Integrys In-plant Takes Over IT Printing
For many years, Integrys Energy Group relied on two printing operations: a 10-employee in-plant in Green Bay, Wis., (Printing Services) with a Ryobi 524, a Didde 700 web press and Canon digital printers; and a bill printing and insertion operation in downtown Chicago, run by the IT department.
The Wisconsin operation, which produced items like bill inserts, brochures business cards and letterhead, would also print the shells for bills on its Didde web press, cut them to 81⁄2×11˝ sheets and ship them to Chicago, where the IT department took over. But when Integrys decided to move out of Chicago’s Prudential building at the end of its lease, it faced a dilemma: should it keep its bill printing operation in Chicago, where rents are high, or make other arrangements?
In the comprehensive, year-long study that followed, more than 30 vendors bid on the work, including Printing Services in Green Bay. Though his in-plant wasn’t equipped for the new work, Print and Mail Supervisor Michael Greetan included the cost of new printing and inserting equipment in his bid, along with new staff and a 4,000-square-foot addition to his facility.
“It was another opportunity that could open doors for us, and we could use that personnel and that equipment for other work,” says Greetan, explaining why he decided to tackle this ambitious project.
By doing the work in Wisconsin, he proposed, the expense of shipping shells to Chicago would be eliminated, real estate would be cheaper and his operation could do the work with three fewer employees than were currently needed. In the end, Printing Services won the bid.
“It came down to cost,” Greetan says. “We were able to show the company that we could save them a lot of money per year by keeping the operation in-house.”
The Green Bay facility was expanded, four new full-time employees were hired and the shop installed a 17˝ Super Web, three Xerox Nuvera 120 printers and two Bell and Howell Ascender 16 inserters. In September, the in-plant began printing and inserting bills for the company—between 80,000 and 100,000 bills and letters a day. Because those bills need to hit the post office by 3 p.m., the work shift starts at 1 a.m.
Scanners on the inserters read a code on the first sheet to find out which pieces to insert, and envelopes are scanned again at the end to ensure each piece was properly inserted.
“It gives a little integrity to the process,” remarks Greetan.
This consolidation of printing efforts follows another change of printing strategies at Integrys. In the past, jobs that didn’t fit the in-plant’s equipment were outsourced using an agency as the broker. Greetan pushed a plan to bring that service in-house, so that all jobs come through the print shop where staff determines the most cost-effective method to produce them. If they can’t be printed in-house, they are bid out to a network of qualified printers. Greetan says this process has saved Integrys over $100,000 the first year.