by Debbie Callaghan
Marketing Manager at RISO UK Ltd
The place of print in education is firmly established, even with the increased use of new technologies such as tablet computers, email and intranet sites.
Schools still use print to disseminate information; from newsletters and communications with parents, to worksheets and learning aids.
But at a time when school budgets are being pressed harder, how can school business managers improve print services but remain cost-focused?
A typical primary school of around 350 pupils and 30 staff prints more than 500,000 items a year, while some secondary schools print in excess of 3.5 million pages.
The cost of printing can skyrocket if not properly measured and managed. Yet some schools, even those with new buildings and processes, still do not have easy access to information about who prints what, when and how.
Research shows that by gaining control of print, primary schools could save an average of £1,500-£3,500 a year, while secondary schools could save as much as £40,000.
So how can that control be regained?
Nicky Gillhespy, the School Business Manager at Cheam Fields Primary School in Surrey, says that for many schools, printing be a costly affair, particularly if they simply don’t know how much they print.
Her school audited its procedures and printers, eventually replacing seven desktop printers with a more cost-effective printing hub. Not only has it made a difference to how the school prints, and how staff think about printing, it now prints three times as much as it used to for the same cost.
For most schools, audits highlight inefficiencies, from wasteful printing and high cartridge spend to time spent repairing faulty devices and replenishing toner.
It is also vital that the audit looks at the total cost of ownership. A cheaper print device may look good on the balance sheet initially, but it might have higher running costs or be unable to cope with print volumes in the long run.
Where a supplier could, rightly, say that a product is cheaper, take TCO into consideration and the outcome might be different. Many people specify three years in a tender, but why does it have to be over that period? There are more cost-effective and efficient solutions where, over, say, five years, the TCO is more beneficial for the school budget.
If you would like some advice, or have any questions call RISO, manufacturers of unique, industry-leading inkjet printers/copiers, on 020 8236 5800 or visit www.riso.co.uk.