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Konica Minolta tells the story of how Pharos Uniprint helped the University of North Carolina Wilmington improve student printing services, eliminate 1.8M impressions, save $140,000, reduce printed pages by 65%, as well as increase printing security.


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The problem they were trying to solve: Steep Consumable Costs and Wasted Paper

At Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), the System Administrator and Lab Administrator put together a report on the printing supplies used in four of the largest “open” computer labs. Their findings were disturbing.  During the months of October and November, the four labs went through 906 reams of paper (453,000 sheets) and 32 containers of toner, at a total cost of almost $8,000.  Because SLCC did not charge patrons for printing, there was no way to recover these sky-high consumable costs. To make matters worse, a large percentage of the printed pages ended up in the labs’ trash barrels.

“For every 7 or 8 cartons of paper printed, we estimated that only one carton’s worth of paper was actually leaving the labs with students.”


These were not the only issues confronting SLCC. Lab assistants spent so much time loading paper into printers that they could not provide students with all the assistance they needed.


Additionally, the overworked printers were likely to wear out earlier than expected.  And the reporting system could only count the total number of pages printed per day; there was no way to determine the time and duration of volume spikes.  It was also hard to ascertain if any students were abusing their privileges, e.g., by printing 400-page documents. Finally, without a way to charge for usage, they could not pursue the idea of introducing a new multifunction device (a color copier/printer) into the labs.


Armed with their data --plus two 50-gallon barrels full of discarded print-outs-- the Administrators made a presentation to SLCC’s Student Technology Fee Board.  When they finished, they had the Board’s unanimous approval to implement a solution for controlling printing volume and costs.



The Solution: Pharos Uniprint

They had heard about the Pharos Uniprint® system at a conference and thought it might fit the bill at SLCC, and after studying the product they were impressed by its features and functions.  Uniprint integrated easily with SLCC’s OneCard system and the richness of Uniprint’s reporting capabilities.  After evaluating another commercial product and a homegrown application used in another Utah college, SLCC chose Uniprint as its output resource management software.  The College selected Blackboard, a Pharos partner, to implement Uniprint in 12 computer labs.  This expanded SLCC’s relationship with Blackboard, which had previously installed the OneCard transaction system on campus.


Installation began the week of August 11th.  By September 10th, the rollout of Uniprint to the 12 labs was 99% complete.  Under the new system, students were credited with 100 free pages per semester. Beyond that, they were charged 2¢ for each monochrome page they printed. Additionally, in order to release a job for printing, students had to swipe their OneCard at the Uniprint release station.



The Results: Reduction in Printing Volume and Waste-- Plus Some Unforseen Benefits

The Uniprint system had an immediate impact.


“We usually go through four cartonsof paper a day in the main open lab.  On the first day after implementation of Uniprint, we used only three reams of paper.”Theyhad been told to expect a 40% reduction in printing overall.  “We’ve probably done better than that."


Uniprint is also freeing up lab assistants to work with students, rather than load paper into printers. The exploration of Uniprint’s powerful reporting capability was just beginning, but it was already clear that the OneCard accountant will use it for financial reconciliations.  With a mechanism for recovering the cost of consumables, it was feasible to consider introducing new multifunction devices into the labs.


In addition to the expected benefits, Uniprint has delivered some unanticipated bonuses.

“It’s helped get the word out about Blackboard’s OneCard system.  Because OneCard is now required for printing, many students are looking into the program for the first time.  In the process, they are finding out about the full range of benefits OneCard provides.”


With OneCard, students can ride public buses and light rail for free, use on-campus vending machines, make purchases at the College’s bookstore and dining halls as well as at off-campus merchants, pay tuition bills, access SLCC recreation facilities, etc.


Additionally, the 12 labs with Uniprint are much calmer and quieter than they were previously because “people are now printing what they have to print, not what they want to print.”  One of the labs is on the main floor of the library and has an open configuration, so the reduction in noise is very welcome.


Even though Uniprint was in place at SLCC for less than a month when the administrators were interviewed, they had already observed enough positive results to recommend it enthusiastically to other institutions.

“It’s beneficial to colleges because it cuts costs and beneficial to students because it encourages responsible printing. I’m seeing more possibilities in Uniprint than I ever thought there would be.”

The problem they were trying to solve: Free printing, more waste

Picture large trash barrels brimming with paper, overflowing discarded sheets littering the floor. That used to be the scene in the University of Cincinnati computer labs. “We were seeing huge amounts of wasted paper, with our computer lab assistants hauling away barrels of discarded printouts each day. The problem had grown steadily in recent years, due to the increase in online information,” explained their Technology Manager. Like many universities, the University of Cincinnati historically provided free printing for its 35,000 students, spending approximately $600,000 a year to allow them to generate as many documents as necessary to complete their coursework. Nearly 6.4 million sheets of paper churned through computer printers each year. Computer users clearly weren’t at all concerned about paper waste. So, they set out to find a way to reduce waste and its associated cost.



The Healthy Solution: Pharos Uniprint - "Think before you Print"

The University assembled  concerned administrators to discuss the rising cost of continued free printing. An informal survey of the University’s 17 colleges helped them to better understand campus-wide printer usage. They identified other universities that had installed printer management systems as a means of tracking and charging for student printing. His first step was to convene a campus-wide steering group of service providers to insure one solution across campus, as opposed to varied and different departmental solutions.


The University of Cincinnati already used the Blackboard Transaction System for its Bearcat online card program to process student payments on campus. They hoped to find a solution that would allow printing purchases to be added to the existing card. After discussions with several vendors, the committee moved ahead with a pilot test of Pharos Uniprint supplied by Blackboard, a Pharos reseller. They tested the solution on eight of the highest-use printers on campus. Positive feedback from the pilot test led the steering committee to recommend a campus-wide roll out.


Soon after the quarter began, rumors started swirling that the University was planning to charge students with high print costs beginning the following quarter. To address rising student concern over printing charges, the University developed a communications campaign to fully explain why it was implementing a printer management system and how exactly it would impact students.

“In just a few months, the change has been remarkable. We’ve seen a huge reduction in waste. With Uniprint, students only print what they really need, and they take whatever they print with them.”


One of the communication tools explained the new Uniprint solution and provided clear instructions on how the students would use it with their University ID card. In addition to explaining the logistics of the new system, the campaign made students aware of how much paper they wasted with the slogan, “Think before you print”. Conservation facts also helped to increase awareness and support for the University’s actions:

“2,831 trees are consumed by users of University of Cincinnati public printers in one year. 1,130 trees could be saved in one year, if users of University of Cincinnati public printers reduced their printing by 40 percent.”

The committee decided to roll the system out gradually. At the beginning of fall quarter, Uniprint was installed into several University computer labs, the public printers in Langsam Library, the Health Sciences Library, and at one location in University College. Students learned to use their Bearcat card to release print jobs to the printer. Although no fees were involved, this new step helped students adjust to a different routine.


With a goal of waste reduction and cost recovery, rather than revenue generation, the University installed Uniprint software on over 100 printers in the winter quarter, and announced a new charge of 7 cents per page effective February 1st of the next year. This fee covered the University’s paper, toner, and maintenance costs on the black and white printers, and was still 1 cent cheaper than a nearby Kinko’s.



The Results: Print volume drops nearly 72%

“In just a few months, the change has been remarkable,” says the University's Technology Manager.  “We’ve seen a huge reduction in waste. With Uniprint, students only print what they really need, and they take whatever they print with them.” The result is less waste, cleaner computer labs, smaller printing budgets, and satisfied students. The University uses Uniprint to automatically provide all students with 100 free prints each quarter.


Following the introduction of the Pharos Uniprint printer management system, paper volume declined 72% in just a few months. Based on results from the spring quarter, the University netted an estimated savings of more than $74,000 a year on paper and toner alone, effectively saving more than 2,000 trees in annual waste. Where students used to print more than 6 million sheets a year, that number dropped to under 2 million. Although impressive, Cincinnati’s story is typical of today’s technology-driven campuses.


The printer management system enabled student access to cost effective color printing on campus. Two color printers were installed on campus and set up with a cost of 50 cents per print. Because the cost of color printing is still so prohibitive, it would be tough for Cincinnati to offer it without the use of the Uniprint system to help recoup some of the expense.