant's Pitney Bowes Flowmaster RS inserter.
Until a year and a half ago, match mailings were either done by hand at Penn State University's Multimedia & Print Center (MPC) or they were outsourced. The 60-employee in-plant had two older inserters from the '70s and '80s with limited capabilities.
"Both of them were pretty much doing number 10 envelopes, and that's all they could do," remarks Abbas Badani, director of the University Park, Pa.-based in-plant.
With the growing demand for variable data printing, though, the number of match mailing jobs was also skyrocketing. Badani knew something had to be done.
So to satisfy this growing need, the in-plant installed a Pitney Bowes Flowmaster RS inserter. This not only opened up some new revenue opportunities for the in-plant, but has saved the university lots of money by automating match mail jobs previously outsourced or done by hand.
For example, one of the first projects the in-plant did with the Flowmaster was to insert about 100,000 personalized election ballots for the board of trustees and the alumni board elections.
"Both these projects were historically done at an outside vendor," Badani notes. The in-plant did the jobs for 30 percent less than that vendor charged.
Another job, for the College of Agriculture, required the insertion of 9,000 personalized surveys, personalized letters and reply envelopes. The materials were printed on the in-plant's Xerox iGen3 with a 2D barcode. The Flowmaster's two cameras read the barcodes on each insert to make sure that matching ballots and letters were inserted. By hand, such a match mailing would have taken days. On the Flowmaster it took just hours, Badani says.
With the increase in match mailings has come an increase in related print, Badani points out. He feels that having mail as one of his in-plant's offerings helps bring more print work into the shop from customers who send their mailings to the in-plant but not necessarily their printing. Once Badani makes them aware that the shop can save them money and time on their printing, they start using the in-plant regularly.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.