- Elisha Kasinskas
- April 27, 2016
In-plant leaders that are growing their operations are engaged for the future. How are they doing this? In this fourth article in the series about the top five challenges facing in-plant print centers, we answer that question.
I spoke with four in-plants – State of Colorado, University of Oklahoma, Dynamic Funds, part of the third largest bank in Canada, and Michigan Farm Bureau – during a panel discussion at a major industry event, entitled "In-Plant Panel: Champions Engage for the Future," about how they are engaging for future growth.
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Champion In-Plants Proactively Engage for Future Growth
These leading in-plants are growing using different, yet successful strategies. One pushes to be at the forefront of all it does, proactively managing change. Two build and leverage relationships as the cornerstone for growth, and one has come through a decade of transformation utilizing methodical and sustainable steps to move the operation forward.
The Michigan Farm Bureau, a 200,000 member non-profit, has found that establishing a print governance committee, like the one that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) utilizes, has developed relationships throughout the organization. The committee has created a mechanism to educate and communicate to a wide range of people organization-wide that the in-plant selected to participate. Business Manager for the Michigan Farm Bureau Centralized Print and Mailing Services, Karen Meyers, said, "It's been very, very successful for us to be able to get in front of them. To know what's coming, and kind of be able to understand their needs, as well as educate them on the services that we can provide. Even though we're in the same building, we have a lot of people that didn't know what we did, what are our capabilities were. That's definitely been a great benefit for us."
Farther North in Toronto, Canada, Andrew Yee at Dynamic Funds (a part of The Bank of Nova Scotia "Scotiabank'), growth has been about building relationships so that they are "at the table" when projects are in development. Yee notes, "
[By] being at the table, and through the relationships that we have with the business lines that brings us in early enough, so that when they're talking about the concepts, they think of us ahead of time. As opposed to having print at the back end, so at least we're there giving them options as well, when they're talking with the agencies. It comes back to understanding the businesses, building new relationships, and something that I stress with my teammates is to always take time to talk about the project. It's not just we do it and we're done with it. We follow up. We see how it was and we measure it to say: 'Can we do it better? Can we do it faster? Can we do it cheaper?' It's one of the things that keeps us successful. It keeps us looking to the future, but also keeps us relevant."
University of Oklahoma's (OU) John Sarantakos and the University expect people to be at the forefront. Sarantakos has patterned the operation after that expectation, being proactive and finding ways to manage change. "What we've tried to do is to be proactive. To look ahead as much as we can. Stay in touch with our customers to find out what they're doing, and what they're needing. By doing that we can kind of get out ahead of things. Get the equipment, offer the services that the university and our other customers are requiring and needing. That's kind of how we've tried to become the champions of The University of Oklahoma. Is to do just that. Stay out in front of things."
Bringing new equipment in to handle growing volumes led to a major transformation for the State of Colorado. In fact, it led to a decade of evolution for what is now the fourth largest government in-plant in the United States. Finding the mailing side of the shop was growing – and understanding that was there their sweet spot was – Mike Lincoln spent a lot of time focusing on what that might look like in the future. After deciding to "go all in" on transactional print, they've moved into the forefront, introduced color inkjet continuous fed in 2015. They are producing about 8.5-9 million monthly inkjet impressions – about 1.2, 1.4 million letters- a significant transformation, but the operation has been methodical in their approach and made sure that every time they have made a step it's significant and sustainable.
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