Big Upgrades at Methodist Healthcare

Print Center Director Michael Schaefer (left) justified an influx of new equipment at his in-plant by calculating the savings that will result from reducing outsourcing, increasing up-time and enabling more efficient practices. With him here is Geoff Crabtree, senior vice president at Methodist Healthcare System.

Michael Schaefer shows off the new Duplo DC-645 slitter/cutter/creaser recently added to his in-plant—one of several pieces of new printing and bindery equipment, including a Xerox iGen4 and a Xerox Color 1000 Press.

“A business card is very personal. It’s representative of the individual,” explains Michael Schaefer, Print Center director at Methodist Healthcare System. “So I tell the employees, ‘You may think it’s just a card, but that’s got their name on it.’”

No one wants to hand out a personal business card that has clamp marks on it from a cutter, he says, or is trimmed unevenly. To spare customers that embarrassment, the San Antonio-based in-plant recently installed a Duplo DC-645 slitter/cutter/creaser, primarily to trim business cards. Now, Schaefer says, those cards have a much cleaner, more impressive look.

The DC-645 can also score thank-you cards and table tents, obviating the need to outsource the scoring and saving the company money. An employee can load the machine with thank-you cards to be scored, turn it on and then go do something else.

“Now I can have an employee perform two tasks instead of one,” Schaefer remarks.

The Duplo DC-645 isn’t all that’s new at the eight-employee in-plant. In recent months it has added:

  • A Xerox iGen4 digital color press
  • A Xerox Color 1000 Press with a Plockmatic booklet make
  • Two Xerox D125 monochrome light production printers
  • A CP Bourg booklet maker, inline with an existing Nuvera 120 EA
  • RSA WebCRD software
  • XMPie software

Initially, Schaefer did not think the in-plant could afford all this new equipment, but after crunching numbers, he created an ROI model that showed the in-plant could remain budget neutral, and possibly return a savings, by adding the equipment. The savings, he said, will result from eliminating some outsourcing, printing three-up on the iGen4 and experiencing more up-time with the newer equipment, resulting in more throughput.

The iGen4 replaces the in-plant’s iGen3, which it had been using for nearly eight years. “It was time to upgrade,” confirms Schaefer. Combined with the additional capacity of the Color 1000, the in-plant is now prepared for nearly any type of project.

“The print quality is different on both,” Schaefer contends. With more of a matte look, the iGen4 is more cost-effective because of its 26˝ sheet, which allows the shop to print three-up. The Color 1000, with its inline booklet maker, is better for booklets, or jobs where the color really needs to “pop.”

“For certain applications, you want that high-gloss look, and the Color [1000] Press provides that,” Schaefer says.

He notes that the in-plant is doing a lot more variable data printing these days, aided by its new XMPie software, which allows the in-plant to print variable images as well as text.

“We hope to get a much better response rate doing that,” he says.

The WebCRD software is replacing a homemade online ordering system.

“The big thing it’s going to do for us right now is, the client can see what they’re ordering,” he says, referring to the on-screen proof they see. “In health care, that’s important because you need to make sure the client has the right form.”

WebCRD will also offer internal customers cost estimates and status updates for the first time, negating the need for them to call Schaefer and ask.

“I can’t wait for my phone calls to drop off,” he laughs. The software will go live by year’s end, he says.

With the quality of the in-plant’s printing and cutting now much improved thanks to the new gear, and productivity up due to the reliability of the new machines, things are looking good for the Print Center, Schaefer says.

“I’m smiling a lot more this year,” he says.

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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