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The perfect fit

Regent’s University London is expecting to save hundreds of thousands of pounds each year after reducing the size of the printer fleet across its two campus locations by 60%

In a bid to streamline its printer fleet, achieve greater reliability, increase user convenience and cut printing costs, Regent’s University London has installed new A4, A3 and large format printers and multi-function printers (MFPs) across its two campus locations in Regent’s Park and Marylebone High Street.

The university asked a number of printing solutions vendors to produce proposals for its new printer fleet and after assessing their recommendations awarded the contract to Toshiba Tec.

Toshiba consultants audited the two sites and put forward a tailored solution and installation plan based on a detailed assessment of the requirements of staff and undergraduates, including fashion students who need to print designs in sizes as large as A1 and A0.

Reliable operation
A key requirement for the new fleet was that it should offer increased reliability, thereby reducing the need for an onsite maintenance team for troubleshooting and repair services.

“When we presented our ideas, we were very much aware of some particular considerations”, explained Toshiba business services consultant Tom Gaffikin. “We knew that there was a need for resilience within our plans, and this was achieved by standardising all devices, which meant machines could be moved around the building without any impact on system efficiency. We also specified machines with large paper capacity as this increases user convenience and helps to enhance productivity.”

Saving money
According to Nicola Kelly, OCIO Business Manager at Regent’s University, a major motivating factor for installing the new printer fleet was to cut the costs of the university’s print operations.

She said: “This was particularly important as we believed our existing printer contract to be uncompetitive. We were very impressed with Toshiba’s proposal from the outset because the company provided us with a clear and unbiased report on our existing systems. Toshiba was also very good at consolidating our requirements and, as a result, managed to reduce our fleet to 63 MFPs and four wide-format printers.”

Print management
Training and support were included in Toshiba’s package, and machines on both sites were configured with ‘follow me’ capabilities provided by PaperCut software. This allows users to manage their print assets, collect usage data by location and device, identify inefficiencies and implement cost recovery and allocation strategies to maximise system productivity and return on investment. Previously there was no print management system at the smaller Marylebone site.

Another key selling point of Toshiba’s proposal was the Toshiba Carbon Zero Scheme, which offsets all CO2 emissions associated with the parts procurement, manufacture and transportation of MFPs so that they are carbon-neutral on delivery.

“The environmental benefits of our new printing systems are very much in line with the university’s policies and commitments,” explained Kelly. “We see carbon-offsetting, alongside energy, consumables and maintenance savings, as essential steps toward greener operations across the campus. When we approached vendors of printing solutions, we wanted to find a partner that shares our values and ethos rather than just a supplier – and Toshiba delivers for us on every front!”

Smoother workflows

More efficient printing processes (see above) is just one benefit of a modern MFP. Another is improved document management, as Lion Hudson will attest.

The Oxfordshire-based independent publisher of Christian publications and media approached Toshiba Tec for advice on automating the handling of the 400 invoices it receives each month from printers, authors, designers, freelancers and other suppliers.

“We had already realised that manual storage, approval and retrieval of paper-based invoices was not serving us well and was leading to poor efficiency and frustration on all sides,” explained Bekky Fayers, Management Accountant at Lion Hudson. “There was little visibility of the approval process, which made it hard to gain a quick overview of what was outstanding and to identify the bottlenecks in our system. What’s more, manual data entry into the accounting software was time-consuming and prone to errors.”

Toshiba recommended a document management system (DMS) that combines digitisation and centralised storage with customised, automated workflows that eliminate the need for manual entry of details such as PO number, invoice number, company name, account number and amount and automatically move invoices through each stage of the process. With a simple click, documents relating to an invoice can be opened instantly in order to clarify outstanding issues, such as comparisons with delivery notes, payment authorisation and bookings.

Caroline Gregory, Finance Director at Lion Hudson, is delighted with the results, which include a reduction in the average time it takes an employee to process an invoice from five minutes to 30 seconds.

She said: “We currently process between 80 and 90% of invoices using the paperless system, and all of the 30 people involved have noticed a positive change. Invoices are now being turned around in a day, which was something we could almost never achieve with our old paper-based systems.”

The workflow of the accounts team has improved to such an extent that the Toshiba Tec DMS will in the future also be used to provide document storage for the company’s legal contracts.