Vanderbilt University: Traditional, with Additional
Nearly 88 years since its first radio broadcast, the Grand Ole Opry remains Nashville's number-one attraction by showcasing a carefully considered and ever-evolving mix of classic and contemporary country music.
Vanderbilt University Printing Services, about a 20-minute drive from the Opry in the country-music capital, has followed a similarly well-balanced and crowd-pleasing path. The 53-year-old in-plant continues to thrive by combining a well-established, bustling offset operation with burgeoning business opportunities and digital solutions to meet and exceed customer demand.
Like the Opry, the in-plant works hard to keep the show going strong.
Printing Services serves Vanderbilt out of two facilities, one on-campus retail store and a 25,000-square-foot main production facility located off campus. The in-plant is managed by Director Tom Fox, Assistant Director Sean Carroll and Production Manager Brian Waack.
The production facility handles about two-thirds of the university's printing needs, including jobs for admissions, recruiting, alumni relationships, development, fundraising and athletics.
"We manage 50 or so projects annually for the admissions office, with great success," Fox reports. "We make recommendations to clients based on their annual usage and look for sweet spots in terms of needs and cost."
With a staff of 30 and annual revenue of $4.5 million, Vanderbilt's shop isn't the largest university in-plant; however, it is among the busiest. It runs three shifts for offset production and two shifts for digital printing.
Traditional offset work is the in-plant's mainstay.
"Our offset-to-digital ratio is about three-to-one in terms of volume and dollars," calculates Fox. "The number of orders for each is probably similar; it's just that, of course, the offset projects are much bigger."
The in-plant operates five sheetfed offset presses, but the undisputed workhorse is its six-color Heidelberg, which produces 12 million to 14 million impressions per year—approximately 80 percent of the shop's offset workload.