Devices reduced from 68 to 30 in printer fleet refresh

Stuck with the 21st century tag of being a knowledge worker, most modern day office staff today deal with "printer issues." But it is the IT manager who is the real warrior of printer problems, just ask John Giovinazzo, IT manager for Ku-ring-gai Council on Sydney's north shore.

"We were spending too much time and applying too many resources managing our print environment," he said.

That's because the local government authority had amassed a wide range of print-capable devices including laser printers, standalone copiers and faxes.

"This situation had become a concern for the council's IT department, which at one point was forced to stock more than 30 different types of consumables for its print and copier devices," Giovinazzo explained.

"By supporting a number of different types of devices and print drivers we were wasting a significant amount of time and money. Additionally, the time needed to order, stock, implement and manage supplies was cutting into the council's valuable IT resources. "

Following a review of its hardware requirements, the council's IT department made the decision to refresh its entire print infrastructure across all of its 13 sites and offices and went with Lexmark.

The refresh focused on streamlining several of its business processes, consolidating its printer fleet, and upgrading existing standalone devices with newer multi-function printers to reduce costs.

Giovinazzo said the first step was centralizing all of its purchasing of IT and office equipment.

"Obviously, the IT department can achieve greater economies of scale; previously copiers and faxes could be purchased by individual workgroups so there was little opportunity to manage costs across the organization."

Ku-ring-gai has over 400 staff and provides services to more than 109,000 residents and local businesses covering an 84 square kilometre area.

"We also set up a semi-automated purchasing system whereby low-cost, high yield original laser printer consumables are provided by Lexmark partner, Cornerstone, as the council needs them, avoiding the need to purchase and hold large volumes of spare stock," Giovinazzo said.

The council now also manages its entire fleet using Lexmark's Fleet Management software, which provides an analysis of the performance of each print and imaging device.

In line with the council's commitment to reduce its impact on its surrounding environment by reducing paper wastage, the council now places a stronger emphasis on distributing documents electronically as well as encouraging double-sided printing.

"Multi-function printers have been integrated with the council's TRIM records management system, enabling users to scan documents into digital format. Scanned documents can then be sent directly to e-mail," Giovinazzo said.

In addition to reducing paper waste, the council has signed up for the 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program to ensure consumables are recycled and diverted away from landfill.

Giovinazzo said the council has standardised all of its devices, with everything moving over as service and leasing contracts with other vendors expire.

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"Our primary goal was to phase out the use of other vendors' photocopiers in most of our locations, because the leases on these were very expensive and we could achieve the same, if not better results, using multi-function laser printers with scanners at a lower cost," he said.

"This means also getting the right fit. For example, where scan and fax features are not required, standalone printers have been deployed."

Through the device consolidation, the council has improved its return on investment for its printer fleet, reducing both upfront and ongoing costs.

Following the completion of the consolidation project, the council will have reduced the number of devices in use from 68 to 30.

"More importantly, the council now only requires six variants of consumables," Giovinazzo added.

"By standardising on six consumable types, the devices require significantly less support to manage driver rollouts and manage stock on hand, delivering improved efficiencies for the IT department.

"Through the adoption of electronic document distribution the council now has greater security for its confidential documents, including development proposals and contracts."

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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