Although universities are embracing more digital technology in the classroom, they still spend millions of dollars a year managing campus services like printing and mail.
When you’re proofreading a 60-page thesis, for instance, it’s easier to catch mistakes on paper. And no email will ever be as exciting as getting a care package from home.
However, when a campus is paying to purchase, stock and maintain one printer for every three students at a school of 30,000, there’s a clear opportunity to save money.
iOFFICE’s print management software and mailroom management software helps universities improve these services by bringing greater transparency to how print assets are being used and streamlining mail delivery.
We also have a partnership with Ricoh, a global provider of office equipment and document management solutions. Here’s a look at how Ricoh worked with three universities—Clemson University, the University of Kentucky and Millersville University—to overhaul these services and achieve significant savings.
Clemson University - Modernizing Mailroom Management & Printing
Clemson University’s commitment to innovation was conspicuously absent from its mailroom management and document printing workflows. Students could only use the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages and had to rely on postal service notifications to know when their mail had arrived. Unfortunately, just because the postal service had sent a delivery confirmation email, it didn’t necessarily mean the package had been processed by the university and was actually ready for pickup.
In addition, since the university had closed its on-site print shop, no on-campus commercial printing was available. As a result, students, staff members and professors had to send higher-end digital printing to third parties. To make matters worse, there were no fixed cost controls for the requests.
Clemson had no official system for purchasing, maintaining and tracking printing equipment and no central database with the details on every asset. Each department ordered its own printers from different companies and, since there was no asset tracking in place, the university had no visibility into the location of any printing equipment.
The Ricoh team assumed control of the student post office in addition to mail processing and distribution. They put in electronic kiosks where students could pick up packages at their convenience and created electronic delivery notifications.
In addition, the Ricoh team added an on-site print shop with a streamlined print request system and modern printing technology. Now students, staff members and professors could visit a single on-campus facility for all their printing and mail needs.
Finally, the Ricoh team performed a thorough assessment of all 3,000 printers on campus. They added a uniform ID system and installed smart print management software to collect utilization data by printer and department.
Following the assessment, the Ricoh team replaced the outdated equipment with smaller, more energy-efficient printers. They consolidated the number of printing equipment providers and also took over management of maintenance and supplies.
Since partnering with Ricoh, Clemson has achieved over $500,000 in savings and more than $2.5 million in new revenue, according to a news release in April.
This new revenue has offset nearly 90 percent of the cost of Clemson’s print and mail services. It’s also made mailroom management much more efficient and created a better experience for students. Students can now pick up their packages within about one minute of the carrier’s arrival, compared to about a 40-minute wait time previously.
The university has also increased efficiency and decreased costs by installing upgraded printing devices and executing an updated printing program that defaults to double-sided and black-and-white printing.
University of Kentucky - Improving Print Management
With 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the University of Kentucky is one of the top 50 largest public universities in the country. On average, the university spends approximately $6.7 million each year on direct print costs. This includes expenses associated with hardware, supplies, leases, maintenance, personnel and more.
Upon investigation of the university’s printing equipment, management and utilization, the administration discovered the institution had at least 10,000 print devices from 33 unique manufacturers spread across campus! No device had appropriate utilization—they were either used excessively or not at all.
Additionally, due to a decentralized procurement process, the university had 632 different types of printing devices with over 1,000 unique supply needs. This made it extremely difficult to properly track the equipment.
The University of Kentucky implemented Ricoh’s Managed Document Services. The objective was to develop a customized, universal procurement strategy for all on-campus printing needs. Part of this process was standardizing all print equipment.
The university did not purchase any new devices until after the Ricoh team performed a thorough assessment to determine which equipment was best suited to accommodate the needs of that campus area and the students there. Upon procurement, the devices were connected to a centralized network, which allowed the university to remotely track the status of each device and perform preventative maintenance, repairs and software updates.
Initial analysis by Ricoh and the university indicates the implementation of Ricoh’s Managed Document Services could save the institution more than $22 million over the next six years.
Thanks to the partnership with Ricoh, the university was able to create a more modern campus. Departments have access to a variety of digital print devices, utilization reports and guaranteed response times. The university also plans to implement mobile printing features to better support its on-the-go user base.
In addition, the new campus-wide system is more eco-friendly than the previous procedures, complementing the university’s commitment to increasing sustainability. Print devices default to double-sided printing, which helps reduce waste. And the standardization of equipment and supplies enables the university to make smarter maintenance and inventory decisions.
Millersville University - Streamlining Asset Management
Asset tracking and management is a major issue for many colleges and universities, and Millersville was no exception. When Millersville University enlisted the help of Ricoh, the Ricoh team discovered a scenario they knew well. Not only did the university have a decentralized printing system, but it was also bound by state-approved procurement guidelines. The inefficiency of its print strategy had a ripple effect throughout the university.
Just as with Clemson and the University of Kentucky, Millersville was frustrated by inconsistent, disparate procurement procedures. Each department had free reign to make purchasing decisions and choose their preferred vendors. As a result, there were 400 different printing devices, all from multiple vendors.
Almost 50 percent of the equipment was over five years old. And some devices had been procured 15 years prior. This outdated equipment lacked sufficient security controls, leaving the university at risk of data breaches. Additionally, the university’s IT team had zero visibility into utilization or performance.
Without a centralized asset tracking system, the university couldn’t monitor service contracts. As a result, most of the contracts were expired, and some equipment never had service contracts at all.
From 2010 to 2012, the Ricoh team conducted a comprehensive analysis for each department. They examined every building on campus to locate every printing device. The team discovered the university could reduce the number of devices by installing digital multifunction printers (MFPs) that combined printing, copying, scanning and faxing.
The MFPs were more efficient and required less energy to operate. And because they were connected to a network, the university had access to extensive utilization data. With this information, university decision-makers had better insight into how a centralized print management process could save the institution money.
Based on the results of Ricoh’s assessment, the university immediately replaced over 40 devices that were more than five years old with MFPs. These MFPs included features that overwrite data temporarily stored on the device’s hard drive, so no confidential information is available to anyone other than the current user.
The scanning capabilities have also enabled the university to begin transitioning to a more cost-effective paperless workflow. Employees no longer have to search for physical documents; all of the information they need is stored in a secured database.
The partnership with Ricoh is expected to reduce Millersville’s energy costs by approximately 60 percent. Additionally, the university anticipates the new printing system will decrease the total number of pages printed by 1.2 million per year.
The new centralized asset management solution not only improves maintenance processes but also inventory replenishment. Since each device is connected to a network, the printer can automatically send an email when toner levels are low.
Like the University of Kentucky, Millersville also plans to implement mobile printing.
Is It Time To Modernize Your Campus Services?
Colleges and universities have tremendous potential to improve mailroom delivery or find a better way to manage printing services.
These may seem like line items in a budget that totals hundreds of millions each year, but as you can see, the costs add up quickly. And as the cost of tuition continues to climb, students and parents are becoming more cost-conscious. They expect exceptional service, and they want to see that universities are adding enough value to justify another tuition increase.
By reducing the cost of services like printing and mailroom management, administrators can invest that money into more visible areas like student activities, campus housing and research.