Borderline Victory: DI Press Brings Work In-house
It's a familiar story: an organization needs the space occupied by its in-plant, so the in-plant is sent packing. Most of the time no studies are done on whether this is a cost-effective plan; an administrator just makes the call, leaving the in-plant's customers to deal with the aftermath as best they can.
That's not exactly how it played out at the University of Texas-Pan American, though.
"Our Printing Services production area was displaced when the university needed the space for a new civil engineering program," relates Robert Cantu, associate director of Auxiliary Services, which includes Printing Services. "This started a discussion about whether the university needed an in-plant in light of the investment that would be required to retrofit any new space we might be assigned."
So the Edinburg, Texas, university, which lies about 20 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border, issued a Request for Proposal to outsource the operation, to see if there would actually be any cost savings for the 86-year-old university, which serves nearly 20,000 students with a faculty of about 800.
"All of the responses we received were print management proposals, which would be more expensive than internally operating our own services," reports Cantu. "That left us with the opportunity to refresh our production platform as we made the move to an off-campus production location."
At the time these discussions were occurring, Print Services was already outsourcing most of its four-color printing. The in-plant had an older one-color Heidelberg offset press with chemistry-based platemaking, as well as a Xerox DocuColor 242 and a Xerox 4127 black-and-white printer.
"The issue we were facing with this production platform was long lead times on color work produced in-house with less-than-optimal quality. Or, alternatively, exceeding our cap on clicks with the DocuColor 242, which raised our costs to an unacceptable level," Cantu says. "In addition, we faced the usual issues of lack of control over schedules and quality for work we were outsourcing."