“Free Printing” was a concept enjoyed by students who decided not to purchase new ink for their inkjet printers, but rather use the network of computer and library printers. This “Free Printing” without any control or monitoring was a source of major expense for the college. A typical scenario would be when a student would need a few pages from a 100 page document. The student would print the entire document, keep the 2 or 3 pages that were needed, and recycle the rest of the document. Irresponsible printing could be seen in the trash and recycle bins located next to every network printer. The concept of “Free Printing” also affected faculty and staff printing routines.
All departments at Meredith College are responsible for their printing costs. The departments discovered by using the computer lab and library printers they were able to save their department’s money, only to move that expense to the technology department’s budget.
The bottom line – Meredith College was spending an excess of $90K each year for printers that weren’t being utilized, not controlling wasteful printing, and allowing unlimited and unchecked printing to anyone that knew where the campus network printers were. The Technology Services Group completed extensive research into different print scenarios, and Meredith College chose the Pharos solution to control their campus printing issues.
The Healthy Solution
After a consultation with Pharos Sales Manager @Scott Murphy, it was determined that Meredith College did not put profit as a driver to the implementation of the print management system. The goal was to break even and to eliminate the wasteful printing.
Murphy proposed a comprehensive solution that included a mixture of printers and multifunction products (MFP) that print, copy, scan, and fax geographically spread throughout campus—where students and faculty had fast and easy access to them.
Each device ran Pharos Uniprint and/or Off-the-Glass software via Omega terminals or built directly into the device, which charge students for what they print and copy.
The new, Pharos-powered print process is simple:
- Users send the print job to print from a campus workstation or laptop to the Pharos System.
- The student chooses a printer and swipes their (CBORD) campus card—the same card they use for all their other on-campus purchases.
- They pick up their print job.
Copying is just as easy:
- Users swipe their campus cards at a multifunction device to initiate copying.
- They select the appropriate charge code(s).
- They scan the documents and pick up their copies.
College’s decision to use Pharos was due to some very important reasons: The ability to integrate with the CBORD card system (using Datatel), the fact that a Pharos staffer and not a separate integrator would do the installation work, the system’s ease of use, Pharos reputation and quality (this was confirmed after talking to several other schools) and competitive price.
The campus-wide initiative went into effect the fall semester. Meredith College used the $90K budgeted for new printers to implement the campus wide print management system. The system included Pharos Omega terminals, MFP card readers, new network and MFPs for all the residence halls, and complete software setup and installation from a Pharos technician.
Each full-time student’s campus card is allotted a print credit equivalent to $15 per semester for printing and copying. Meredith College charges $.08 B/W single sided, $.10 B/W double sided, and $.35 color per side printing, which equates to about 200 pages per semester. These costs are the break-even point for each page printed. After the initial $15 credit, students are responsible for paying for their printing and copying. All printers and MFP equipment that use the Pharos system are setup to use 3rd party billing. The 3rd party system provides Meredith College a way to allow faculty and staff to use their campus cards on any of the Pharos controlled printers. By running a monthly report, any print or copy costs that were submitted by faculty and staff are charged back to the employees department.
By charging for print jobs, the wasteful printing is no longer seen. Students now take the time to learn how to print what they need, rather than printing everything, and taking only the pages they need. This, along with a “Greenprint” initiative, which encourages students to print more responsibly, has resulted in a substantial reduction of paper and consumable waste.
The result is similar for faculty and staff printing. With the 3rd party charge back process, all faculty and staff are accountable to their department heads for any Pharos controlled print and copy costs. The overall use of Pharos controlled lab and color printers has fallen and the printing on the less expensive copier fleet has grown. Thus, Meredith College spends less overall on printing than before the system implementation.
Informed IT decision-making
Every page printed and copied is captured and accounted for in the Pharos system. Standard and customizable reports can be run that informs them of who is printing what, how much, and from where. Using that data, Meredith IT staff can analyze usage of devices to make sure the right equipment is in the right location.
“The reports show us the high volume print and copy areas so we can be sure to place high volume equipment there. This helps us avoid not only overage charges, but also equipment malfunction from having to deal with a workload they’re not made for.”
Satisfied end users
The biggest concern for Meredith College was student reaction and pushback to the fees.
“The first couple of months were rough. There was resistance from upper classmen who had never had to deal with any type of print management much less the idea of paying for their print”.
Over time, the change was accepted by all students as a positive way to control the waste. New incoming students had no issue with the “print management system”; instead they were excited that a $15 credit for printing was put on their campus cards.
Meredith College is pleased with the success of the Pharos print management solution. Costs for paper and toner are down campus wide even with the $15 print credit. Students are learning how to print responsibly and budget their allocated print money. Faculty and staff are also receiving a solid education in the area of print costs. Attention had never been given to the cost of printing on a desktop printer versus a network printer. As this knowledge spreads it will increase the success of Technology Services’ long term goal of removing all desktop printers and moving to a full Pharos supported print management system on network printers.