The University of Regina gets its printing under control
FROM THE PURCHASINGB2B MARCH/APRIL 2012 PRINT EDITION:
For the University of Regina, the first step towards solving their paper usage issues was realizing they had a problem. A few years ago, the institution looked at the amount of paper it used, who used it and how. The bottom line: There was room for improvement.
The university hired an external consultant, Calgary-based print optimization service provider Print Operations Group (POG), to investigate the printing situation and benchmark it against other, similar institutions. The results painted a less-than-perfect picture.
“When they came back to us, they told us there was no print strategy or governance in place,” says Ray Konecsni, the university’s director of customer support services. “For example, our printing department, which reported through ancillaries, was responsible for the photocopying devices and central print. And IS (information services, or the IT department) was responsible for the file print function—the infrastructure for print—but each respective department end user had the freedom to purchase whatever device they wanted.”
POG discovered the university had no standardization in buying toner and other related products, Konecsni says. There were roughly 1,200 devices across the campus and the school had a staff-to-device ratio of two-to-one. As well, 72 percent of the printing came from desktop or personal printers (23 percent of which was colour). “We were a very costly environment,” Konecsni notes. “When you looked at our total cost of print and how many pages it worked out to, it was an average of about nine cents a page.”
So how to change? An initial move was getting support from the university’s senior management. Members of the C-suite were approached about bringing the organization’s print services under control. “A lot of people on campus felt we were actually very green to begin with and had done significant work to become green,” says David Wilson, the university’s associate VP, information services. “Our analysis told us, that may have been the perception but not the reality. What we then did was make sure our senior management was on board.”
The university’s director of purchasing and senior purchasing analyst signed on, says Konecsni, and the department was instrumental in the process. Purchasing helped develop the RFP that led to POG’s involvement and in setting goals once a vendor was chosen. To secure that vendor, the university used an RFP template POG provided that included service level agreements and other terms and agreements.
The university included end users in the hardware selection, says Wilson. The organization hosted onsite demonstrations for staff in order to see options that would meet the university’s requirements, then give feedback on the equipment’s features. “There was quite a rigorous process we took the organization through in making our selection of a vendor,” Wilson says. “That helped raise awareness and made people comfortable they weren’t going to be required to take a less-productive solution in the process.”
The right stuff
In the end, Lexmark Canada won the contract. One of the initial steps the company took, says its manager of business development Mark McCullough, was to come up with an analysis of how the university was using the devices it already had. Lexmark discovered that, along with shared resources and workgroup devices that various departments were using, some employees were also using “personal output devices” on their desks that weren’t being utilized by a group or department. As well, many of those devices came from different manufacturers.