New In-plant Facility Boosts Efficiency at EMC Insurance
Effective in-plant managers tend to spend large portions of their workdays in their printing facilities. This is certainly the case for Nate Riggins, graphics and production supervisor at EMC Insurance Companies, in Des Moines, Iowa.
But getting from his office to the print shop wasn’t always as fast and convenient as it is today. For his first three years at EMC, Riggins traveled daily between his office on the sixth floor and the basement print shop.
“Riding elevators up and down all day long, maybe 20 times a day, just trying to manage the print shop was not very efficient,” admits Riggins. “It was a big time waster.”
At the end of each elevator ride to the basement was a cramped, windowless facility with no humidity controls.
“It was a very dreary-looking place to work,” recalls Riggins.
That all changed in late March 2017 when EMC opened a brand-new four-story building as part of its continuous improvement initiatives. The first floor of the facility is wholly dedicated to the print shop. With street-facing windows, state-of-the art environmental controls and an efficient equipment layout, the 4,910-sq.-ft. facility demonstrates how highly EMC values its in-plant.
“It’s an awesome facility,” praises Riggins. “It’s 100% better and a really great working environment.”
For Riggins, the best part about the new print facility is that he and his graphic design team are finally together with the rest of the in-plant team.
“That’s helped me to consistently see what’s going on,” he says. “I can actually manage the way I need to and keep an eye on things a little better.”
EMC’s in-plant has an array of equipment, ranging from a Multigraphics 1450 duplicator for envelope printing, to Canon black-and-white printers, as well as Xerox digital color printers. A Canon imagePROGRAF iPF8400 handles wide-format printing of posters and banners. The shop also prints booklets, marketing materials, business cards, holiday cards, menus for the on-site cafeteria, envelopes, posters, banners and much more. All of these jobs are being produced much faster thanks to the new facility, Riggins says.
“We’re able to get jobs out a little quicker just because things are more streamlined and less confusing,” he notes.
Riggins was able to position equipment in the new facility so that work flows logically from the printers to the bindery and then out to shipping and receiving.
“The workflow is very streamlined,” he says. “Communication is also better than it was.” This further eliminates delays.
The in-plant’s ability to provide faster turnaround is one of the main reasons EMC opted to build a new facility instead of closing it and outsourcing printing.
“We’re part of the support services within the company, and we’re here for our customers,” says Riggins. “We have quick turnaround that outsourcing just can’t match. Plus, the cost would be just crazy for rush jobs.”
For the in-plant, rush jobs are part of the normal business routine. “We know rush jobs are going to come, and we’re more than happy to get [them] done,” he remarks.
It certainly helps that the in-plant is now in a more centralized location on the EMC campus. A customer service window makes it more convenient for customers to pick up proofs and jobs. Customers, Riggins says, love the new facility, and vendors have told him it’s the nicest print shop in the city.
Riggins shows his gratitude for the new print shop by continuing to save the company money and seeking new opportunities to produce printed materials in-house.
“I just continually look for different avenues to bring [work] that was outsourced into our plant,” he says. “That’s something that I’ve really been pushing.”
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.