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Insuring Savings And Service

January 2002
Safeco

Redmond, Wash.

No matter how harried his workload gets, Larry Jablinske remains the perfect manager: calm, cool and in control.

Perhaps that's because Jablinske is assistant director and manager of Publishing Services for SAFECO, an insurance and financial products company whose customers are primarily independent insurance agents and financial advisors. Working with insurance-related products all day is sure to set your mind at ease and make you feel safe, right?

Or perhaps Jablinske is merely comforted by the knowledge that his department and its crew of 104 provide quality, value and service largely unmatched by outside vendors.

"We save an average of 30 to 35 percent on all products we produce," he says, adding that those figures were recently verified independently by the company's comptroller department during a cost-review analysis.

In terms of quality, SAFECO Publishing Services is one of the best—and it has proof. It was honored with Best of Show in the In-Print 2000 contest for a 28-page color booklet, and it also won four prizes in last year's contest.

The in-plant specializes in producing magazines, brochures, letterhead and special color projects.

"The primary reason we've grown is by identifying the product types that we can be very efficient at," says Jablinske. "When it makes sense, we bring it in house. When it doesn't make sense, we will outsource. We try to really leverage both sides where it makes sense."

SAFECO's move to online forms started several years ago after Jablinske met with the IS department to discuss how to move away from mainframe documents. Dynamic Web forms seemed like a natural solution, particularly since they could be made highly interactive thanks to the databases behind the forms.

Now, says Jablinske, many documents and newsletters are being requested in both print and online versions. Each year, about 500 Web-based projects come to the in-plant's Web Publishing Services department, on top of the 12,000 print jobs and 10,000 document-creation projects the shop handles.

"In addition to that," says Jablinske, "we generally handle what's outsourced, as well. That's not a huge number [of projects,] maybe another 15 to 20 percent on top of everything else."

Jablinske says the new equipment his shop has added over the past few years, such as an Adast direct imaging offset press, has helped the operation grow and thrive.

"We have enough equipment at this point to do all the work that is necessary," he says, "and we'll address [growth] through adding shifts as opposed to adding equipment."
 

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