School District In-plant is a True Solutions Provider

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, PODi and Caslon & Company

work photo for Erica DerringtonCompanies, vendors and in-plants in our industry love to banter the word “solution” about but it is often little more than a buzzword. That’s why it is so refreshing to have a chance to chat with people who really understand and deliver services which are solutions for their clients. My conversation with Erica Derrington, Graphic Communications Manager of the Olathe Unified School District in-plant print shop is an excellent example of this.

Olathe USD is a 30,000-student school district located southwest of Kansas City, KS with a mission to “prepare students for their future.” When you ask Erica what her in-plant does, she doesn’t respond with answers like “2-color printing” or “we produce newsletters.” Instead, her reply is that her in-plant helps teachers, administrators, students and student-focused organizations achieve the district’s goal of preparing students for their future. Of course, they do that by producing enrollment materials, district advertising, newsletters, annual reports, forms, workbooks, worksheets and other educational materials, but these are simply the means for meeting that higher objective.

I have no doubt that she uses that problem-solving approach with her clients since she even leads her conversations with me, an industry analyst, with this perspective. I’d even bet her budget and investment conversations begin with “in order to better prepare our students for their future, I need this-many dollars to invest in such-and-such technology to better meet these-specific teacher needs” rather than “we need to lease a new copier.”

The result is a successful in-plant printing operation which uses contemporary technology and processes to deliver what their clients need to do their jobs:

  • They receive 95% of their work online through EFI Digital StoreFront. How many commercial operations even come close to that?
  • They streamline a lot of their make-ready work using Fiery Central, Fiery Command WorkStation, and Fiery JobMaster.
  • They use contemporary monochrome and color digital presses including the new Ricoh Pro C7110x with the 5th station which she uses for clear printing on jobs like annual reports.
  • They produce binders for their instructional resource teachers so they can create better educational materials much more quickly than ever before.

I’m sure you would much rather hear Erica explain how her organization delivers her services than read my writings though. Please feel free to explore my PODi Workflow Case Study on the Olathe School USD in-plant at It consists of seven, short videos in which you can hear Erica’s story in her own words so you can either view specific areas of interest or peruse the entire story in convenient chapters.

This is an example of the types of workflow case studies and product briefings available to PODi members. Be sure to visit for more information about the global PODi Digital Printing Initiative association.

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