Cutting costs and eliminating waste isn't just a challenge for the private sector. The ongoing climate of austerity and slow economic growth have forced schools to think and act more like businesses. This means tracking costs, managing budgets and delivering value – all in addition to the small matter of educating our children.
Opportunities for Cutting Costs
Printers can be a notoriously expensive resource and a huge drain on a school’s ICT budget. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (cebr) found that 'the education sector has the potential to save up to £245 million per annum by printing more effectively.' (cebr 2009)
Despite the fact that nearly 40% of teachers considered cost reduction and creating educational materials to be an important part of their job, nearly the same number (35%) were unaware whether printing costs were accurately managed in their schools. (Kyocera, What Teachers Think)
This is not really a surprise, given that most businesses still don't manage their printing costs effectively. The good news is that schools can do plenty to bring their print budgets under control, without adding to teachers’ workloads.
Building an Effective Print Infrastructure
The challenge is to deliver a print infrastructure that is cost effective, transparent and flexible. Although driving down costs is important, saving money for its own sake is not the goal. Working with the right supplier will allow you to improve efficiency and enhance your offering to pupils at the same time.
How do you achieve all this? The first step to creating a truly first class print infrastructure is to conduct a print audit. You can’t save money if you don’t know where it's going and a full audit will give you this information. It will identify all your current devices and help you understand your processes.
By understanding these processes, we can make recommendations that will save you both time and money. For instance, most schools don’t need a printer in every classroom and swapping several smaller devices for one larger printer makes it much easier to order supplies. It also means that you can benefit from the advanced features that come with a higher spec printer.
Flexible Finance Options
Replacing one piece of hardware, let alone an entire fleet, can blow a huge hole in your budget. However, there's no need to pay for it all in one go. Leasing allows you to spread the cost of hardware with fixed monthly payments, making it easier to keep up with the latest technology. Even better, the lease company will take away the old equipment at the end of the contract, which means that you don’t have to find a new home for it.
Whilst new hardware might seem expensive, the ongoing costs of running a printer can far outweigh the original purchase price. Ironically, a purchase order for a £500 printer may need approval from a department head but supplies orders totalling thousands of pounds can often be placed without approval.
A managed print service brings these ongoing costs under the spotlight and allows you to take control of them. Fixed monthly payments and a straightforward billing process make it easy to budget. Most managed print services will give you an inclusive number of prints, with the option of paying a pre-agreed cost per page if you go over.
The right mix of hardware, software, supplies and service can bring real, measurable benefits. Often, small changes, can have the biggest impact. For instance, how many pages are wasted each term because someone's sent a job to the printer and forgotten about it?
Follow-me printing helps to eliminate these wasteful print jobs and enables you to operate effectively with fewer printers. When a user hits 'print', the job is sent to the network, where it is stored. The user can then walk up to any printer and enter a unique ID number to release the print job. If the job is not released within a specified time, it is deleted.
Start Saving Money Now
Less waste, transparent billing, simpler processes, newer technology – these are just a few of the benefits of getting your print infrastructure right. What does that mean to you? Less work for your admin and teaching staff and more resources available for pupils.
To find out more about how you can save money without compromising on service, call our expert team on 02392 623300.
by Anthony Morgan