The world of in-plants has, in many ways, always been a work in progress. A look at today’s in-plants reveals a sector continuing to evolve on a number of fronts. In-plants are seeking ways to gain control over print spend, upgrading systems, being more proactive in pursuing print jobs, and moving further into inkjet. It all comes down to an effort to add value to the organizations they serve.
Greater control of print spend
Over the past several years, a percentage of work has been outsourced by employees of organizations with in-plants, says Elisha Kasinskas, Marketing Director of Rochester Software Associates (Booth 4634).
That work could have either gone to the organizations’ in-plants or, at the least, its outsourcing and the quality of the printing could have been monitored by the in-plants. “Organizations are realizing they have no visibility into what is being spent,” Kasinskas says. “So they are saying we have to have visibility and control over what is being spent. They are using our software to gain visibility, insight, and control over what gets outsourced and to whom.”
Early adopters among in-plants are upgrading their systems, looking to leverage the software further, and using the software to gain efficiencies and add services, Kasinskas says. “There’s a lot of interest around variable data print,” she adds. “They haven’t always known how to take advantage of it. They are looking to us to better understand how to seize the opportunities.”
In-plants are increasingly examining what they can do to add value to the organizations they serve, Kasinskas says.
Web-to-print is “an opportunity to kind of re-launch the in-plant to the organization, display their capabilities, and make the point that they know the business better than any other provider, and have a larger stake in it,” she says. “They’re making the point that they understand better than others the branding, quality, and the integration with internal systems.”
Debbie Pavletich, Graphic Services Manager for Briggs & Stratton Corporation, and IPMA board member and vendor relations representative, also sees Web-to-print as a way to add value.
“Either in-plants currently have a Web-to-print system where they are working to identify ways to implement it within their organization to provide value and drive print to their facilities, or they are researching Web-to-print software options to find the solution that best fits their needs,” she says.
The initiative is tied to the goal of offering more transparency. In-plants are no longer just sitting around and accepting jobs. “You’re with customers, you’re on committees, you’re an integral part of the company,” Kasinskas says. “It’s a proactive approach that has the in-plant striving for additional work and remaining relevant to the organization.”
The in-plant at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio suffered for a while as a result of the trend cited at the top: outsourcing.
“They can go off-campus, and competition is heavy,” says Gary Boytos, Director of UT Print. “I now have a standard procedure of being 20–40% lower than any competing shop out there.”
The lower prices add value, which in turn has grown UT Print’s sales and increased its average billing per job ticket. The facility now prints t-shirts and mugs, has added an enormous investment in its display area, changed the way it prints research posters, and in general asks every day how it can provide value.
“Just because we’re an in-plant, they don’t have to use us,“ Boytos says. “So we try to offer excellent service and quality products at below market rates. Anything being done on the outside, we can do.”
Pavletich notes that in-plants are important to their parent organizations because they offer lower costs and have the parent organizations’ best interests in mind. An in-plant is always going to provide a lower cost to its organization, as long as it offers a high level of productivity and equipment utilization, she says.
As for Kasinskas, there is growth ahead for the in-plants that “get it,” she believes. “We see growth in color reproduction,” she comments. “I see them continually adding services and variable data print is one of those services.”