Climbing Back to Profitability
When former U.S. President Bill Clinton walked through his in-plant’s door in the fall during a campaign visit, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Gary Warren, supervisor of Print and Document Services at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. But bringing his in-plant back from a deficit and far along the path to profitability, he says, has been far more rewarding.
Warren spent 20 years managing the Digital Print Center at the Ohio State University’s Wooster campus before news of an opening at UNC Pembroke, combined with a desire to relocate to the Carolinas, lured him south. Under previous management, the in-plant had been losing customers to outside printers. Revenue declined as a result, leading to an operational deficit.
UNC Pembroke’s Director of Auxiliary Services Karen Swiney did an audit to determine the in-plant’s fate, and called in noted in-plant consultant Ray Chambers to assess the operation. His study concluded that the in-plant, if utilized more by the university, would be a cost-effective, valuable partner. So UNC Pembroke opted to keep the shop running, and hired Warren to restore it to profitability.
“When I came in, I started reevaluating the jobs, and we started keeping more in-house,” he says.
He was aided by a major show of support from Executive Director of University Communications and Marketing Jodi Phelps, who made it clear that all printing should be routed to the in-plant, where Warren would decide whether to print it there or outsource it.
“She just knew that it would keep everything on brand and the consistency would be better,” Warren says. Brand consistency is “very, very important” to the university he says. The school’s official PMS 872 metallic gold has to look the same every time it’s printed. By trusting Warren to get bids and outsource work to reliable printers, then inspect the result for brand compliance, Phelps knew the university would get the best possible quality in its marketing materials.
Campus departments with a history of using outside vendors are starting to notice the in-plant’s quality improvements and are sending it more of their work.
“We’re starting to bring in our Athletics department,” Warren reveals. Printing materials for the UNC Pembroke Braves, such as wall murals, will bring high visibility to the in-plant.
Since starting at the in-plant, Warren says he has cut the deficit significantly, and by the end of this year he expects to be showing a profit.
Flood Claims Equipment
Amidst all this good news, however, Print and Document Services experienced a setback in October 2016 when Hurricane Matthew hit the area hard.
“We got 15˝ of rain within 24 hours,” he says. Though stock and finished jobs were up on pallets and undamaged, the flood took out several pieces of equipment, including Canon imagePRESS C700 and C800 production printers and a Morgana creaser/folder. They were not insured.
Warren was able to renew the lease with Canon and took delivery of a pair of imagePRESS C800s with in-line saddle stitching. He got $3,000 as a trade-in for the Morgana and used that toward the purchase of a Duplo CF-375 folder.
“It’s much easier to set up,” Warren says of the new folder. Once it’s running, it does not need much attention, he adds, and never jams.
The in-plant also recently enhanced its wide-format printing capabilities with a new Mimaki CJV150-160 eco-solvent printer-cutter. It will complement an existing Canon imagePROGRAF iPF 9400 aqueous printer, which gets steady business producing many of the canvas wraps being hung in university buildings. The Mimaki will produce items like outdoor banners, window clings and contour-cut decals. He even has plans to print and install a vehicle wrap on the in-plant’s delivery vehicle.
Warren is thankful for the support he gets from Director of Auxiliary Services Karen Swiney, who is a big fan of Print and Document Services. And he also credits the hard work of his two full-time employees and three student workers for the in-plant’s turnaround.
“I came here because I wanted a challenge,” he says. “It’s been very rewarding.”
Related story: Former US President Pays Surprise Visit to NC In-plant
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.