Helping Yale Look its Best

The management team at Yale Printing & Publishing Services poses in the Linonia and Brothers Reading Room inside Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library. From the left: Frank Savino (associate director, production operations), Maria McLellan (associate director, pre-production operations), Jeffrey Gworek (director), Jill Johnson (financial manager) and Jim Mathewson (manager, distributed printing & copying program).

Frank Savino inspects a job printed on Yale Printing & Publishing Services’ Xerox Color 1000 digital press.

Patricia Smith stands with one of the two Xerox Nuvera 144EA printers, which are used to print Yale’s diplomas.

The in-plant uses its two-color AB Dick 9985, shown here with operator Don Frigo, to print stationery, business forms and two-color brochures.

John Nieman runs a job on the Standard Horizon SPF-20 booklet maker.

Alex Nestir prints a poster on the HP Designjet 5500 wide-format printer.

Jaison Ashford runs envelopes through the Secap Jet 1 addressing machine.

It’s no surprise that a top school like Yale University has a stellar in-plant behind it, providing unrivaled print quality and launching unique money-saving programs.

As universities look to expand, the space occupied by their in-plants can seem awfully attractive. Not every in-plant survives this real estate envy.

That was the scenario at Yale Printing & Publishing Services (YPPS) in 2008, when the university decided to begin construction of a new Yale School of Management. The in-plant’s 15,000-square-foot operation was located in a building that was scheduled for demolition. To determine whether outsourcing made sense, the university did a complete financial review of the in-plant. The study revealed that it would be more costly to close the shop and outsource than to move it.

“Strictly from a numbers standpoint, it was a very long payback to eliminate the operation,” says Jeff Gworek, director of the 57-employee in-plant.

But the review found something else too.

“It was deemed that we provided excellent services to these folks inside the university,” he says.

So with that strong endorsement, the in-plant moved a mile and a half into a new 22,200-square-foot facility—located in what was once a Winchester firearm factory—in the newer Science Park section of New Haven, Conn. In addition to gaining 7,000 square feet, a climate-controlled plant, a warehouse area and an improved workflow, the shop managed to cut its rent payments in half.

The lesson Gworek took from that 2009 evaluation is one that still guides him today: to stay in business, the in-plant must maintain those cost savings and excellent service levels—and make sure the university knows about them.

“I advertise the value-added savings continually,” he remarks. “We document all of those savings and I publish those savings on a regular basis.”

He keeps a score card that details them and sends it to upper management.

Saving money, though, has been increasingly challenging in these times of budget reductions. Customers are printing less. Since FY2009, the shop’s jobs have decreased from 18,983 to 15,644. And because the in-plant is prohibited from insourcing, finding new customers is difficult. As a result, the shop lost $960,000 in FY2011.

Gworek, however, managed to offset this with $2.5 million in value-added savings. The in-plant instituted several managed programs for the university, including MFDs, printers, supplies and print procurement. It negotiated a paper deal with Mohawk to get Yale a big discount, which saved the university $130,000 last year. To reduce what Yale was paying to lease postage machines all over campus, Gworek implemented a program where, for $25 a month, the in-plant will pick up outgoing mail from departments and post it, if they agree to give up their postage machines.

“We have been able to get rid of about 100 of those, with a savings of $170,000 a year in lease payments,” he says.

Quality Improvements

In addition to saving money for Yale, the in-plant has focused on improving the quality of its printing. To that end, it recently replaced its Xerox DocuColor 8000 with a new Xerox Color 1000 digital press.

“It’s spectacular,” Gworek lauds. “The output is amazing.”

The press uses low-melt EA Dry Ink, which requires no fuser oil to deliver 2,400×2,400-dpi offset quality at 100 pages per minute. Thanks to that press, the in-plant just won three awards in the In-Print 2012 contest, the first time it entered. Gworek and his staff are very proud of that fact.

“Winning these awards just demonstrates the fact that we do good work, and it’s very exciting to be recognized as being among the best at what we do,” Gworek says. “We are thrilled.”

Along with the Color 1000 came two new Xerox 700 digital color presses, which the shop is using for business color jobs. These three color machines, along with the shop’s two Xerox Nuvera 144EA and two Xerox 4127 black-and-white digital printers, produce posters, booklets, annual reports, conference programs and much more for the university.

The in-plant even prints Yale’s diplomas, arguably its most important job. The files arrive on a Friday and are printed the same day, to be ready for graduation on Monday. They are printed on the Nuveras using card stock with a blind embossed seal. Then a team of four employees from the secretery’s office checks each diploma by hand. If they find even the smallest speck or mark, the in-plant will reprint that diploma. All together, the in-plant will print 1,500 to 1,600 diplomas.

To print stationery, business forms and two-color brochures, the in-plant uses a two-color AB Dick 9985 and a pair of one-color AB Dick 9800s with T-heads. Plates are made on a Mitsubishi SPD-Eco1630 platemaker.

On the front end, the in-plant uses a homemade order entry system, along with the Avanti order entry module, to get jobs into the shop. Xerox Freeflow Process Manager handles prepress workflow automation. RSA’s QDirect routes jobs and manages output. And Avanti’s Print Management System handles estimating, job scheduling and tracking, shop floor data collection, invoicing, chargebacks, inventory control and more.

The in-plant prides itself on its fast turnaround. “It you need it today, we’ll get it to you today,” assures Gworek. “If we can’t get it done here, we’re going to go outside and get it for you.”

The in-plant bids jobs out to a network of local printers to find the best price.

Adding Services, Adding Value

Gworek is always on the lookout for new services the in-plant can provide.

“The printing business is changing,” he remarks. “If we do not look for alternatives for traditional types of printing, we’re going to continue to lose revenue and we’re going to continue to shrink, and we will not be able to justify our existence.”

One new type of business the in-plant has gotten into is providing signs for campus shuttle buses. The in-plant sells the advertising space to Yale customers and prints 13×24˝ signs that include QR codes, which riders can scan on their smart phones to get more information.

“We’re seeing a wide range of interest,” Gworek says.

The in-plant is also providing some signage for university fleet vehicles.

Scanning for records management and retention is another new business the shop has gotten into.

“We’ve done close to 2 million pages in the last year and a half of scanned records,” Gworek says. “It’s not a tremendous revenue source, but it’s a cost avoidance to the ­university.”

The in-plant is moving into transactional scanning too. It currently uses HP and Xerox FreeFlow scanners, and has two Opex scanners on order.

Though the in-plant cannot insource printing from non-university customers, it is able to look to affiliated organizations. Recently the Yale New Haven Hospital, where some Yale Medical School professors practice, was looking to change its print vendor. Gworek gave them a presentation and is hopeful this business will come his way.

Another opportunity arrived when Science Park Business Services, an outside copy shop utilized by Yale Medical School, offered to turn over its business to the in-plant if it would hire its two employees. This would be $475,000 in additional revenue. The in-plant is in the process of making this happen, and is considering opening a satellite operation at the medical school.

Gworek knows that his in-plant must continually focus on getting more efficient, minimizing bottlenecks and reducing rework. To monitor this, he relies on Avanti’s Print Management System, which uses JDF data to track productivity by transferring data between the Xerox digital printers and the system.

“We can collect the amount of time that was taken to run the job, we can count the amount of paper that was used on the job,” he says. “You want to be able to make sure you’re minimizing waste. One of the things you can do is look at the output to be able to determine, OK, we said we’re going to run 100 of these. Did we actually run 100? Or did we use 200 sheets because something went wrong?”

This data is helping him keep the in-plant as efficient as possible.

“Without a first right of refusal on work, it is critical to strive to be as operationally efficient as possible,” Gworek remarks. “This means finding ways to reduce our operating costs, present value-added service options to our customers, and develop new business opportunities.

“While this will help ensure the long term success of the operation it is also so important to tell your story as often and to as many people as possible to remind them of the value we provide the university,” he concludes. “We want them to think of us first when they have a job. If we can’t do it for them in-house, we will find a way to get it done.”

Related story: Yale's In-plant Relocation Saves Big Money

Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.

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