Printing solutions

Essex County Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council achieve cost savings with Konica Minolta’s printing solutionsEssex County Council serves a population of 1,645,900 making it one of the biggest local authorities in the UK. With its headquarters in Chelmsford, Essex County Council is always seeking value for money and recently undertook a cost review of local print output. Following the review the council has instituted a print output replacement programme with Konica Minolta as the principal supplier, resulting in cost savings of £52,000 in the first year.
“Until the review all departments within the county council made their own arrangements for the purchase of print devices such as photocopiers and computer printers”, says Alan Gillard, facilities manager for mail and logistics in the council’s facilities management department. “This meant there were many different suppliers with a huge variety of purchasing arrangements and contracts. So there was no way to determine centrally what print output was costing the council. Changes in technology meant that it was now possible to network print devices so we decided to see if we could rationalise print output.”
Networked multifunctional devices
To achieve this the council’s procurement department asked a number of suppliers to tender for contracts. All prospective suppliers were drawn from either the Central Buying Consortium or the Office of Government Commerce public sector purchasing framework agreements.
“Following product demonstrations we decided to switch to networked multifunctional devices. Apart from cost management, office space and network traffic were becoming issues. All the personal printers, copiers and scanners were taking up more and more office and desk space. The amount of network traffic was also increasing and the IT department was running out of network point provision.”
One of the four selected suppliers was Konica Minolta. The Konica Minolta product line up ranges from an entry-level 13ppm (print per minute) multifunctional through to a 105ppm production print system for high speed applications. The latest generation of Konica Minolta document imaging systems are designated ‘bizhub’.
The roll-out took place over the past eighteen months and at the end of 2006 the council had over 55 networked multifunctional devices installed at county hall. In the process 47 large copiers and 79 printers were replaced.
The departments are able to choose the specific multifunctional they wanted based on their needs, so if they had a colour requirement they could select a colour printing device. So far over three quarters of the multifunctionals selected and installed have been from Konica Minolta.”

Cost benefit
As a result operating costs for print production in 2006 fell from £190,000 to £138,000 saving the council £52,000. Gillard continues: “The cost benefit has been matched by space savings. We have been able to remove tables and printer stands and clear desk tops. There is also a benefit from better productivity and functionality. The Konica Minolta multifunctionals can scan and they can duplex print (double sided) automatically, which saves us a lot of paper.
“There are a lot of other advantages to networked multifunctionals. The print speeds are generally faster, output quality is better and we noticed an immediate increase in reliability. About a third of the multifunctionals can print in colour. The whole consumables side of things is much simpler and we have to store less toner. There are also important health and safety considerations. There are fewer trailing wires under desks and putting the multifunctionals in a central location means staff don’t have the noise from printers operating on their desk tops.”
The council is now rolling out the replacement programme to smaller teams and departments outside of county hall. Schools in the county can also use the programme if they wish. Gillard says: “For the smaller teams Konica Minolta will conduct a mini audit of their print needs and recommend a replacement multifunctional showing the cost savings that should be achieved. That saves us a lot of time and allows department managers to see the kind of savings they can expect.”
In terms of the service support from Konica Minolta, Alan Gillard has been impressed. “Their service has been superb. Everything Konica Minolta promised we would get, we have got. We have ordered machines and they have been delivered inside a week. The engineers are fantastic and full training is given on-site to all staff.”
Summing up Alan says: “The whole print output process is being rationalised and simplified producing very significant cost savings for the council. The background paper work has been hugely reduced making analysis easy. We now understand the print output process and as they say, if you can measure it you can manage it!”

Council chooses Konica Minolta for imaging solution
Serving 130,000 Cambridgeshire residents, South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) recently selected Konica Minolta bizhub multifunctionals for its headquarters in the new town development of Cambourne.
Konica Minolta was chosen following a tendering process with six proposals. “Both Konica Minolta’s proposal and their presentation were the best we received. There was a level of teamwork and professionalism that impressed us and gave confidence”, says Sean Missin, procurement officer for SCDC.
The Konica Minolta proposal did not stop with the replacement of the copier fleet - it looked at the entire document production for SCDC’s head office including the personal printers used by staff and the computer line printers used in the print room. By using networked digital document imaging systems that could print as well as copy, Konica Minolta proposal suggested that SCDC could eliminate most of the personal printers and over time make some significant cost savings.
Immediate Benefits
The Konica Minolta proposal included 10 multifunctional document imaging systems that would be located around the headquarters serving different workgroups for both ‘walk-up’ copying and for computer printing and scanning. For the council’s graphics design team Konica Minolta proposed a bizhub C450 colour imaging system with a copy and print speed of 45 pages per minute for black and white and 35 pages per minute for colour.
To replace the existing copiers in the print room the Konica Minolta proposal specified another bizhub C450 colour imaging system and two high speed production print systems from Konica Minolta’s bizhub PRO series.
Once the implementation of the new Konica Minolta systems had taken place, SCDC began to see the benefits straight away. “We had over 100 printers of various types and the expense in toner and ink cartridges for these devices was very costly. We were able to eliminate half the printers in use almost immediately and we are now gradually reducing the use of the remaining printers because the users can now print across the network to the Konica Minolta systems at a far more economic cost.”
The bizhub C450 in the council’s graphics department has also generated cost savings, reducing the cost of colour prints by half. Coupled with the cost savings has come better quality and more accurate output. Missin continues:“The colour systems in the print room and graphics department both have Fiery RIPs allowing our graphics staff to accurately calibrate colour values to the correct Pantone shades. This is essential for consistency of output especially on things like logos. In the past it has been difficult to reproduce colours accurately.”
Management and control
Management and control of the Konica Minolta systems is simple with consistent up-time on the systems. The PageScope Net Care software installed by Konica Minolta provides network administrators with detailed information about the operating conditions of all networked output devices from any web browser.
Perhaps the greatest benefits of the change have come from the print room. Missin explains:

“We should be able to eliminate the two computer line printers that print onto continuous stationery because we can now switch the output to cut sheet paper using the bizhub PRO production print systems. Our council tax and benefits department has been able to bring in-house a lot of the print jobs they used to outsource. With the bizhub PRO systems we can print variable data onto pre-printed forms or print the whole document with variable data at high speed with on-line folding. The systems have opened up a lot of new possibilities for us, which we are still exploring.”
Summing up Sean says, “We sometimes have suppliers delivering projects and at a given point things break down and our staff have to drive the project through to completion. With Konica Minolta we never experienced that. All the individuals involved were high calibre, professional people who knew their jobs and where they fitted into the scheme. It was a ‘one-team’ operation. They demonstrated time and again that they could project manage and risk manage to a very high standard. Everything that was promised at the proposal stage was delivered – what we saw and what we were told is what we’ve got at a very competitive price. The support, training and after sales service we have received have been fantastic.”

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