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Interquest Forum Brings In-plants to GPO Headquarters

June 2014 By Bob Neubauer
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Dozens of university and government in-plants from the Mid-Atlantic region met at the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) in Washington, D.C., in April for the eighth annual Digital Printing in Government and Higher Education Forum. The event, organized by Interquest, a market and technology research and consulting firm, featured several panels of in-plant managers, hailing from the United Nations, the World Bank, GPO, the University of Virginia, Fairfax County Government, Navy Federal Credit Union and others. 

Following a tour of the GPO facilities, Andrew Sherman, chief of staff at GPO, opened the forum by welcoming the attendees and sharing some changes that are taking place. 

“So much of the work that we are involved in now has a digital aspect to it that [Public Printer] Davita Vance-Cooks has proposed that the GPO’s name should be changed from Government Printing Office to Government Publishing Office,“ Sherman said. “Our printing remains a very important part of GPO’s mission. The fact is that we do more than just printing now. The digital aspect needs to be recognized, and our name needs to be more expansive than just printing.” 

Then GPO’s Matt Landgraf detailed the success of GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDSys), a one-stop site offering authentic, published government information on all three branches of the government. He said GPO is in the process of replacing its older composition system with an XML-based system

The U.N.’s Narendra Nandoe talked about his efforts to make U.N. documents available on mobile phones and the move to a new content management system. He also detailed how Superstorm Sandy had destroyed the U.N.’s in-plant.

“When Sandy hit New York, the water from the Hudson River came up over FDR Drive and flooded the plant,” he recounted. The 140-employee in-plant had been transitioning from an offset to a digital operation, so Nandoe decided not to replace the presses with the insurance money but accelerate his digital plans. Today, with 35 on staff, the all-digital operation uses Canon equipment. 

Describing the World Bank‘s in-plant, Jimmy Vainstein noted that print and multimedia are under the same umbrella, enabling the Bank’s messages to be delivered using many different channels, such as live streaming, e-books, video, signage and, of course, printed materials. To help in that, the in-plant added a production inkjet press. Vainstein demonstrated the in-plant’s use of augmented reality apps; by using a mobile device to scan a floor decal that the in-plant printed, users were able to view a video about combating world poverty. 

Another speaker, Kelly Hogg, of the University of Virginia’s 32-employee in-plant, talked about his offset and digital operation, which boasts $4.3 million in sales, or about $135,000 per employee. His goal is to increase that to $155,000 per employee. The in-plant includes four copy centers, which produce 39 million impressions a year. It also handles bulk mailing and processed 1.8 million pieces in FY 2013. 

Gilles Biscos, president of Interquest, and Toby Cobrin, director at Interquest, each presented key market trends in the use of digital printing and multi-channel communications, citing their research. A panel of executives from Canon, EFI and Xerox also offered updates. The closing session featured a panel of managers from Anne Arundel Community College, the Library of Congress, Navy Federal Credit Union and Norfolk State University discussing digital color printing, electronic delivery, opportunities and challenges.



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