Students Staff

21 September 2018

Streamlining our printing

Filed under: Campus news — Communications, CER @ 2:56 pm

We currently have more than 1,000 printers in operation across our three campuses – and are using 22 million sheets of paper a year for in-office printing. Our printing services need to be streamlined and centrally managed so we can save paper, reduce our carbon emissions, improve efficiency and cut costs. 

Marc Albano, our Deputy Director of Finance, tells us more about the project aimed at tackling this situation – and what we can all do to help.

Can you outline the situation for us?
Most print and copy facilities across the University are either individual or small networked devices with no consistency or standardisation that are only accessible by either one person or a small number of individuals in an office. Colour printing is not available as a norm and there are limited remote/mobile printing options.

Student-facing printing is centralised, and a recent pilot at the Southend Campus has shown that a centralised model for staff and student printing can enhance and increase the functionality and availability of devices across a campus, whilst also reducing costs and allowing the University’s printing requirements and habits to be understood and better supported.

We are now working to centralise and standardise our print, copy and scan devices across our three campuses. This will include remote/mobile printing and scan to email/box/SharePoint.

How many printers are there in the university?
An audit carried out last year identified 1,025 print/copy devices, of which about 90% are small office or individual devices.

How much are we using the equipment, the paper, the toner?
The 120 Large Office Multi-Function Devices (MFD) handle over half of all printed/copied content. The cost of the remaining 90% of the print estate is largely spent on toner cartridges and replacement of old or failed machines.

We’re producing around 17.8 million mono and 4.3 million colour print/copies a year.

Why is this a problem?
Every 8,000 sheets of A4 paper equates to one tree, so just through print/copy alone we’re getting through at least 1,624 trees a year. Aside from the environmental issues, we’re also spending a lot of money on expensive toner and, because of the variety of printers we currently use, maintenance is also costly and inefficient.

What are your plans to tackle this situation?
Budgets held by departments and sections for printers and consumables will be consolidated into a single budget held by IT Services, who will work with a supplier across all campuses.
Paper will be procured centrally and toner will be replenished by an automated just-in-time process.

Diagnostic tools will proactively monitor the fleet, passing alerts to support operatives who can troubleshoot or escalate any issues using Service Level Agreements that match the University’s core needs.

The MFD devices will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure we have the right devices in the right locations, so we can move, expand or reduce the fleet as required.

What is this going to mean for colleagues? Will they have to change the way they print?
To support the University’s Green Impact initiative, print jobs will default to double-sided mono, and will be held in a queue until the user releases them at the device (follow-me printing). This not only removes waste from unwanted/uncollected print jobs but is much more secure – for printing confidential material.

Print jobs can be released at any device around the campuses.

Remote/mobile printing will also be significantly enhanced, allowing students and staff to print from any device, whether they are connected to the University network or wifi.

Where do you think we can make savings?
“Follow-me” printing prevents any unwanted or uncollected print jobs from being printed and by setting the machines to a default setting so they only print double sided black and white saves toner and paper.

Moving from over 1,000 mixed devices to something closer to 200 standard models will allow us to significantly reduce future replacement costs and reduce the amount of spare toner held on site.

What can we all be doing to help?
The project team will be contacting departments and professional service sections to help with identifying the best locations for these new devices. We will also be looking for volunteers to become our new Print Champions.

The Champions group will receive comprehensive training on how to get the most out of the devices in their area. Their feedback will also help us develop and improve the way we print over the coming years.

This project will ensure that the University has the best quality devices running and operating in an efficient and cost effective manner but every member of staff needs to consider their own level of printing so we can reduce the volume of printing being produced – 22 million sheets of paper per year is a lot of printing.

What work is going to be done?
Following a device audit, preferred locations will be mapped against existing provision to help inform the University’s new Print Policy. Where these replace existing devices, the project team will work to plan as seamless a switch over as possible. Should any devices be planned for areas without current data/power, works will be undertaken to prepare these areas – working alongside Essex Access Forum and Fire Safety.

When and where will this happen?
A technical proof of concept is underway now in IT Services, Finance, Talent Development Centre and Strategic Planning and Change. It is anticipated that two pilots will then take place starting in October, one introducing the new devices into our new STEM building, the other introducing them into an existing area of the University.

Experiences from these pilots will help improve and refine the design of the service, and help produce a deployment plan and timetable for the rest of our three campuses. It is anticipated that the Centrally Managed Print Solution will be deployed across the University before the end of the 2018/19 financial year. We will replace all student accessible MFD devices to provide a single service for all- so this will follow the main roll out of devices for staff.

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