Home' New Zealand Printer Magazine : August 2013 Contents 13
Diversify and thrive
RECENTLY, as vice president of
Nippa, I was lucky enough to be
invited to attend Acups's 48th
conference, held in Minneapolis,
United States. With over 80 in house
print managers from 25 states plus
representatives from Scotland and
England, and me from Australia New
Zealand, you can imagine the diverse
accents flling the air.
With a conference theme of
Fishing for Ideas this event was all
about networking and discussing the
problems and solutions of in house print
shops. The members were so positive
about the current state of the industry.
I found this to be more than interesting
given the turmoil the inplants within
Australasia have been experiencing over
the past few years: restructure after
restructure. After talking to some of the
larger print shop managers they didn't
seem to be, at least not yet, worried
by the ever increasing threat of print
going to the cloud and impacting their
With breakout seminars ongoing
over three days, there was never a
shortage of workshops to attend, where
it was clear that regardless of what side
of the world we operate on strategic
print management, managing MFD
feets, and addressing management
problems, to name but a few, still throw
up the same issues worldwide.
It was interesting to note that many
of the inplants in the States had adapted
to change by branching out to print on
other consumables other than paper.
For example, they have moved into
printing t-shirts, caps, even mouse
pads. Interestingly, the investment
required for merchandise style printing
was low level entry and affordable,
allowing for many print shops to
branch out into this option of printing;
something to consider.
It was also of interest that a large
percentage of US in house print shops
also control and operate the university
and college mail rooms, which allows
for a higher level of service, meaning
they can receive, print and deliver a
print job within hours of receiving the
This is something which I'm sure
universities across Australasia could
look at replicating.
All in all, I was impressed with the
professionalism of which the inplants
at US universities and colleges operate,
and the way they are able to adapt to
minor change. Yet I feel concerned that
they are still to show any real worry in
regards to the fast and ever changing
environment of print moving to the
The biggest thing I took away with
me is I frmly believe that in-house print
shops across Australasia can be proud
of what we do, and rest assured we can
mix it with some of the best print shops
in the world.
Nippa vice president Craig Gibbs
went to the US to check out the
way the Americans are dealing
with the issues facing inplant
MAX Chio was fortunate enough to represent Nippa
at the Association of Print Managers in Education
(APME) conference in Harrogate, Northern England
in June, and les this report.
The conference hosted 60 plus delegates, along
with more than 50 suppliers and exhibitors.
I was pleasantly surprised to nd the vast
majority of members I spoke to were upbeat,
and believed the worst in terms of job security,
and market turbulence was behind them. This, in
stark contrast to the Australian and New Zealand
equivalent inplant sector, which is constantly under
review and seemingly always in the thick of it.
The UK education sector has undergone major
reform over the past 10 years, and as a result many
print facilities within educational organisations have
undergone reviews and restructures. The sector
has shrunk, and although there were casualties, the
inplants that have come out the other end of this
process seem to be prospering, and in general have
the support of their host organisation.
The common thread through most of the
inplants was the ability to adapt, and diversify.
I found very similar patterns of evolution, from
traditional o set moving to more digital short run
set ups, which has also been the trend in Australia
and New Zealand.
The big di erence I witnessed was the variety
of value add services and products that the print
shops were o ering to students and sta . They were
producing everything from mugs and T-shirts, to
photos and signage.
With the decline in print volumes, the
opportunity to explore new income streams has
led to diversi cation. The front end of the business
remained very similar, just the variety of product
range has increased.
The move away from a print centric service,
towards a merchandise/marketing service is
de nitely the direction that the majority of the
inplants are travelling. In several of the institutions,
the non-traditional print side of the business has
actually out performed print in the last few years.
Overall I was impressed to nd our British
counterparts were quite savvy when it comes to
change, and it gave me a real positive outlook to the
short term future of our sector.
Representing Nippa at this signi cant conference
in the UK was a privilege. One thing I can share is
that attending the conference, and seeing what is
happening there, cemented my belief that inplants
are still very relevant, and certainly can adapt and
o er plenty to their host organisations now and into
APME 20/20 Vision Conference UK
Ideas: Craig Gibbs, senior team leader, Campus Logistics, Deakin University, Victoria,
with Clint Marquet from MacroPro DM, at the ACUP awards night
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