Mail Keeps Omaha In-plant Strong

Some of the key managers at the Physicians Mutual Mail Processing Center include (standing, from left) Mike Lesley, lead print operator; Scott Schulte, master scheduler; Aji George, production manager; John Stokes, lead machine operator; Ed Daywalt, warehouse supervisor; and Rob French, lead print operator. Seated are Sherry Monico (left), assistant vice president of the Mail Processing Center; and Barb Thompson, quality control manager.

Mike Lesley, lead print operator, runs one of the in-plant’s  Xerox DocuColor 8000 digital presses.

Showing off the in-plant’s MCS Perfect Match read-and-print system are (from left) Mike Lesley, lead print operator; Shawn Loch, print operator; and Aji George, production manager.

Standing with one of the in-plant’s four Pitney Bowes Flowmaster inserters are (from left) Ed Daywalt, warehouse supervisor; Barb Thompson, quality control manager; Sherry Monico, assistant vice president; and Aji George, production manager.

With an impressive array of digital printing and mailing firepower, the Physicians Mutual Mail Processing Center is one of the busiest in-plants around.

Combining internal print and mail operations can place an in-plant in a much more secure position, since mail is often viewed as more mission critical to an organization. Nationally, 60 percent of in-plants have gotten this message and are providing mailing services to their parent organizations, according to IPG research.

One great example is the 42-employee print and mail operation at Physicians Mutual, in Omaha, Neb. Equipped with an arsenal of digital printing and high-tech inserting gear, the operation processes between 30 and 35 million mail pieces a year for the health and life insurance company.

With direct mail playing such an important part in the company’s success, the in-plant’s expertise is highly valued by upper management. This has fostered some very dedicated in-plant employees.

“Nobody cares more about our work than we do,” remarks Sherry Monico, assistant vice president of the Mail Processing Center, which is located in a 92,000-square-foot facility in the northeastern part of the city, near the airport. With an annual operating budget of $3.6 million, the in-plant produces more than 45,000 jobs a year.

To handle this volume, the operation uses an array of Xerox equipment, including two DocuColor 8000s, two Xerox 495 continuous feed printers, two DocuPrint 135 MICR printers and two DocuTech 180 HighLight Color printers, supplemented by a pair of Konica Minolta bizhub PRO 1200s. About a quarter of the work is full color, Monico says, and 95 percent of it contains variable data.

‘First Stop’ for Marketing

The in-plant works closely with the company’s marketing department to produce promotional and direct mail pieces. In fact, marketing approaches the operation very early in the process for each new project.

“We are the first stop,” Monico says. “We have the right of first refusal in everything that they do.”

Related story: Mutual Benefit

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.

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  • Supplies Group

    Nice information on Xerox