Tatsuo Murakami, managing director of RISO UK
The importance of print in education cannot be underestimated. From newsletters and communications with parents to worksheets and learning aids, printed materials are essential to the smooth running of a school. A typical primary school of around 350 pupils and 30 staff prints more than 500,000 items a year; some secondary schools print in excess of 3.5 million pages.
The cost of printing can skyrocket if not properly measured and managed. Yet some schools, even those with new buildings and processes, still do not have easy access to information about who prints what, when and how. Research shows that by gaining control of print, primary schools could save an average of £1,500-£3,500 a year, while secondary schools could save as much as £40,000.
There are a number of things schools can do to reduce print costs, starting with a full audit of the print process to highlight inefficiencies, from wasteful printing and high cartridge spend to time spent repairing faulty devices and replenishing toner.
It is vital that the audit looks at the total return on investment. A cheaper print device may look good on the balance sheet initially, but it might have higher running costs or be unable to cope with expected print volumes in the long run.
Simple things such as using print management software and more efficient, reliable centralised devices that offer cost-effective colour printing at high speed will help schools to reduce their bills. Faster, more productive machines can also improve productivity, freeing up staff and eliminating headaches, such as paper jams and slow output, that are so damaging to staff morale and efficiency.
One school that has not looked back since conducting a print audit is Cheam Fields Primary School in Cheam, Surrey. School bursar Nicky Gilhespy said: “We carried out an audit of our printing resource and realised that we could not only cut costs but also produce more items and in colour, which can be an aid to learning. I would advise any school to really examine their print requirements with an independent audit.”