Take Your Office Copier Program to the Next Level
Jason Gillam, director of business operations at Blue Valley Schools in Overland Park, Kansas, had been managing his district’s fleet of copiers for some time, but a few years ago, he expanded that to include the large fleet of laser printers in use across the organization — and in doing so found opportunities for savings and efficiencies.
One of the first things Gillam did was replace the laser printers with “smart” versions, capable of running the same Kofax Equitrac interface software already in use on the multi-function devices (MFDs) and printers in use. Doing so not only streamlined the experience and increased security, it completely shifted how the devices were used, reducing both waste and cost.
“It allowed us to reduce the number of laser printers by about 75% as we positioned the new devices in commonly shared areas using established placement standards,” Gillam says. “Not only is our environment more secure with new and managed devices, we have required that all prints be ‘Follow-You Printing’ and not ‘auto release.’”
Follow-You Printing allows someone to submit a print job from his or her laptop, then go to the nearest terminal to release the job.
“I looked at a recent 3.5-month period of time when school was in session, and we avoided 83,000 prints a month that either expired out before being released, or were cancelled by the end user at the device,” Gillam says. “These savings would not have been possible in an auto release environment. By saving waste, budget managers can reallocate resources to better serve our students.”
In turn, those budget managers, “have a complete picture of their building printing costs by user, where they didn’t before with blindly buying laser printer cartridges,” Gillam says. “Combining the overall solutions, this has allowed us to spread the workflow software and customer service support over a wider base of business.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however; getting people to give up the desktop laser printers for the managed printers was a big challenge. But now the in-plant is better positioned to truly support print in all forms across the organization.
“Acknowledging the top roadblock on the front end allowed us to better advance,” Gillam notes. Anyone looking to see similar results, he says, should “identify your stakeholders, develop a vision, and share your story of opportunity with management. Make sure to include the good along with the challenges.”
While some in-plants manage part of a copier fleet, and others don’t manage that side of print at all, it is a very real opportunity. The cost of supplies — paper, ink, and cartridges — will only continue to rise, making it more cost effective for everything to be purchased through a single source to capitalize on volume logistics and cost savings. It is only natural for the in-plant to be the one to take on that role.
“Taking on something that nobody else really wanted to own and innovate, like laser printers, only further cements the value of our in-plant,” maintains Gillam.
Toni McQuilken has been writing and editing for more than a decade. Her work includes B2B publications – both in print and online – in a range of industries, such as print and graphics, technology, hospitality and automotive; as well as behind the scenes writing and editing for multiple companies, helping them craft marketing materials, write press releases and more. She is a self-proclaimed "tech geek" who loves all things technology, and she knows that she is one of a select group of people who get to do what they love for a living.