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Printers, Outsourcing, and Advertising


The Penn State Multimedia and Print Center (MPC)

The Penn State Multimedia and Print Center (MPC) has been designated the responsibility for managing the manufacture and procurement of printing, copying, and addressing in a timely and cost-effective manner in accordance with Policy BS07 (Authority and Procurement).

This procedure documents the process by which these responsibilities will be carried out, including the handling of requests, bidding, outsourcing (if/when needed), managing the production and quality control on behalf of departments/customers, making payment to vendors, and billing to departments. 

Processing Requests for Printing and Copying

General: All requests for printing, copying, and related mail services required by departments/customers and organizations at all University locations, whether in the form of individual jobs, multiple jobs to be done over time with a single vendor, or any contractual commitments for services that involve any printing or mailing when the anticipated printing costs are in excess of $250, are to be routed to the MPC. For locations other than University Park, this procedure governs jobs exceeding a printing cost of $1000.00. Policy BS2013

Specifications can be submitted through a customer services representative via telephone, email, fax, or via the website for the Penn State Print Portal at, or in person at your location or at MPC.

Departments/MPC: In consultation with the department/customer, a decision will be made as to whether the needs can be met using internal capabilities or outsourcing is necessary. If the estimated MPC costs for producing the project are up to $2,500.00 (excluding paper, addressing, and postage) the project will be generally completed by MPC. If the department/customer requires competitive bidding, MPC will coordinate the procurement of the material/services in accordance with the University purchasing guidelines. Projects with an estimated or historical printing cost exceeding $10,000.00 (excluding paper, addressing, and postage), if not produced at MPC will in most cases be competitively bid.

Bidding: Bids will be solicited from appropriate vendors for printing costs, (including MPC), based on the quality and delivery requirements for the level of work involved. Bids will be solicited using the Penn State Printing Portal for viewing specifications and submitting prices. The department/customer may identify vendors to include in the bid. Generally the costs requested will be production costs with the understanding that the University will supply the paper. Prices obtained through the Print Portal are not accessible to any vendor or MPC, (except for their own price), until after bid closure. MPC will add the price of paper to all bids. Purchasing Services will open and review the bids and forward to MPC. Awards will be made on the basis of electronic bids submitted by vendors plus the costs of paper added by MPC. The award process will be managed by customer service representatives at MPC.

Outsourced Work: All jobs outsourced will be awarded to the vendor providing the best-value. Best-value criteria will be stated in the specification document. The best-value criteria and a list of suggested vendors will be reviewed with the customer before posting the bid. In the absence of unique best-value criteria, jobs will generally be awarded on the basis of the most competitive cost including paper. Generally bids will be solicited from multiple vendors that can meet the criteria. When appropriate, certain jobs will be directly awarded to a vendor without soliciting multiple bids (direct award).

MPC customer services representatives are available to help in assisting with job management of outsourced projects.

Payment Processing: For payment of outsourced work, the vendor will submit an invoice to MPC. Once the product and the associated invoice charges have been approved by the department/customer and MPC, MPC will release the payment. MPC will direct bill the department/customer in accordance with the Direct Billing Procedure to cover the cost of the vendor invoice, paper, addressing, and postage charges where applicable.

Employment Advertising

Employment advertising can only be done through Human Resources (see Policy HR-33).

Promotional Advertising

Promotional advertising is designed in consultation with the Office of Strategic Communications / Department of University Marketing and Advertising (see Policy AD-8). Promotional collateral may be developed internally or through the MPC, but do require editorial review by the MarCom Rep. and standards review by the Office of Strategic Communications.