Stephen F. Austin State University Named 'Print Center of the Year'September 2014
Stephen F. Austin State University Printing Services has been selected as the 2014 Print Center of the Year by the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA). The award recognizes an in-plant that excels in efficient management practices while furthering the objectives of the parent company. The Nacogdoches, Texas-based in-plant received the award at IPMA’s Annual Awards Banquet in Milwaukee in June.
Between 2007 and 2012, the in-plant’s sales declined from a high of $456,000 to a low of $344,000 as it struggled to maintain a presence as a meaningful resource for the university. To address the situation and improve its capabilities, the eastern Texas shop added digital printing equipment in 2010 and a Hasler M4000 folder/inserter in 2012. The staff of five full-time employees and two students made concerted efforts to improve quality levels and provide faster turnaround. Working with purchasing, they began to track printing that was being procured off-campus, which helped them understand printing costs and market trends in the local area. They generated new levels of confidence with their campus-wide customer base and began to re-grow their business.
Under the leadership of John Yerger as director of Printing Services, the in-plant began preparing monthly profit and loss reports comparing current expense and revenue to the previous year’s numbers.
“Using these reports, we were able to better control inventory levels of paper and other materials and reduce overbuying,” Yerger explains. He used the information about off-campus printing gathered from monitoring the previous year’s purchases to validate the competitiveness of the in-plant’s pricing and identify future opportunities for new products and services. The shop also used the information to target customers who had been buying off-campus and coax them to bring their work back into the in-plant.
“As we worked with campus departments on these new projects, we were then able to help them discover new marketing avenues to lower their production costs,” Yerger says.
In 2013, Printing Services concentrated on building upon the good will won in 2012 and continued their efforts to grow their direct mail, variable printing and fulfillment services and to expand into cross-media services as well. At the same time, they offered collaborative avenues to share information and print opportunities between departments, lowering departments’ costs by sharing mailings and combining printings.
Overtime was essentially eliminated through efficient scheduling. Material costs were kept at a minimum due to proper inventory procedures. Remakes and waste were reduced through consistent quality control monitoring. University Printing Services saw a 29 percent increase in sales for 2013.
“By the end of 2013, University Printing Services had not only experienced increased sales, but made a small profit of $12,435—its first profitable year in the last eight years,” Yerger reports.