I have attended and been a part of a number of in-plant events and conferences the last five years. Show and event attendees marvel about how valuable it is to meet and talk with other in-plant managers. And while February was the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association's (IPMA) in-plant awareness month— an event designed to raise awareness of in-plants inside of their parent organizations— I don't know that in-plants are doing all that they can to be aware of each other. This kind of in-plant awareness didn't occur to me until I was part of a recent event here in Rochester. We often assume that in-plants know each other and that they know about resources in the industry like In-plant Graphics and the Associations like IPMA and ACUP (the Association of College and University printers). This is an incorrect assumption. At the Rochester event about 2/3 of attendees were not aware of these resources. I found at last Fall's Graph Expo there were in-plant operations many people- including me- hadn't ever heard of, and these in-plants did not know about these resources, either. New people are entering the in-plant community. These new comers likely won't know who their fellow in-plants are or about these resources unless we share these resources with them.
We Can All Raise Awareness
It's critical to the future of the in-plant community to take a moment and reach out to other local in-plants. Introduce yourself. Suggest you meet to talk about each of your operations. You never know how you might be able to help each other. YOU are a resource and inviting someone in to show off your shop is a great morale boost for staff. Offer this blog post, the above magazine, association links and other resources that you know to a fellow in-plant. Suggest to another in-plant that you attend a meeting, show or conference. Do whatever it takes to raise awareness between you and other in-plants.
Fellow vendor peers, I encourage you as well, to share these and your own resources with your in-plant contacts. Encourage them to connect with each other and facilitate introductions.
Without awareness of each other, the in-plant community risks overlooking the new ideas, approaches and knowledge that come from meeting each other and that will keep the community vital and relevant. Ensure your future, share this post today with another in-plant. Let them know that you are aware of them!