At a recent In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) lunch-n-learn session, three higher education in-plant managers from UC Davis, Fairfield University and Cedarville University discussed how they've remained relevant and grown, leveraging graphic design services, marketing and Web to print.
Web to Print and a Unique Graph Design Retainer Fuel Growth for UC Davis
Brian Wadell of UC Davis credited RSA's WebCRD Web to print as the key to their success, helping them to expand. In 2015, they added the VPD module to offer business cards for a department that needs business cards throughout the state. To cap off the new offering, they have been able to improve their business card turnaround time by digitally printing them immediately on a new Kodak Digimaster HD300 and then cutting them with their Duplo DC-646 slitter/cutter/creaser. What is really unique to UC Davis - and a model other in-plants could adopt - is their utilization of a graphic design retainer agreement for graphic services as opposed to an hourly charge. Offered for key high profile customers, this model has enabled the team to be profitable. Other initiatives that have or may lead to increased volume and relevancy include offering graphic design classes to customers and development of a 3-D printing offering to meet the university's needs.
Operating Like an Agency and Using Design to Drive Print Keeps Fairfield University Relevant
Curtis Ebdon of Fairfield University's in-plant is part of a centralized marketing and communications group, operating like an agency for "clients" across the university. Six years ago, Ebdon and his manager set a goal to become self-sustaining, changing the name of the operation and bringing in a creative director. Account managers now solicit business for everything from printing, design - even locker room design - to digital print, digital marketing, social media, PR and video. This shift has brought business inside that was previously outsourced and driven print because the department includes the key to driving print - the design team. Ebdon credits the new approach of "being at the table," and marketing their ability to "do it all" for customers to their turnaround. Now operating in the black, in 2014, the in-plant returned $250,000 in chargebacks to the university and successfully fought off an outsourcing attempt.
Smart Partnering with Marketing Keeps Cedarville's In-Plant Growing
Tammy Slone of Cedarville University fosters internal partnerships - particularly with marketing - heavily marketing the in-plant, which has led to growth. Recognizing that marketing drives print, but having no control over marketing, Slone began partnering with marketing, offering a discount for work sent through marketing, creating a win-win. Marketing retained brand control and the print center greatly reduced time repairing file issues. By working with the university's various departments, Sloan has been able to enlighten many about the value of the in-plant, increasing volume from Advancement and educating and utilizing graphics students.