Choosing the Right MFDs
MANY LARGE companies and organizations have accumulated a haphazard collection of copiers, fax machines and desktop printers over the years. Often these items were purchased by individual departments, from a variety of vendors.
That's pretty much the way it's always been at Messiah College too.
"Each department makes [its] own choices as far as desktop printers go," affirms Dwayne Magee, director of the Messiah College Press, in Grantham, Pa. "They even put their own ink cartridges in, and everyone has their own sources. There are no savings by purchasing in bulk."
Though this situation is usually not ideal for the organization, it represent a good opportunity for the in-plant to take charge and put its expertise to use. Many in-plants have had great success spearheading copier management programs. And now that the technology exists to combine faxing, printing and copying in a single multi-function device (MFD), in-plants can bring huge savings to their organizations by eliminating these separate devices and creating organization-wide contracts to replace them with equipment that's better suited to each departments' needs.
That's what Magee is doing at Messiah College. After identifying the potential to save money by consolidating contracts and leasing MFDs, he got his vice president to buy into the idea. He then involved IT and Purchasing. They are still in the discussion phase, but he's confident the college can make the cultural shift from convenience to fiscal responsibility.
Other in-plants that have already made the shift to managed MFD programs acknowledge the same challenges in getting departments to sacrifice their personal convenience.
"Many did not want to relinquish their desktop printer even knowing that the MFD could replace it," says Stephen J. Amitrano, Print Facility manager at Burlington County College, in Pemberton, N.J.
Nevertheless, he was able to guide his college through the change, and now oversees contracts for 38 MFDs. As for selecting the most suitable MFDs with the right features, that is always a big challenge.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.