Automating Workflows Brings Efficiency to Florida District
With seven employees, Volusia County Schools Printing & Copy Center Services produces an average of 50,000 jobs a month for its DeLand, Fla.-based school district — items like testing materials, curriculum worksheets, reading booklets, report cards, newsletters, budget and finance books, graduation programs, theater playbills and event posters. All told, the shop prints nearly 11 million pages a month in its 3,600-sq.-ft. facility, plus another 100,000 pages for the county government. In 2018, the in-plant output 131.5 million pages.
Keeping track of all that work took a great deal of effort in the past, says Betty Shepherd, assistant director of Printing & Copy Center Services. Having worked in the in-plant for 27 years, she has no problem recalling how challenging things used to be.
“I remember when our back office was full of bins that were overflowing with three-part forms,” she recounts. “I used to spend a considerable amount of time on chargeback accounting every month.”
Though the in-plant went from hard copy to digital job submission in 2002, it used a proprietary print management system, which left a lot to be desired. The copy center still couldn’t bill for specialty jobs or handle large paper sizes. Customers were often frustrated when trying to submit jobs during peak periods. Something needed to change.
So in 2016, the in-plant implemented Rochester Software Associates’ WebCRD Web-to-print solution along with the QDirect output management tool, which automates print job management. Among other advantages, WebCRD let users see the cost of their jobs up front. The in-plant offers a 10% discount if users don’t change the default due date, and they can see the cost difference right in their shopping cart when building the job.
Customers also have newfound freedom to print more than one job at a time and assemble multiple documents into one using the WebCRD Book Assembly module.
“I like that I can proxy a user to help them submit jobs correctly,” adds Shepherd. “Today, a customer submitted a letter size job, but the input materials were legal size. I could log in and help them adjust their ticket. And I love that we now have single sign-on. We used to have to field at least 50 calls a week to change passwords for customers who forgot theirs; especially after summers, which is already our busiest time. Now they’re automatically signed in to WebCRD once they sign into the network.
“With WebCRD and QDirect working together for online submission and print management, chargeback is automated and the schools have a better idea of what and who is printing at their site. This is a huge benefit. We can even set up price cards for each of our customer groups — the district, county government and local nonprofits — to automatically price jobs appropriately.”
Thanks to its WebCRD and QDirect implementation, and the automation and efficiency it brought, Volusia County Schools Printing & Copy Center Services won an honorable mention in Xplor’s 2018 Technology and Application of the Year Awards.
Printing & Copy Center Services’ all-digital operation features four Océ VarioPrint 6320 Ultra black-and-white printers, as well as two Canon digital color devices: an imagePRESS C700 and an imagePRESS C6010. For wide-format printing, it relies on an Océ ColorWave 620.
Adding WebCRD gave the in-plant access to many new capabilities, such as automated report building and the ability to deliver reports to a representative at each customer location with totals of their print usage, something that Shepherd used to do by hand. QDirect also has hot folders to automate print management.
“We didn’t have hot folders before,” says Shepherd. “Report cards are one of our biggest and, of course, most important jobs. Users used to have to go onto the system, download the report and then file and print the report to us. Now it simply goes into a hot folder.”
Job submissions are more accurate now because WebCRD automatically chooses the best print options for the document based on what is uploaded and displays an instant preview.
“With the hot folders we can now get 130,000 pages, set up properly, in a matter of minutes,” explains Shepherd. “This saves time at every location; our old system would back up because everyone was trying to print at the same time. With our old print manager, if you sent a batch of jobs to the printer you had to wait until they all went to a printer before you could send more work. Now we can send jobs to all printers simultaneously. There are days we receive 10,000 jobs, and we can’t be waiting for a batch of jobs to go through to one printer. Now QDirect sends simultaneously to all of the printers perfectly.”
More reliable support and training is another new difference. Volusia’s old print management system was not well supported. Now the in-plant has access to knowledgeable and responsive service and support 24/seven.
“Our night shift employees confirm that when they call, even in the middle of the night, RSA is quick to respond,” says Shepherd. “They get back to us right away and are professional and helpful.”