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Corporate Print Services: The In-Plant Printing Opportunity

Best Practices for In-Plant Providers
Increasingly, print service providers are finding that merely selling ink on paper is not enough. Customers are looking for ways to improve work processes and reduce costs. Many customers are looking to consolidate points of contact and leverage areas of domain expertise. For many in-plants, this means offering a wider range of products and services.

Leading in-plants are taking advantage of this opportunity to expand services and gain strategic relevance. This enables them to expand and allows them to more effectively meet the requirements of the organizations that they serve.

Super-Efficient Organizations

Many in-plants struggle with strategic relevance. The management of in-plant shops is generally isolated from overall organizational power and provides limited opportunities for advancement. The skill set and expertise required to manage in-plant shops is different from what the overall business often requires. Without an advocate in senior management, the in-plant often becomes an island of expertise.

Given these trends, the relative strength of this segment is somewhat of a surprise. We believe it has benefited from having domain expertise that extends far beyond copying to more complex printing and related services. Maintaining an in-plant print shop requires convenience, cost savings, and control, but the best in-plants provide much more.

As the pace of business continues to quicken and technological change continues to impact all facets of corporate activities, CAP Ventures has identified an overriding need for “super-efficiency.” Super-efficient organizations will utilize new technology and open standards to ensure that:

  • Internal processes function with rare interruptions and few errors 
  • Little data is re-keyed 
  • Units and functional areas collaborate 
  • The organization is fast and cost-effective 
  • The organization interacts with its stakeholders by sharing processes across the supply chain 
  • The organization provides its customers and stakeholders with integrated end-to-end solutions 
  • Procurement processes are coordinated with suppliers and the suppliers’ order fulfillment processe 
  • Common data repositories eliminate duplication of effort, time, and cost while providing higher levels of service 

The Web is used as a common business tool

Current in-plant management should aggregate as many functions as possible to leverage overall initiatives and domain expertise. A few examples of specific best practices include:

  • Aggregate all print (data center, print, and copy) under one organizational structure 
  • The in-plant print shop should be responsible for distributed copiers/printers so they can leverage purchases and best deploy an effective overall strategy 
  • Aggregate print and mail; mail should be internal as well as external 
  • The in-plant print shop should be responsible for or play a role in all paper purchases, even for those jobs that are sent outside, to best leverage price and to implement corporate standards 
  • The in-plant print shop should play a role in all outside print purchases to leverage this activity for cost effectiveness and to apply its expertise

The actions above create a “Print Czar” that has more overall responsibility and can be evaluated more critically in terms of overall success. The aggregation of activities provides a level of strategic relevance that is often lacking when the organizational structure is distributed.

While no single tool or software package will transform an in-plant print provider into a super-efficient organization, achieving super efficiency will enable an in-plant facility to exhibit and clearly claim relevancy. It will provide the in-plant with cost benefits and act as a market differentiator. Achieving super efficiency should be the top priority of any in-plant facility. Failure to achieve this goal will place an organization at high risk of evolutionary extinction.

The preceding is an excerpt from CAP Ventures’ multi-client study entitled Corporate Print Services: The In-Plant Printing Opportunity. The complete document is available immediately. To learn more about the report or to make a purchase, please contact Alison Hipp at , ext. 126 or .


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