speckytecky (6th March 2010)
It's been a long time since I have posted on here, but hopefully you will all forgive me.
Recently our College, like all Colleges in the UK, have announced that thier funding will be cut as part of the Governments cost saving measures.
As part of this, all employees have been asked to make cost saving suggestions and no feasable idea will be ignored. Should we not cut costs enough, then redundancies will become a real option of cost saving.
I have noticed during a recent audit that the Colleges current printing solution is massively inefficient. We are currently implementing PCounter how it should be (previously it had only been used to log printing, and not for full on print management). Today I approached my IT manager about the idea of removing ALL of the college printers (almost every room has one, we have shed loads of deskjets) and replacing them with a fleet of strategically placed, swipe card photocopiers. He responded with, "thats the ideal solution, but its been rejected by SMT in the past"
I think its a goer, and in real terms, could save tens of thousands of pounds. And in essence, JOBS.
I have 2 questions.
Do I go over past my boss, and goto SMT myself?
How would I approach building my proposal?
I feel your pain - I've been in exactly this situation, even got agreement from management that we would start phasing out small printers. Of course, when it came to the crunch, no senior manager could give up their own printer and the finance department had more printers than people!!!
I don't know your boss but you probably do know if he genuinely wants this but thinks SMT will just reject it. If he thinks it's a good idea but is just tired of smashing his head against a brick wall then definitely make the proposal to SMT. I'd actually start doing serious calculations about what printers you could have and where you would put them and then work out how much you could save. Talk to the unions if necessary and get them on side.
It won't be easy - printers are important and need to work. If each person has their own printer then they have a degree of confidence that they can rely on it; you need to make sure that they will still be able to rely on printing. Some kind of pull printing system (where you print to a server and the printout appears on any printer where you login or swipe our card) is essential - that way you can say "even if the printer in location x is out of order you can go to any other printer.
I know you say you can save 10s of thousands by doing this and that has to be worthwhile. Unless you're closer to hundreds of thousands, however, it won't save many jobs but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it - this really is the kind of efficiency saving we should grab with both hands.
Oh I was definatly going down the Pull printing route, otherwise its definatly not a goer. Theres far to much of a culture of "but its my printer" despite the fact we are supposedly a "hot desk" organisation.
Is shall pull stats out of PCounter for a 12 month period. Chat to reprographics and procurement. It may take a while to draft this proposal, but I intend to present it to SMT at some point. Even if from a selfish point of view, it's something to put on my CV "Saved the company x amount in wasted printing" etc.
A good idea but be aware of some things.
1. pick the make /model of photocopier carefully not all photocopiers send out all the information on what is happening so for example a machine may only tell you its A3 or A4 but can not tell you if it is a colour job.
2. card technology, consider if you are going to use the cards anywhere else (catering / door access) can you use 1 card for everything? the answer is generally yes if you talk to the right companies.
3. you will save money but planning a new lot of copiers is tricky consider where these machines will live (hot spots) what about repographics? will they need new machines? will they use swipe cards as well to charge the correct user/department the work?
4.embedded options. Copiers have small linux OS's running in them these days consider an embedded solution these will only get better over time and also have a better chance of reading what is going on in the copier. Image single sign on for scanning copying printing etc..
5. costs - to save money look at just B&W machines? really look around for copier dealers some of them make HUGE margins. Software? is pcounter the cheapest (or even the best) option? perhaps you could save even more money and move hardware and software over to another solution how can the school say no to saving thousands. You will save money i know sites that installed print monitoring software and charged for photocopiers they MAKE money and it pays for its self in under a year.
6. plan for the future, dont get tied to one make of machine for long, lease the copiers.
If you do switch to such a system, one thing to think about is the length of your lease for the copiers. 5 years is quite a long time, even though it is pretty standard. At the tail end of that contract, the machines will be misbehaving more than they did early on. We always go for a 3 year contract here.
As Fiona_b says, mono copiers are a lot cheaper than colour. We pay 0.3p a sheet for mono on our central copier. We have a small colour copier too (Ricoh MFC2800) which we pay 3.9p per sheet on. You'll only get the lower costs if you really haggle with the companies. I spent nearly a year going over the different offers, lowering things etc... It reduced our costs from potentially 0.8p and 6p per sheet down to the numbers above.
One of the things I'd be considering is making these machines wireless. This will allow you to more easily relocate machines - so if you had a bunch installed, and found one area was getting a load more use than another, you could move machines and double up without having any hassles getting sockets installed etc...
Who is it that mentioned the cost saving initiative if its a member of the SMT then write out your proposal in an email and send it to them but CC in your boss - at the end of the day enless it was him that asked you to think of solutions and tell them to him mentioning it SMT shouldn't be a big issue in my opinion, but all depends on how your boss might see it and only you can gauge that as only you know him enless there is anyone else on here that does.
If the college are serious about saving money and no reasonable idea will be ignored, then providing you can prove on paper that the college would save £xxxx amount, then there's no harm in talking your boss into re-submitting the proposal - things may have changed significantly since he last mentioned it to senior management.
I think an example of "worse" would be going for mono instead of a mix of mono and colour - people do need to use colour printing but you can encourage them to use it sparingly; a good charging system helps them to see the relative costs (and they need regular feedback so they can easily find what they've spent on a weekly basis, for example)
The idea of making money may also not go down well - it obviously depends on what's happening to the money but if departments see that they're now paying more for printing, the printers are less accessible and on top of that the school is making a profit and keeping it then you will get huge resistance.
It may not be relevant, but if you want some info on what other places charge there was a recent discussion on the JISC printing services mailing list about printing charges (archives are at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/w...NTING-SERVICES) I've attached a summary of what different places charge - I've removed the institution names because I don't know if it ought to be confidential (some places ought to be embarrassed at their charges!)
I'd say, from bitter experience, that unless you have complete buy in from SLT - don't bother - we went to a managed solution, then had to put extra printers back in for everyone who moaned to SLT - complete waste of time.
Start by trying to implement a chargeback system where the departments have to cough up for the prints and the prices are skewed to using the cheapest options. When the money crunch comes through the dept heads will police this for you as they see their budgets being swallowed up - then you can go for a managed solution - as they will see the benefits.
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