Using Technology to Help Build Enrollment
Technology is part of its name, and Rochester Institute of Technology’s in-plant knows how to use it to help the university thrive.March 2012
The strategic value of an in-plant all comes down to how well it meets its internal customers' needs. So when the Admissions department at Rochester Institute of Technology—the biggest customer of RIT's Print and Postal Hub—turned to Director John Meyer for help with increasing enrollment, he gave the project his full attention.
Admissions had set a goal to increase enrollment by 10 percent a year for the next 10 years. It wanted to send personalized printed admissions materials to prospective students to prompt them to visit a personalized Web site.
Meyer quickly found a solution using XMPie's variable data publishing software. He and his team had it up and running in just two weeks. After Admissions identified –potential students to target, the in-plant created personalized application forms that included information on the students, captured from a variety of data sources. A personalized URL (pURL) in the printed form directed each recipient to his or her own microsite where they were prompted to provide additional information.
"The first time we did this application in the fall of 2007, we produced 33,000 personalized applications," Meyer recalls. "We have increased it every year, and we did 103,000 this year."
This is just one example of how valuable in-plants can be to their parent organizations. Since enhancing the organization's success is always a top priority, in-plants are constantly looking for opportunities like this to use their expertise to help the organization thrive.
One reason RIT's Print and Postal Hub was able to quickly jump in with a solution is because the 20-employee in-plant had all the required technology on hand. "Technology," after all, is part of the school's name, and the in-plant certainly knows how to use it.
The shop was an early investor in production digital color. It installed a Xerox iGen3 in 2005 to complement its existing digital black-and-white devices and offset presses, then upgraded to an iGen4 in 2010. That same year, it opened an On Demand Center on campus, fortifying it with a Xerox 700 for digital color, a Xerox Nuvera for black-and-white jobs and some wide-format digital printing devices. The in-plant now has five locations providing print and mail for the Rochester, N.Y., campus.
Digital Production Management
Operational efficiency is a priority for the in-plant, Meyer notes.
"We implemented an Avanti print MIS system to streamline operations and enhance our overall efficiency," he says. "Jobs are in the system within an hour of receipt, estimates are done the same day and billing and chargebacks are automatic."