Andy Hargreaves, regional sales manager at Altodigital, points out 5 key mistakes educational institutions can make when it comes to document and print technology – and crucially, explains how to avoid them
As those working in the education sector will know, a school’s printing and document management requirements are often considerable – teaching staff and students need to produce a high volume of documents on a fast turnaround, placing a great deal of pressure on their printing devices. Being aware of some of the costly mistakes that can be made regarding print infrastructure is the first step towards ensuring your establishment doesn’t end up wasting time and money as you search for the right solution.
One of the fundamental issues driving up print costs across the education sector is the large number of ineffective desktop printers still in place across many organisations.
In addition, many schools are still using a variety of different suppliers for their multi-functional devices (MFDs), which may not represent best value for money or the best service. This can result in large fleets of devices producing high volumes of wasted documents, hard to manage networks and very little transparency. Carrying out a detailed print audit and reviewing your print as a whole can increase efficiency and dramatically improve costs.
Using one uniform supplier often allows schools to significantly reduce their fleet size and simplify the management of their print estate.
UNPREPARED PRINT POLICY
Despite the ever increasing pressure on educational institutions to cut costs from many angles, it’s surprising how few schools have a dedicated print policy in place providing clear guidelines and setting rules around print procedures across the school, college or university.
One of the main aspects of this is communicating the policy amongst staff and pupils to ensure everyone is aware of the organisation’s print targets and the long term benefits of cutting down printing.
STALE SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS
Thousands of schools across the UK are still not using any type of output print management software, resulting in very little control and ever increasing waste and costs. By introducing a print management solution – which can be linked to existing bio-metrics systems such as cashless catering – schools can save money and improve productivity.
By enabling ‘pull print’ functionality from within the print management software, teachers and students can send documents to print to a variety of secure devices across a number of different buildings, resulting in confidential print collections and driving down wastage. Print management software targeted specifically at schools such as ‘Papercut’ also allows the schools management team to put ‘rules’ in place to ensure best practice printing is carried out at all times – ultimately driving down costs and reducing the school’s carbon footprint.
When reviewing their print infrastructure and going through the procurement process, schools and colleges should be looking at negotiating operating leases rather than standard leases with suppliers. These contracts usually offer a much lower rate of lending as well as prohibiting suppliers from carrying out costly mid-contract upgrades and providing hardware that is a certain percentage (usually 70%) over the RRP.
Many schools we come into contact with at Altodigital don’t have the resources for an in-house procurement expert and when they require new or replacement printing solutions they will often go to local or peer-recommended suppliers.
Though these suppliers often have first class knowledge and large product ranges, we would always advise going through an industry recognised framework. The Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC) is one of the largest education sector frameworks and it offers a lot of additional expertise and benefits for those looking to expand or adapt their print fleet. By going through the framework, they offer to draft the tender document on the school’s behalf, issue it to all suppliers on the framework and co-ordinate the responses – streamlining the process and saving time.
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