Sustainable Development Today How Manchester's largest high school cut costs and achieved high-quality output
  • Govtoday Twitter Account
  • Govtoday Facebook Account
  • Govtoday Linkedin Account


Written by Vicki Mitchem


How Manchester's largest high school cut costs and achieved high-quality output

The school sees the provision of high-quality printing solutions as an integral element in its stated objective of making the learning environment as engaging as possible for young people and as a key tool in helping to streamline the administration and management of the school.

To drive efficiencies and enhance the learning environment, the school decided to look at some form of managed service to carry out the printing. As a result, the school's IT team approached several independent providers of equipment finance solutions for the education sector for their recommendations.

One of these, DMS Leasing proposed a managed service approach, which involved standardising on printing solutions from OKI. Parrs Wood evaluated the proposal against other in-house options it had already costed up. The OKI approach worked out as being more cost effective but as importantly had the key advantage of being a managed print services offering. OKI was also able to guarantee that support could be provided as and when required and consumables delivered when needed.

DMS is a specialist and independent provider of equipment and finance solutions for commercial use and for the education sector. Its knowledge of working with schools, colleges and universities means it recognises the importance of selecting the right equipment to do the job and the challenges faced by these institutions in managing their printing requirements. DMS had worked extensively with Parrs Wood High in the past and was only too happy to use this experience to form a joint approach with OKI.

The long-term benefits of a managed print service implementation are often extensive within the education sector. Schools using a managed print service can typically reduce costs as the approach gives greater visibility into the printing process, letting whoever is in charge of IT, monitor and review, the overall number of prints and the departmental split, showing where volumes are high and allowing them to address this.

Further benefits can be garnered by setting up printers appropriately. Devices can be set to print in mono as standard, allowing a school to reduce unnecessary colour printing, but enabling it to use colour when required. The printers can also be set up to print double-sided, as a default option, allowing the school to make further cost savings instantly while cutting paper usage by up to 50 per cent. The OKI MPS offering to Parrs Wood incorporated all of these benefits.

"The benefits of the scheme were compelling - from the convenience and cost-effective perspectives, in particular - so we decided to go for the OKI solution proposed by DMS," said Anthony Cumbor, ICT Support, Parrs Wood High School. "We pay a set price per page. This gives us tight cost control and predictable budgeting because we know exactly how much printing is going to cost. The approach also streamlines administration by giving us the option to charge back costs quickly and easily to school departments.

"Also, we had used OKI printers previously and had found them to be high-quality, robust and reliable, which helped to further streamline the decision-making process."

Prior to implementation, Parrs Wood High carried out a printing audit to establish printing volumes on existing devices; to rationalise the number of printers it required around the school and to fit the appropriate printer to the appropriate area.

Following the implementation and roll-out of the printers, Parrs Wood High now has two different models of OKI printer devices installed across the site: the OKI ES4131 and the OKI ES7120dn, both of which are A4 mono printers. These devices are all networked and used in a range of locations across the school including administration areas, classrooms and school faculty offices.  The ES7120dn is a higher volume device so the school has installed these in areas which had previously been printing more than 30,000 pages per year.

DMS is responsible for service and support. "If we need their help, we simply phone them and they send an engineer round – within 4 hours, Monday to Friday. The process for consumables is even simpler. The OKI printers send out an alert automatically that they are low on toner and this is sent directly to DMS who provide us with the required replacement toner," says Cumbor.

In the classrooms the printers are widely used for printing coursework, homework and material for projects etc. The fast print speeds available with the OKI devices help teachers to overcome the end-of-class printing rush and ensure that pupils no longer need to delay the start of the next lesson, waiting for work to appear. However, perhaps the most significant impact of high-quality printers in education lies in their ability to streamline the teaching and learning experience for staff and pupils ignite the creativity of staff and pupils.

Teachers can now be more flexible in the way they create and deliver content while the efficient, high-quality printing that the OKI devices support can help drive more positive engagement by pupils in the learning process.

Most administrative work output by the school office would also be carried out using the OKI devices including memos and letters home.

Although the implementation is still relatively recent, Parrs Wood High School is already experiencing a broad range of benefits from using the OKI printers as part of a managed service approach.  According to Cumbor, "they are economical to run which is very important. They have been reliable and robust. We have had very few problems. The print quality we have been able to achieve is perfect: crisp and precise."

The decision to standardise on OKI printers and migrate to a managed services approach has changed the school's approach to printing. Previously it considered it as an expensive necessity that was difficult to manage and control.

Today, thanks to the efforts of OKI and DMS, it regards printing more as a cost-effective enabler, helping pupils to produce high-quality work and streamlining the whole administrative process while delivering value for money and a significant reduction in costs.

The relationship that Parrs Wood enjoys with DMS has spanned over 20 years and means that through regular contact future needs can be anticipated and responded to, making sure the school continues to take advantage of the most cost-effective print solutions available.

Source: OKI


The views expressed in the contents below are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of GovToday.