The Challenge

Anyone who has ever worked in a school will know how frustrating and stress-inducing it can be when there are problems with the printers. Teachers need print outs or copies for their lessons, sometimes at the last minute, students need to print out their work and administrative staff often have huge numbers of copies to produce. Printing so much material not only leads to regular breakdowns, it’s also seriously expensive. Spiralling print costs and nearly constant breakdowns and paper jams were something the staff and students at Roedean School had simply accepted as an annoying fact of life. Fortunately, after meeting with DWS, they found out that this was not the case.

The Analysis

The facilities team at Roedean School found themselves in a similar position to many large organisations in regards to their printing. They were in a pickle. Printers were purchased or replaced on an ad hoc basis from various suppliers on various terms. Parts were being replaced here, there and everywhere. Invoices came in at all different times from different people and the lack of an overall printing strategy meant they had no clear idea of what their printing was costing. Small machines were being overused or used for jobs they weren’t suitable for while large machines with huge capacities were hardly being used at all. Students were saying things like, “Of course I needed to print out all 50 A3 full colour pages of this online magazine for my art project, Sir”, teachers were pulling their hair out with frustration when they were sending work to printers that didn’t work and the Bursar couldn’t work out where their budget was going.

The Findings

DWS were originally asked to provide a quote for two new photocopiers but, seeing the situation, offered to perform a full audit on the printing system. We installed software that monitored all the printing activity so we could provide them with a report which showed exactly what was going on. They were so impressed, and horrified by how much they were spending, that they purchased the software from us so are now able to generate their own monthly reports on the printing activities throughout the school.

The Solution

Using this information, we made sure that every machine was suited to the task, installed a ‘follow-me’ printing system so print jobs were sent to a virtual queue and could be printed out from any machine in the school using a unique code. These codes allowed the school to see exactly who was printing what and allocate printing costs to different school departments. Mobile device printing became available where staff or students could send a print job directly to the printer from their mobile phone or iPad using the intranet or email. We also put rules in place to stop excessive printing by students. Each student was given a £25 colour printing budget and, if they went over this, they would have to pay for additionally colour printing. With these measures in place, the printing volume dropped dramatically reducing waste as well as costs. As a result of Roedean School using our printing services, the teachers are now happy that the printers work when they need them, the students are happy because they can print out their work without having to run around the school looking for a printer that works and the Bursar is happy because their printing costs have significantly reduced and they are now fully in control of the situation.