In-plant print shops are essential in any organization. They are a shared resource for printing materials, making them much more efficient. However, many in-plant managers often encounter mistakes that can harm the organization and their print shop operation.

At PathForward, we want to guide you through some common mistakes and how to avoid them. So, if you’re running an in-plant print shop, be sure to avoid these common mistakes to ensure the smooth operation of your business.

Let’s start:

Equipping for Peaks, Not the Valleys

One of the most common mistakes that in-plant managers make is equipping their print shops for peaks rather than valleys.

They believe they have to do all the work themselves, so they bulk up to meet the peaks that may occur a few times a year—then all that capacity gets wasted the vast majority of the time. The labor, representing a fixed cost, is also wasted.

The solution is to build to the valleys, run the shop at total capacity all the time, and build relationships with other print providers to handle the few peak load times.

This way, in-plant managers can ensure that their shops are running efficiently and that their capacity is used effectively.

Charging Back

In-plants have excess capacity and high fixed costs, so attracting print volume from within their organization is critical.

Yet, unless the departments are also charging back for prints being made in the office fleet, charging these same departments back is a disincentive for the organization to do the right thing and use the in-plant.

Office devices are often just as fast and cheaper (in the end user’s mind and budget – to them, it’s “free”).

That’s why in-plants should be used as shared resources; if not, the adage “use it or lose it” comes into play.

So, in-plant managers need to communicate with management to ensure that departments know the value of their service.


In-plants must communicate and ensure the organization knows how to help with print design through production and distribution.

In the same way, in-plants need to communicate to management so they are not seen as a fixed cost but rather a value-unlocking entity that can help serve the organization better than anyone else.

Communication is vital to building trust and building relationships within the organization.

In-plant managers must regularly communicate with their staff, departments, and management, making it easier to handle print requests correctly.

In-plant print shops play an essential role in any organization, and avoiding common mistakes can help ensure smoother operations.

Managers must ensure their shops are equipped for valleys, charging effectively, and communicating efficiently while focusing on sustainability.

By following these simple steps, in-plant managers can create a more efficient, sustainable, and productive print shop that benefits the entire organization.


Do you need help with communication or strategy for your in-plant/print shop?

Let PathForward help you.

Take The First Step

If you’re not thinking about your print strategy holistically, you may be paying millions of dollars more every year than needed. However, developing a strategy and utilization of fixed assets can lead to an enterprise saving between 35-65%.

If you are interested in these types of savings and driving bottom-line impact, the model below is how and what PathForward does in helping organizations like yours find the best-tailored strategy for their goals, priorities, and requirements.

We have helped organizations like yours save over $750M.