A Wide Variety of Services at ISU
It may be 90 years old, but Iowa State's Printing and Copy Services operation won't allow itself to fall behind the curve. New services are keeping the in-plant fresh.February 2013 By Erik Cagle
Established 90 years ago to fill the educational mission of faculty, staff and students, Iowa State University Printing & Copy Services is constantly breathing new life into its products and services.
In recent years, the operation has enhanced its mix of offset and digital printing with services like wide-format printing, variable data and even T-shirt production. These capabilities, while giving the shop a modern, dynamic bent, were the result of careful, measured analysis, according to Director Steve Weigel. Printing & Copy Services has walked that fine line between leading-edge and bleeding-edge technology, he notes, in an effort to maintain competitiveness while ensuring the long-term viability of the operation.
"We don't like to jump into new technology too early; we prefer to allow new products to be thoroughly tested in the marketplace first," Weigel reports. "However, we do not want to fall behind because it can be too hard to catch up once you're lagging behind."
With an operating budget of approximately $4 million annually, Printing & Copy Services is housed in a 25,000-square-foot facility situated at the north end of the Cyclones' campus in Ames, Iowa. The in-plant boasts a staff of 31 full-time employees, whose ranks include many craftsmen with 20 to 30 years under their belts. About 12 to 15 student workers staff the four copy centers located on campus and assist with deliveries.
The shop has right of first refusal on university work, with roughly $1 million dollars' worth of printing bid out last year for jobs where the sheet size was too large or the quantity too high. (A member of his management team handles all off-campus print purchasing.) But that still leaves plenty of jobs for the shop's offset and digital presses.
Printing & Copy Services churns out marketing and recruiting brochures, letterhead, envelopes, business cards and posters, not to mention flyers, campus maps, buttons, mailing labels and business reply cards. A lion's share of the printing is provided to the various educational departments, with students primarily accessing the four copy centers for their scholastic applications. Weigel estimates the breakdown of offset versus digital jobs at 50-50, although the trend is pulling more toward the digital side.
The Power of Variable Data