Southbank Institute of Technology

by Ricoh Australia

Ricoh’s solution represented all the functionality we needed, without any of the management or maintenance overheads.

Jo Jones - Facilities Manager, Southbank Institute of Technology

Vocational and technical education is the backbone that supports Australian industry, providing the skills used every day in businesses across the country. Brisbane-based Southbank Institute of Technology is a field leader, boasting world-class teachers, facilities and industry partnerships, which provide over 21,000 students from 90 countries with the experience and skills employers demand.

An organisation of that magnitude requires outstanding support systems, and a Managed Document Services (MDS) partnership with Ricoh Australia provides Southbank Institute with a document environment every bit as excellent as its other facilities.

The challenge: Improvements across the board

According to Facilities Manager Jo Jones, Southbank Institute faced challenges and inefficiencies with the print and copy devices it used day-to-day, and was looking to explore the advantages of an on-site production print solution.

“Our past arrangements gave us no way of knowing precisely where we were spending our print budget. All we’d get is a single monthly bill,” she says. “On top of that, we had well over 120 devices across two campuses. We knew it was too many, but we didn’t have the tools and support that would enable us to reduce that number.”

With regard to the Institute’s off-site bulk printing, department heads were seeking to gain greater accuracy in job costing and, importantly, more efficient workflows. On top of that there was a need to improve security, flexibility and environmental performance across the board.

From the outset, Ricoh’s approach was to work with us as a partner, not just a provider.

Understand: The complete picture

Ricoh was one of several organisations invited to tender for provision of a new document environment. Almost immediately, Ricoh MDS personnel undertook a comprehensive discovery process in order to ensure any proposed solution would be a best fit for the Institute’s needs.

During a two-week on-site audit they mapped out and reviewed the usage of every print, copy, scan and fax device on campus. That was followed up with interviews and workshops held with key Institute stakeholders to develop a complete picture of current and predicted future print workflows, habits and requirements.

“From the outset, Ricoh’s approach was to work with us as a partner, not just a provider,” Jo says. “No stone was left unturned when it came to understanding our current and future needs – it was obvious Ricoh wanted to find the right solution, with respect to both fleet devices and bulk printing.”

Improve: $3 million saving over five years

Having developed a complete understanding of the Institute’s document requirements, Ricoh proposed an integrated solution that would save time, money and complexity while improving environmental performance.

Based on the site audits, specifications were developed for a fleet of Ricoh multifunction devices (MFDs) that would provide staff with greater functionality and capacity than existing devices, while shrinking fleet size by over 30 per cent. In addition, an on-site Green Print Centre would replace the off-site bulk printing facility and house three high-performance Ricoh production systems: two 135 page-per-minute (ppm) black-and-white devices and a 90 ppm colour device.

Included in the proposed solution were full-time Ricoh MDS personnel who would staff the Green Print Centre. Their primary roles would be to: process bulk print jobs, deliver finished jobs direct to staff, keep the fleet stocked with consumables, and maintain the entire solution. In regard to performance, their goals would include maintaining uptime of 96 per cent or more on fleet devices and dramatically reducing bulk print turnaround times.

To provide optimum solution control and facilitate improved governance, the Ricoh MDS solution detailed the inclusion of:

  • A Ricoh-customised audit system, providing fleet-wide cost tracking, print policy enforcement and secure printing to any device on campus.
  • A Ricoh developed solution package to help Southbank Institute manage the environmental impact of its printing.
  • A customised web-to-print and quoting system for bulk printing, which would streamline job submission and approval processes, and return control of print costs to department heads.
  • Print workflow, colour management software and hardware used inside the Green Print Centre to ensure rapid turnaround of high-quality print jobs.

“Having a fully-managed solution freed staff up to focus on teaching and administration,” Jo says. “Ricoh’s solution represented all the functionality we needed, without any of the management or maintenance overheads.”

Ultimately, Ricoh’s MDS solution is expected to save the Institute $3 million over five years, eliminate 250,000 pages of printing per month and cut print-related energy consumption. On the strength of that, and the fully managed, integrated nature of the solution, the Institute signed a 10-year MDS partnership agreement with Ricoh.

Transform: Over 80 devices installed in two weeks

Even with the massive scope of the project, Southbank Institute experienced minimal disruption to its operations during rollout, thanks to Ricoh’s project management expertise, open communication and full contingency planning. That expertise and coordination was key to completing fleet rollout in just two weeks.

MDS personnel streamlined the process by running-up and configuring all devices before moving them on-site. In advance of the rollout, transition information for staff was disseminated in emails and on posters, along with the distribution of user guides and the provision of detailed training sessions for all users.

Ricoh brought the same project management expertise in to play during construction of the on-site Green Print Centre. Beginning with only a shell, an MDS project manager oversaw the entire fit-out design, approval and construction process on behalf of the Institute.

Here, Ricoh’s full risk assessment and contingency planning proved invaluable for the Institute. “The 2011 Brisbane floods hit right as the Green Print Centre was ready to go live,” Jo says. “The building had no power for five weeks, and the water only stopped a metre below the print room floor. Ricoh’s personnel simply activated their contingency plan and kept working.

“They brought in a portable generator, worked for 26 days straight and had all our print jobs finished on time for the new semester.”

Govern: Time, money, trees saved

Governance processes built into Ricoh’s MDS solution ensure the Institute receives maximised cost savings, reductions in paper usage, environmental performance and workflow efficiency.

Integrated software solutions provide complete control over the print environment, and full visibility of all user activity. Within the governance processes, every print job is tracked and allocated down to an individual user level by Ricoh’s customised cost recovery solution. Then, Ricoh’s environmental reports tracks environmental performance, and additional software allows on-site MDS personnel to monitor the status of all fleet devices in real time.

Information from those systems forms the basis of monthly reports and regular meetings between Ricoh and the Institute stakeholders.

Having reviewed performance, a range of tools can be used to address any potential issues.

Print policies are one of those tools, encompassing measures such as making double-sided printing the fleet-wide default. In the space of one year, double sided printing alone saved the Institute over 3.2 million sheets of paper and $32,000 in associated costs. In the process, 387 trees and over 28 tonnes of carbon emissions were saved.

Further savings are being realised by departments regaining control of bulk printing budgets using the Green Print Centre’s online storefront. All bulk print orders are automatically costed by the online storefront then submitted to the relevant department head for approval. Only once a job is approved is it released to MDS personnel for printing.

Optimise: A continual improvement process

Ricoh personnel continuously optimise the solution, adapting to changing business needs and seeking to further reduce costs and streamline processes for Institute staff.

One example is Ricoh’s ongoing monitoring of fleet usage, which identifies trends such as fleet devices being used for jobs that could be more economically printed in bulk. By adjusting print policies and providing additional staff training, in one year MDS personnel plan to move up to one million of those impressions to the Green Print Centre.

The introduction of a streamlined print-on-demand service for bulk printing is another example, according to Jo. “Ricoh identified many commonly-printed documents, and added them as standard jobs in the online storefront,” she says. “Now, teachers simply select those documents from a list – they don’t need to enter finishing options or upload files, cutting job submission time from 15 minutes to two. Approval is faster for department heads, too, and consistency is assured across all print runs.

“Ricoh’s promise of ongoing optimisation was a major factor in Southbank Institute committing to the 10-year MDS partnership,” Jo concludes. “It’s a promise that has been delivered on at every level. Ricoh is constantly providing opportunities to make further savings, adapt the solution to our changing needs, and save time for our staff.”