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September 21, 2011
GrCI ships business building techniques via UPS
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When UPS wanted to reinvent its printing program to bring itself into the digital era, it turned to Cal Poly.
ARTICLES When UPS wanted to reinvent its printing program to enter into the digital era, it wanted to find a leader in the graphic communication field to build a training curriculum. That leader just happened to be Cal Poly. In a seven-month program that spanned from January to July, approximately 150 UPS employee trainers came to Cal Poly to learn from the Graphic Communication Institute (GrCI), an outreach project of the graphic communication department. The Institute is a resource to the industry that allows access to Cal Poly faculty and equipment.
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Vice president of Print Services at UPS Bill Martin said he chose Cal Poly for the training because of its excellent reputation and ability to accommodate the large number of trainers he wanted to bring in. Cal Poly graphic communications department chair Harvey Levenson said Cal Poly should be ahead of the curve so that it can serve as that resource to the industry.
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“A good department will know more about the industry they are into than their constituency,” Levenson said. During the training, Cal Poly faculty taught sessions to UPS representatives. It taught skills that are common in the printing industry and well known to Cal Poly, but were not yet known by UPS. Some of these skills included customer service, sales, production, file printing and bindery techniques. As part of the training, students were involved as teaching assistants. “We always try to involve students,” Levenson said. “We hired some of our students to be in the laboratories while these trainers were learning.” Senior graphic communication major Lexie Conat helped facilitate computer usage during the training sessions. She monitored the computers and answered any questions the UPS representatives had.
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“A lot of them hadn’t seen Photoshop and InDesign before, and I was able to help them with that,” she said. “I was able to put a lot of things I learned at school into real world application, so that was really cool.” Conat was able to use skills she had learned in classes to assist with the training. She said the employees were receptive to learning from students who were studying graphic communication.
GrCI program manager Lyndee Sing helped develop the curriculum that was taught in the sessions.
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She said UPS needed to move into a digital market of printing, and took that into account when developing programs to fit their need. “It’s not just mailboxes, it’s not just shipping. It’s now printing too,” Sing said. “We taught them things all across the board, everything from bindery techniques, to customer service to printing.” Martin said he was pleased with the training at Cal Poly and plans to have the employees who attended teach the lessons at not only individual franchises, but also at UPS’s national training center. “This created a level of consistency in the training centers that we didn’t have before,” he said.
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The UPS trainers have already begun implementing the techniques learned at Cal Poly into their stores, and have created new opportunities for their business to grow. “This whole training experience has opened doors to letting franchises (do) things they didn’t even know they could do before,” Martin said. “We’re well on our way to taking the training from what we learned at Cal Poly to the training in the stores.” This is evident by an experience Levenson had with UPS printing after doing these training sessions. Levenson, who opened the seminars at Cal Poly by outlining the curriculum and introducing the faculty to his staff, recently needed a printing job done.
Thinking he would test UPS to see how well the training went, he called his local UPS store and asked them if they could do his print job. He asked how long it would take, and the store representative said 30 minutes: right on schedule for the amount of time Cal Poly taught UPS to do the job. When Levenson picked up the job, the woman who had completed it recommended a method to cut it that Cal Poly’s program had taught them just months before. Levenson said he was thrilled to see that what the GrCI taught was already being put to use by the store.
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“They look at us, Cal Poly, as a resource,” he said. “Not the other way around.” TAGS: Bill Martin, Cal Poly, Digital Printing, featured, graphic communication, Harvey Levenson, Sean McMinn, UPS training
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Sean McMinn is a journalism sophomore and Mustang Daily staff writer.
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When UPS wanted to reinvent its printing program to enter into the digital era, it wanted to find a leader in the graphic communication fiel...