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Chuck Werninger of UALR expands business beyond campus margins

Published on October 22, 2010

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com, and I am here with Chuck Werninger, who is Director of Printing Services at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock.  Glad to have you here. 

Chuck Werninger:  Thank you.  Glad to be here. 

Cary Sherburne:  You know, one of the interesting things that I find, especially in the college and university environment with the implants is, you know, how do you build your business, I mean obviously on campus you build your business, but how do you – can you grow it outside of that?  Some universities allow you to bring work from outside and some don’t.  Can you talk a little bit about how you approach that issue? 

Chuck Werninger:  Absolutely.  We had a print shop that was quite a bit behind the times and we were trying to find a way to make – make that shop productive and cost effective.  And you know, our campus is a mid-size, we’re about 12,000 students, so there’s only so much work that could be had there, and we had to think outside the box and look for new sources of revenue. 

Being that we’re an official state printing agency, I’ve gone to the different departments inside the state system. We are in the capital city of Little Rock, and so I’ve really gone and courted those folks and tried to find work that we could provide for the campus – or excuse me, for the state. 

As it turns out, three years later, two-thirds of our business comes from the state.  So they’re really helping us, but at the same point I think we’re providing fantastic service for the state and a fantastic service for the taxpayer. 

Cary Sherburne:  And so that almost makes printing free for the campus, in a way. 

Chuck Werninger:  It makes it very cost-effective.  More so, you know, we could never run this operation based only on the business from this campus. 

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah. 

Chuck Werninger:  And so we’ve had to really be creative. 

Cary Sherburne:  Now, you’ve been able to make a lot of investments as a result of that business coming in. 

Chuck Werninger:  Yes, the campus has been very supportive of us, but the state has also been supportive.  You know, states today, you know we’ve read a lot of news lately, states are having a challenge to run their printing departments cost effectively.  Everybody knows the state needs these printing departments, they need to be able to communicate with their constituents, but at the same point it has to be cost effective. 

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, yeah. 

Chuck Werninger:  And as taxpayers, we want to know that it’s being done properly.  If it’s not being done properly, then states start to ask questions, like Washington, for instance. 

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, right.  So also, I know we’ve talked in the past about you know, one of the core elements of your production has been that DI Press that you put in and maybe you could talk a little bit about how you see that fitting in and what, you know, what value that’s brought to your business. 

Chuck Werninger:  Absolutely, we were very behind the times just a few short years ago.  And since we’ve added that Press Tech 52DI, we’ve been able to offer a number of things; 500 to 20,000 full color printed pieces is something that used to take us weeks, really because we sourced everything, or we produced it on color copiers.  We were very cost ineffective in the past.  Now, it’s fast, it’s easy, it’s cost effective, it’s very high quality. And what we’re finding is that this has really been a pent up demand in the industry. 

The press is full time waterless so the print quality is absolutely amazing, but it’s also very green.  It’s a waterless printing technology, so we’re really hitting some sustainability points; I’m really passionate about sustainability.  And that particular piece of equipment has really helped us to provide a service that’s good for the university, it’s good for the taxpayers in the state of Arkansas, but it’s also good for the environment.  And that’s important to me at the end of the day.

Cary Sherburne:  And also, that’s been one of the keys to allowing you to in source that business from the state agencies. 

Chuck Werninger:  Absolute*ly.  You know, they really want to support those agencies that make sense and we’ve, I think, made the most sense of any of them inside the state system.  And we’ve really helped them meet their mission. 

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great.  Congratulations. 

Chuck Werninger:  Thank you very much. 

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