In-plant Audits Help Improve Performance
A new NAPL white paper outlines an action plan in-plants can use to effectively assess their productivity and cost-effectiveness.December 2011
WHENEVER ANYONE wants to put a positive spin on something, it's usually evidence that spin is needed because things are not that great. That was the impression NAPL Senior Consultant Howie Fenton had after attending the National Government Publishing Association (NGPA) conference and the in-plant programs at Graph Expo 2011 (including the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association luncheon). At all of these events, the shaky status of many in-plants was a common refrain.
For example, says Fenton, during the first five minutes of the NGPA conference, the opening speaker, Virginia Beach Deputy City Mayor Dave Hansen, "was supposed to make a simple welcoming speech, but instead spoke about how the budget for printing had been cut in his city because of the availability of mobile technologies, and that this decline had resulted in staff cuts."
Fortunately, adds Fenton, Hansen was followed by the Public Printer of the United States, William J. Boarman, who took a different tack in his keynote address. Boarman explained that, as a printer, he knows many people make incorrect assumptions about the costs associated with in-plants.
"I think [cutting staff] is a common misconception, and a false positive by managers who get rid of print shops," he said. "They think that by moving a line item that is very visible they will save money. Someone in a city council can look at this and say, 'There's $1.5 million that we can save,' but they don't know how much they are going to save in the long run.
"Often they lose track of the expense because it is broken out and into small numbers across multiple jobs and multiple vendors," said Boarman, "and may take years before anyone realizes that the older way was the cheaper way to do it."
'Prove and Improve'
"It was a good rebuttal," remarks Fenton, "but the overall threats to in-plants have been an underlying theme at all the in-plant shows this year, including ACUP (the Association of College and University Printers) and the IPMA show.
"Everyone who understands the importance and value of in-plant printing wants to paint an optimistic picture," he continues, "but the simple fact is that, with overall business down (affecting commercial in-plants), higher education enrollments down (affecting university –in-plants) and state budget cuts (affecting government in-plants), there is a greater focus on cutting services that are considered non-essential or could better be provided on an 'as-needed' basis. In-plants that want to survive must themselves cut costs, improve productivity and enhance ROI."
In-plant directors and managers may download NAPL's white paper, "How to Improve In-Plant Performance," at no charge by visiting: www.NAPLinplantwhitepaper.com.