Changing With the Times

Jimmy Vainstein

At The World Bank’s Printing & Multimedia Services operation, John Farrell, press operator, discusses a press proof via video conference with Ashley Childers, customer service.

Flat screens in the production area show important job information to employees. Standing with the digital signage are Antonino Smillo, Jason Barrett and Juan Arias.

By incorporating advanced workflow, proofing, video conferencing and digital signage technologies into its operation, The World Bank's Printing & Multimedia Services unit shows in-plants what their future may look like.

The World Bank’s Printing & Multimedia Services operation went through a roller coaster of changes last year when we moved our main printing facility 11 miles away from downtown Washington, D.C., to Landover, Md. The move was part of our institution’s space realignment project, which affected a section of our facilities downtown. Our operation was split, with our production staff relocating to Maryland and our customer service reps (CSRs), designers and others remaining in downtown Washington.

With a divided operation we had a long list of questions that demanded immediate answers if we were to offer continuity of our services and a seamless transition during our move. It was clear that we needed to re-think our operation and make a good number of workflow adjustments.

As in-plant managers, we tend to pursue changes only when absolutely necessary. Big workflow shifts are typically driven by equipment or systems acquisitions that require our operations to change to allow the new pieces to fit. Unless there is a radical reason for change, the meaning of the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” takes special significance in our line of work; we try not to mess with a good thing unless we absolutely must. Workflow revisions tend to be a matter of adapting instead of evolving.

At the World Bank, we certainly needed to do some major adapting if we were to continue successfully serving our customers. Our main concern was the large distance between our operational groups. CSRs could no longer print a job ticket and walk to the print shop to drop an order in the press area. Press operators were no longer able to walk to the office to physically show a press proof in order to explain a print problem. Above all else, we were faced with having a disconnection between the staff at our two locations after interacting together under the same roof for years.

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