Saving Money & Energy With Managed Print Services

Setting up a managed print services (MPS) contract turned into a smart move for Cleveland State University, The contract saved $685,000 in the first year of a 10-year agreement and reduced its kilowatt expenditure by more than 50 percent.

In addition, by handing over the management of malfunctioning printers, replacement of ink cartridges and oversight of the printer help desk to Xerox, the school’s IT department was freed to focus more time on priority projects.

“[Xerox] maintains everything but the paper now,” says Jack Boyle, III, senior fellow, Levin College of Urban Affairs with the university. “That’s the only thing we have to manage.”

The school switched to a MPS contract came after the state of Ohio required its universities to decrease energy expenditures by 20 percent. Cleveland State University put out a request for proposals, and one of the energy-efficiency bids it received included the MPS agreement provided through Xerox. That bid guaranteed $500,000 in print savings within the first year, putting the actual estimate for savings at $525,000. Those savings came in well over the mark at $685,000, Boyle reports.

Before entering the agreement, Xerox did an in-depth assessment of the university’s needs. It demonstrated how switching to fewer printers could save money, and showed that the school’s many one-function desktop printers could be replaced with multi-function units that could print, scan, copy and fax.

“This enabled everybody to be able to do virtually anything from their desk,” Boyle says.

The vendor also provided a price-per-page for black-and-white and color printing that was substantially lower than the school’s current rates. After implementing the contract, the university was able to decrease the number of printing devices from approximately 2,500 to 350 units, while giving most faculty and employees access to at least one multi-function  device on their floor—if not in their suite.

“Printers were always a problem child,” Boyle recalls. “IT was spending a lot of time on things like paper jams and handling nitty-gritty details.”

A variety of printing devices are now in use at the university. Some offices–including the President’s Office (which creates a lot of PowerPoint presentations), Vice President’s Office and Office of the University Architect—have color printers. Printing jobs are set to default to two-sided, black-and-white printing, but a color job can simply be sent to the nearest color printer.

“Everybody has the functionality to be able to get color,” Boyle says.

A networked system also creates improved printing efficiency. Previously, when a printer malfunctioned, faculty members could not do anything until IT came to the rescue. Now, they can just route their job to a nearby printer, and Xerox—not the university’s IT team—comes in to fix the broken printer.

“The networking is really one of the keys to making this work,” Boyle says.

Some faculty members initially expressed concerns about printing out some documents, such as exams, at a printer that was farther away. This issue was resolved a secure print option that allows the print job to be sent to the printer, but only produced when a faculty member enters a personal code to initiate the print job.

Now two-and-a-half years into the agreement, the university has added more printers to deal with expansion and new construction at the school. It also has made changes in other areas based on printer usage.

“One of the things we kept track of early on was usage patterns,” Boyle says. “There were a lot of departments that said they needed two printers. We looked at the usage patterns over the first year and made changes when we found that one of the printers was not being used—or was seldom being used.”

Of the initial energy efficiency contract presented to the school, the MPS was a small component, accounting for $500,000 (10 percent) of the estimated $5 million in savings. With the implementation of the MPS contract, the university’s energy usage dropped from 425,000 to 200,000 kilowatts per hour, and also brought in the substantial cost savings.