SUPDMC Brings Dozens of In-plants Together in NashvilleOctober 11, 2011 By Bob Neubauer
In October, the 36th annual Southeastern University Printing and Digital Managers Conference took place in Nashville, Tenn. Host Jack Williams, of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, welcomed more than 30 higher-ed in-plant managers from all over the southern U.S. and as far away as the state of Washington.
The first speaker was Ray Chambers, of the Chambers Management Group, who talked about the outsourcing myths commonly cited. Despite oft-repeated claims that outsourcing non-academic services saves money, little research has been done to validate whether savings actually occurred. On the contrary, he said, the data shows just the opposite.
He was followed by Catherine Chambers, of Virginia Tech, who led a discussion on how in-plants can use social media to promote themselves. She showed the Facebook pages of several in-plants as examples. Glenda Miley, of Auburn University, noted that her in-plant's Facebook page has more than 500 fans, largely students. The in-plant got many of them to "like" its page using free giveaways as a reward. Chambers also showed how the University of Texas-Austin uses YouTube to share videos of its services.
Vic Barkin then gave a presentation on the benefits of group FSC certification, which allows in-plants to share the cost of certification, dropping the price by half. This is one way in-plants can integrate with their parent organizations' sustainability goals, Barkin noted, and be a more valuable partner.
Eric Kempton, of Océ North America, wrapped up the first day with tips on how in-plants can better sell their value to customers. Come to every customer meeting armed with solutions, he advised—but ask a lot of questions before you offer them.
Tuesday's sessions began with Jerry Sampson, of xpedx, discussing how upper management analyzes whether to invest in its in-plant, and which criteria in-plants need to focus on. He was followed by IPG Editor Bob Neubauer, who gave a presentation on how in-plants can add value. He went over numerous new services he has seen in-plants adding to enhance their value.
The day finished off with a tour of Vanderbilt University's in-plant. For more conference coverage, check out the November issue of IPG.