An In-Plant Print Shop’s Formula for Success
Print customers demand not only cost-effective solutions, but also convenience and flexibility when it comes to ordering. They want shorter print runs, a wider variety of services, and faster turnaround times. Shops need to remain agile and respond to customer demands, taking advantage of available technology while managing their costs of production to ensure they remain competitive.
Take, for example, the Louisiana-based East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System (EBRPSS), whose printing is handled by the Graphic Arts Department, which services over 90 schools, 6,000 employees, and more than 43,000 students. A decade ago, the Department was working with hand mockups and running work on single-color offset presses, and printed mostly bulk black-and-white forms that were warehoused. This started to change. Chad Simpson, Graphic Arts Supervisor for the School District explains, “As digital printing became more affordable, our business model shifted to more on-demand printing, and today everything we do is on-demand. In most cases, it is a week turnaround or less. This caused the number of jobs running through the shop to increase. We needed a way to track it.”
In 2013 Simpson found a solution—PressWise by SmartSoft (Booth 538), a cloud-based, end-to-end print MIS and workflow automation platform. The all-in-one nature of PressWise, including its ability to create unlimited custom storefronts for each school or department, was a big selling factor.
“At the beginning of this year ninety orders came in with various forms on each order, and exact counts of what they needed. We went from dealing with one customer and sixteen print jobs, to dealing with 90 customers and nine-hundred individual print jobs. This would not have been possible without PressWise.
“We are now running well over a million digital impressions a month, and use PressWise to track all the work. The production screen is like the central hub of the shop. You can glance at it and know where you are in terms of run times everywhere. The percentage split by numbers of jobs is now roughly 33% color printing, 38% black and white, 11% large format, and 18% screen printing.”
In a time of uncertainty for many in-plant print shops, it appears that the Graphics Arts Department for EBRPSS has hit upon a formula for success under Simpson, based on their innovations and ability to not only observe shifts in their business, but proactively change to take advantage of them. Their change has been so significant that they aren’t looking backwards at how things used to be done, only looking forward to a bright future for the in-plant.
“Since we have implemented PressWise we have expanded our services, relocated to significantly larger facilities, and have become the largest governmental print shop in the state that I know of. All of this without having to dramatically increase our costs. It is just a part of how we do business now. I can’t imagine running this print shop without it at this point.”