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Keys to Our Success

Making your in-plant an integral part of your parent organization is essential to your survival. One manager who has done this shares the secrets to his success.

December 2013 By Gordon Rivera
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It's been a rough road the last several years for in-plant printers. Disruptive technologies, economic uncertainty and the threat of being outsourced have taken their toll.

For some, it's been an auspicious time to retire. For those of us left trying to keep our in-plants afloat, we have had to rethink, redesign, reinvent, retool, reorganize and challenge ourselves in order to sustain operations.

Being financially solvent used to be a benchmark for an in-plant's success. However, operating in the black is not a valid enough reason to justify our existence today. Even self-sustaining in-plants can find their operations being outsourced due to a capricious administrative decision made under the guise of "print is dead." To remain viable, today's in-plant must become indispensable to its parent organization, while at the same time not relying on its parent's resources for funding.

I was having this conversation with my department head when he asked if I'd be interested in presenting this topic at PRINT 13. Thrown out of my comfort zone, yet intrigued, I stewed over it awhile and thought, why not? IPG Editor Bob Neubauer, who happened to be at PRINT 13, got a glimpse of my presentation and asked if I would write a summary, the result of which is this article.

While not intended to be used for benchmarking purposes, I would like to share several keys to success, which, as we've implemented and integrated them over the years, have made Campus Graphics a flagship department for our parent organization, Allan Hancock College (AHC).

Key 1: Generate External Revenue

Pursuing revenue-generating strategies has been, by far, the greatest game changer for Campus Graphics. Every year we increase our external revenue more than 30 percent. We have reduced our financial footprint to the college by more than 45 percent over the last few years and have not had one budget augmentation in the 15 years since the inception of the operation. By developing solid customer relationships with our targeted market base, we have been able to draw from consistent and appreciable revenue sources when we want to buy equipment or increase our staffing. In doing so, we remain in good standing with the executive leadership of the college, who know what we do and appreciate our entrepreneurial spirit.

About the Author

Gordon Rivera is a graphic communication industry lecturer at Cal Poly, in San Luis Obispo, and the coordinator for Campus Graphics at Allan Hancock College, a California public community college. He can be reached at






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