Texas University In-plants Gather in HoustonDecember 1, 2010
In October, the Texas Association of College and University Printers (TACUP) joined forces with the Southwest Association of College and University Mail Services (SWACUMS) for a conference at the University of Houston (UH). Co-hosted by Sally J. Rowland-Ketley, director of UH Printing and Postal Services, and Ute Franklin, manager of Rice University Delivery Services, the conference drew 47 attendees from more than 10 schools.
The theme this year was “Will You Win, Place or Show in Your In-plant’s Race for Success?” Sessions urged managers to choose the road to advancement and progress rather than remaining with the status quo.
Jerry Sampson of xpedx was the first keynote speaker, and he took the conference theme to heart. He emphasized that the in-plant must be seen as a winner in its competitive field by offering innovation and new services—especially services that the print-for-pay market is beating them with (e.g. scanning/archiving, photo books). Like famous racehorse Secretariat, he said, in-plants must be so good that they blow away the field.
Charlie Holden, senior manager for Administrative Services at the Houston Independent School District, described how she has successfully challenged facilities management firms at their own game and now runs printing facilities for several outside organizations. Her shop recently installed a four-color Presstek 52DI direct imaging offset press.
Other speakers included Dr. Jerry Waite, coordinator of digital media at UH, who told printers to redefine themselves as “graphic communicators” whose job it is to help customers get the right message to the right person using the right mix of media. Howie Fenton, of NAPL, discussed trends and challenges faced by university in-plants. Greg Cholmondeley, Ricoh’s in-plant segment marketing manager, gave advice on how to demonstrate the true value of your print shop. Representatives of the USPS provided insight into mail piece design, intelligent bar codes and new USPS services.
One conference highlight was a presentation by motivational speaker and customer service expert Suzanne Penley, who gave attendees some sound advice on customers’ perceptions.
More than 20 vendors helped sponsor the conference, participating in a two-day vendor fair that provided a good look at various services, technologies and partnerships. The event also included tours of both UH Printing and Postal Services, and Rice University Delivery Services.
The co-conference was such a success that it was agreed that a combined TACUP/ SWACUMS conference will be held next year. Glen Hulme and Glen Bradford, of Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, will host that event.