July 19, 2023
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu
Following a months-long review of operations, financial health, and staffing, University of Missouri officials have made the decision to phase out the university’s Printing Services operation within the next calendar year. At the same time, following a similar review of University Stores, which is responsible for operating several retail operations within the UM System, officials have decided to continue operating the stores in-house.
“It’s imperative that we constantly review our operations to ensure we are fulfilling our mission to serve the state in the best way possible,” said Sarah Chinniah, vice chancellor for business operations and strategic initiatives. “After a thorough review, we had to make a hard decision to phase out one service line while, at the same time, look for ways to evolve operations in another area.”
Following the review, MU officials determined that the current business model for Printing Services was not sustainable for the following reasons:
Over the past 10 years, revenue has declined by nearly 50%.
Operating costs, including costs of goods, are projected to increase in the future.
Key pieces of equipment need repairs and/or replacement at costs that would place more financial stress on the operation. For example, a saddle stitching machine is in need of a repair for its control panel. The repair could cost as much as $60,000; replacement of the machine is estimated to be as high as $500,000.
Staffing continues to decrease. In the past five years, the unit has lost nine full-time staff and has had difficulty filling vacant positions.
“Printing Services remains committed to its customers and will continue to fulfil orders through this transition to external vendors,” Chinniah said. “This gradual phase out also will allow us to support our employees through this transition. We are working closely with our partners in Human Resources to create an individualized support plan for each employee.”
At the same time, following a similar review, MU officials expect to evolve the operations of University Stores to better serve students and stakeholders while continuing to operate the stores in-house. University Stores includes The Mizzou Store, Tiger Team Store, Missouri S&T Store, UMKC and UMKC Health Science bookstores, and UMSL Triton Store. These units typically sell textbooks, supplies and university merchandise.
The assessment of University Stores indicated that the division is viewed as a leader amongst its peers in campus retail and has saved students more than $48 million in educational resources since 2014 by using affordable and open educational resources. University Stores remains financially independent while also contributing funding to university priorities. Over the past five years, University Stores has contributed $20.4 million in student scholarships and capital reserves while also putting $13.4 million toward deferred maintenance in the MU Student Center.
“University Stores has served as a model for its peers across the nation while saving our students millions,” Chinniah said. “I’m excited about what the future holds as we seek to standardize our agreements with partners across the UM System and continue to look for ways to offer the best products and services at affordable prices.”