Rumors of the death of a one-stop, on-campus printing solution have been greatly exaggerated.
Printing solutions Copy center operator Ray Tucker feeds booklets into a machine for stitching, folding and trimming, at the UI’s reorganized and renamed Document Services department. After an extensive review of the department formerly named Printing Services, some printing functions were eliminated and mailing functions consolidated to produce a more streamlined operation.| Photo by Daryl Quitalig, photo intern
Managers of the UI’s Document Services department say recent changes – including a name change – will lead to better service and a better bottom line for it and its campus customers.
“The big thing is, we’re still here and we’re still doing the things we were always doing,” said Barbara Childers, the department’s director and Facilities and Services associate director.
The future of the department, once called Printing Services, was called into question when F&S announced in 2010 it would be closing following a “fiscal and functional” review.
In fact, F&S was so convinced of its likely closure that a date of June 30, 2012, was set but then dropped after the review showed a more streamlined document services provider could be an economically viable option for serving the campus.
Childers said the streamlining discussions led to the elimination of “costly and underutilized services,” which included letterpress printing, large offset production and some bindery functions.
Much of the larger equipment was sold at auction, mailing and ongoing printing functions were consolidated on the first floor of the former Printing Services building at Gregory Drive, and the number of employees was cut in half.
Childers said the goal of the changes is to better serve campus customers.
“We can handle most of those quick turnaround (jobs) – that’s what this place does best,” Childers said. “By eliminating the services that we did, we now can be a more effective, one-stop provider.”
Andy Blacker, F&S publicity and promotions specialist, said while the Printing Department review turned up achievable efficiencies, it also showed the importance of having the service based on campus. He said interviews with campus customers indicated the need.
“The response we had from on-campus customers was great,” he said. “The ease of use is a huge benefit for the campus.”
The new-and-improved Document Services department will continue to print business cards, brochures, stationery, envelopes, posters, presentations, programs, classroom resources, self-published books, as well as offer full-service mailing preparation. The new configuration does not allow for some of the higher-volume, specialty printing projects.
Duane Fitch, copying and mailing services manager, said Document Services managers continue to find benefits to the consolidation of printing and mail services –
which extends to the use of employees as workflow dictates.
“With the mailroom coming here, there’s been a synergy that we didn’t have before,” Fitch said. “It’s been very efficient for us.”
Officials plan to soon release a new order form to highlight available services. The campus copy center in Room 143 of the English Building also will continue to function.
“We’re going to redo our order forms so people know exactly what we’ll be doing, what we can offer,” Childers said.
“It’s a matter of simplifying everything down to where anybody can easily walk through the process,” Fitch said. That includes suggesting outside sources if Document Services doesn’t have the capability to complete the work.
Blacker said the restructuring plan also included a strategy to reduce the department’s $1 million deficit – a number that already has shrunk by about 30 percent.
“A key to the continuation of the operation is the financial progress that has been made toward reducing the deficit following reorganization,” he said.
Childers said Document Services will be competitive with outside printing vendors and exceed the capabilities of most.
“There are other (local) copy providers, but most of them don’t have the equipment to do the turnaround that we can do,” she said. “There was a time when we tried to be everything to everybody. Now we’re just going to focus on the things we do well and work on telling people about that.”