The problem they were trying to solve: Separate Print and Copy Systems

Having already reduced waste and lowered costs by introducing a pay-for-print system in 1998, Marquette University was looking for ways to further optimize and enhance their printing and copying facilities.

 

The Marquette PrintWise system, which utilizes Pharos Uniprint, monitored and controlled 35 common area PrintWise locations across campus. Print management was centralized and well-established, and the benefits understood and appreciated. Copying services, however, operated outside the PrintWise system and were not centrally administered.

About PrintWise

  • Campus-wide network pay-for-print solution
  • Intended to recoup/ minimize printing costs
  • Uses Pharos Uniprint and Blackboard Transaction System to charge for printing to laser printers
  • Now integrated with Pharos Off-The-Glass and Pharos Omega to charge for copying costs

 

When their printer contract came up for renewal several years later, Marquette University saw an opportunity to consolidate common area printing and copying services̶ both in terms of organization and physical devices to further reduce costs while increasing the available services.

 

Prior to installing Pharos Omega  terminals, the PrintWise system managed printing across common area printers. Students each received an annual free print allocation of 200 black-andwhite pages at $0.07 per page ($14). Chargeback printing was available to the library staff.

 

Although PrintWise was designed to break even, the free printing allocation was sufficiently generous that many students simply didn’t need to use any more.

 

From July through June of the next year, only 38% of the student population used their entire allocation, and 23% didn’t use any of it. This meant that the University continued to carry some cost for printing; however, with the pay-for-print system in place, it was clear that printing was done more judiciously and the cost was reduced.

 

While the PrintWise system controlled student printing, public access to photocopiers was not centrally organized. Between University libraries, computer labs, and a few public areas such as the student union, 17 public-use copiers were available, owned by individual departments and managed by the local administrators.

 

Each department collected the revenue from its own machine, hoping to break even on the lease. However, of the 17 machines, only a handful of the machines generated enough revenue to realize that goal.

 

The Healthy Solution: Consolidate Services Using Pharos Omega

Marquette’s printer contract expired at the end of June. With a decision on printer replacement looming, the University was interested in investigating opportunities for furthering the benefits that had come out of the PrintWise program.

 

There were a number of obvious considerations.

 

Nearly half of the common area print locations also offered copy services, and ironically also sported an unconnected printer. Between printing and copying, a total of 52 common area output devices were available on campus for public use. The obvious question was why the printers and copiers should themselves remain separated. Bringing the two services together in multifunction printers and integrating them within the PrintWise program would achieve increased cost savings and better, more effective services for campus users.

 

With the proposal to roll the copiers into the pay-for-print program and make every common area printer location also a copying one, it made sense to centralize copier management. Not only would this process reduce the number of devices, but combining revenues would also allow the higher volume areas to offset those less used, so the operation as a whole would run closer to break-even.

 

With this decision made, IT moved on to finding a hardware solution that could best deliver these integrated services to the public. The sophisticated Pharos Omega terminal, with its large, state-of-the-art, color touch-screen fit the bill.

 

“Ultimately, we want to move to an integrated MFP solution,” said their Application Lead ‒ Card Services, IT Services, for Marquette University. “However, the onboard solutions offered in early 2005 weren’t well suited to our needs ̶ neither pricing, features, nor services. We were already using Pharos terminals, and these were reliable and worked well, but we wanted to move beyond the limited display. The Omega is intuitive for users, we can brand the screen, we can reboot and upgrade it remotely, and it offers some functionality that we haven’t had a chance to investigate yet. It’s actually a small computer. And, now there’s only one type of device for IT Services to support.”

 

The final decision was made: Marquette University would move to integrated printing and copying services using Pharos Omega terminals attached to campus MFPs.

 

The Results: Better Services, Reduced Costs, Higher Efficiency

A site audit determined where IT Services could combine devices and where to best position the new devices offering combined print and copy services. Some underutilized locations were removed and more support was added in high-demand areas.

 

As an example, approximately two thirds of the total campus output goes through the library. Prior to the refit, the library had:

• One color copier, controlled by a Pharos terminal

• Six black-and-white copiers, each controlled by a Pharos terminal

• One color printer

• Five print release stations

 

These were replaced with one color MFP and nine black-and-white MFPs, each controlled by a Pharos Omega terminal.

 

Students have found the Omega terminals easy to use, allowing them to take full advantage of these improved facilities. The switch to new devices went smoothly, and users needed no instruction on how to use the Omega. The device’s small footprint means it fits neatly on the security cabinet in which each MFP is housed, although Marquette is designing an L-shaped metal bracket to present it at a more convenient angle for users.

 

When releasing print jobs using the Omega, users see only their own jobs. When users send a job from their PC to the printer, they type in their nine-digit ID via Popups. At the Omega, they swipe their card and the device displays their jobs.

“The Omegas are working fine,” says Thomas Seney. “Install time was around 45-60 minutes per unit, which was a little longer than I expected. The majority of the work came from downloading Omega firmware and configuration. But, the admin tool is easy to use, and the multi-port SmartHub is great for areas without multiple network jacks.”

 

Since IT Services was already intending to spend money on printer replacements, removing the old printers and replacing them with MFPs was a cost effective option. IT Services took over the leases for the existing MFPs from departments. Departments stopped losing money and they were able to keep the funds they had initially put aside for the device leases, creating a win-win situation for all involved.

 

The Pharos Omega, coupled with multi-function technology, enabled Marquette to consolidate their printing and copying services using less hardware, thereby enabling the Pharos solution to cut costs dramatically.