Guest post by Shelley Sweeney, Vice President/General Manager Service Bureau/Direct Marketing @shelleysweeney

Where is your print business on the inkjet journey? The 2018 Inkjet Summit brought together many print professionals with various inkjet interests, and many shared their stories. Participants from Xerox, Office Depot, Hunkeler and Gimbel & Associates collaborated in one session to share their work and partnership on a publishing case study. Here’s an overview of that story for you.

This Inkjet Journey Leads To Grand Prairie, Texas

Most people know the Office Depot brand as a place for business supplies, but what most people may not know is that Office Depot is also a top 10 US printer. One of the half dozen Office Depot print facilities is in Grand Prairie, Texas. Grand Prairie is part of the Mid-Cities region in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

Grand Prairie Facility Overview

  • Print, warehouse, distribution center, call center
  • 500,000 sq. ft. total / 20,000 sq. ft. print facility
  • Staff: 400 total / 55 print facility
  • All cut-sheet digital capabilities

Business Challenge: K-12 Curriculum/Book Publishing Market

Office Depot wanted inkjet as an advantage in competing for a regional schoolbook publishing opportunity. This market spanning 400 school districts represented $15M in annual revenue for Office Depot. With inkjet, Office Depot was well-positioned to go after a good share of that pie.

Schoolbook Facts:

  • 800K books printed and distributed in 2017
  • Peak processing April-July with 10M images/month
  • Mostly BW guts with color covers
  • Complex shipping requirements
  • Ship by school and by grade
  • Ship by pallets and cartons
  • Significant outsourcing to meet SLAs

Goals for Investing in Inkjet

The team entered the project with goals related to both the schoolbook target and to the business overall.

  • Increase capacity
  • Lower operational costs
  • Migration from cut-sheet to continuous feed

As Office Depot went through this process, the decision-making team had to understand:

  • How does this impact our competitiveness?
  • Where does it eliminate the need for outsourcing?
  • What about redundancy, disaster recovery and business continuity?

“The move was more confident because a strong partnership and plan for inkjet expansion was in place,” noted Josh Rhine, Office Depot Director, Digital Print Services and Support.

How to Add an Inkjet Press to a Print Business

Every introduction of a new press is unique, but we can learn from the integration stories of other print operations, like Grand Prairie. When a cut-sheet operation considers inkjet, one of the first things to do is take time for analysis and assessment.

One big question when introducing new capabilities is always how to snap it into my current business with the least disruption? This was part of the consideration Office Depot went through when formulating their inkjet integration plan. A good assessment of the current state was their starting point, while keeping an eye to where they were going as well. Office Depot partnered with Gimbel & Associates to create a strategic plan for the implementation and deployment of inkjet.

Assessment Questions: What to Consider When Adding Inkjet to a Cut-Sheet Operation

During the assessment of current applications and workflow, the team looked at questions about:

  • If converting offset applications, identify applications.
  • Which applications will drive growth?
  • How can I optimize for those applications?
  • Changes to WIP – what are the touch points?
  • Which ones change or go away?
  • Operational, labor and other cost savings

Outcome – A More Competitive Way to Work

Once the inkjet decision was made, the next step was the addition of the Xerox® Trivor® 2400 High Fusion Inkjet Press. Color inkjet made Office Depot more competitive in black and white and color for the pursuit of book production revenue. “The team went from nervous to wow. The attitude is optimistic, and ‘Look at what we can do now’,” said Josh Rhine. Look indeed. Their inkjet integration at Grand Prairie was successful for several reasons. After making the color inkjet move, Office Depot:

  • Expanded in direct mail and other growth products and services
  • Made 100M-impression shift from cut-sheet to the inkjet press = $1M annual savings in operation and labor
  • Will generate ~$400K savings annually from offset-to-digital transfer for converting forms
  • Captured huge savings in operations and labor
  • Increased capacity for peak processing
  • Quickly onboards new business even during peak processing

Get more ideas for an inkjet assessment from this guide: “Understanding the Total Cost of Ownership of an Inkjet Press.”