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Southern Expansion

October 1999
Mike Chapman, print manager for Habitat for Humanity International, has moved his in-plant into a new facility that's three times as large.

LOOKING FOR work straight out of high school, Mike Chapman consulted a friend whose father was a manager for a local Atlanta print shop. He took an entry-level position there, and immediately knew that he had made the right decision.

"Once I got printing in my blood I knew I wanted to be a printer," recalls Chapman, now print manager for Habitat for Humanity International. But in between his first job and his current one, he did a bit of traveling.

First he moved to Tennessee to take a press operator job with World Color Press. Later, the industry took him as far away as Nebraska. Far from home, Chapman grew restless. Then, six years ago, he heard of an opening back in Georgia, with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization committed to building affordable housing in partnership with people in need.

The opening was for the print manager position at the struggling in-plant. At the time the shop had a 20-year-old, "worn-out" A.B.Dick press, Chapman says. It also had just purchased a Ryobi 522, but the press was an odd size for the work the shop was doing. These equipment deficiencies resulted in a lot of outsourcing and extra costs for the organization.

Chapman got the job and went right to work updating the in-plant, located in Americus, Ga. He traded in the Ryobi for 19x25˝ Omni and upgraded the A.B.Dick with an Itek press. He also brought in new folding and cutting equipment, and later added a second collator to the shop.

"We were sending out quite a bit of work," Chapman notes. These improvements proved to be the answer to the outsourcing problem. The nine-employee shop now boasts it is saving the organization over $500,000 per year. Chapman feels these savings have given the in-plant good exposure within the organization and have built trust with its customers. Those good feelings have resulted in a larger facility for the in-plant.

Equity Equals Expansion

In mid-September, the in-plant shed its cramped 4,300-square-foot shop and moved into a 15,000-square-foot facility formerly used as a warehouse. In anticipation of the move, Chapman brought in representatives from the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation to consult on how to best set up the new shop. Vendors like Primesource, Xerox and Pitney Bowes assisted in moving and setting up equipment.
 

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