Even in a digital world, paper still plays a pivotal role, so a stable printing infrastructure remains a critical business requirement for most enterprises. When printing, copying and scanning operations aren’t reliable and efficient, productivity can suffer, costs can climb and security can be compromised. That’s where managed print services come in.
Geotechmin, one of the leading business groups in Bulgaria, signed on with a managed print services vendor about six years ago. A construction and mining enterprise that owns 26 companies, Geotechmin has 36 locations across Bulgaria, with about 230 multifunction devices and dedicated printers. Virtually all are networked, except for a few in mountainous regions that lack good communications.
The company had problems with its managed print services solution from the outset. Implementation dragged on for six months before a stable platform was established, and local support was sorely lacking. “The vendor had no staff in the area, so it relied on third-party partners to provide service,” says Svetoslav Marinov, CIO for Geotechmin.
That resulted in delayed response and frequent downtime of printing devices, especially in more remote areas. The lack of local service also hindered deployment of new print hardware, because the software installation procedure couldn’t be facilitated remotely, requiring a technician on site. The software was more problematic than the hardware. “I had to draw on skills I had developed as a software developer to keep the system running,” Marinov recalls.
After three years with the vendor, Geotechmin decided to make a change. Its internal IT department, ITR Services, considered a number of alternatives, including Y Soft, which works with channel partners to deliver and deploy print management and document capture solutions. In this case, Konica Minolta Bulgaria was the partner. Interviews and visits with other clients convinced management that the system would be a good fit. The package Geotechmin chose includes YSoft SafeQ on nearly 200 print devices along with the required support infrastructure of servers, LDAP protocols and databases.
Installation kicked off in late summer 2014 and was completely finished within a month and a half. The relationship has been very satisfying.
“We have had no downtime for the past few years,” Marinov reports. “There were a few issues along the way, but nothing serious. Konica Minolta is our first level of support, and it has 30 or 40 technicians in Bulgaria who have expertise with SafeQ. They’ve solved almost all our problems; only one or two problems have gone up the line to Y Soft.”
Stepped-Up Security and Cost Reductions
Reliability isn’t the only benefit. Security has improved as well. “Documents aren’t printed until users scan their badge at the machine, so they are right there to pick up a job,” he explains. “Documents aren’t laying around for anyone to see. That’s important, especially with HR documents, which often list salaries and other personal data.”
Geotechmin has also seen a reduction in copy volume and costs. “Previously, we were producing about 500,000 copies a month,” Marinov recalls. “We determined that much of that was personal. Another 10 percent consisted of printouts people never picked up or that were reprinted because the first copy was misplaced after sitting at the machine for a long time. Now, if a user doesn’t pick up a job within 2 hours, it is deleted from the system. We have reduced volume to about 350,000 copies a month.”
In addition, there is less need for departmental printers. “Before, everybody wanted their own printers, but there is no need for that anymore,” the CIO remarks. “There is an advantage to a centralized approach, since bigger machines offer better quality and higher speed than small personal printers, as well as lower per-copy costs. We have reduced our per-copy costs more than 50 percent.”
SafeQ’s reporting capabilities are very helpful, he adds. Costs are allocated by project and department, and a breakdown of output indicates the amount of scanning, color copying and other types of work, as well as the time of day and other details. “We can remotely control when machines are in sleep mode to restrict access outside of working hours,” Marinov notes. The detailed information also helps in scheduling preventive maintenance.
Another plus: the ability to use OCR to scan documents into searchable PDFs, which has resulted in time and cost savings. SafeQ has also helped the company fulfill internal security protocols in several ways. Using an external script, and via YSoft SafeQ, ITR Services was able to implement workflows for putting users under quarantine for a designated period and added watermarks to scanned documents.
Marinov says Geotechmin’s partnership with Y Soft and Konica Minolta Bulgaria has given his company what it needed: a stable printing infrastructure that provides secure printing, ease of deployment and maintenance, transparent reporting and system reliability.
Photo courtesy of Geotechmin.