Problem: Teachers at Lincoln Public Schools in Nebraska were spending valuable time copying, printing and processing documents, and waiting to use machines located in the schools. Budgeted replacement costs would only cover one or two machines at each school, which was far below demand. Ongoing maintenance and consumable supplies costs were also a concern.
Solution: The district created a centralized print center using Xerox multifunction machines and Xerox Office Services to manage, maintain and support the system. Director of Technology Kirk Langer wanted to create a document management strategy for the district. He explains that many teachers created hard copies of documents because they felt it was the only way to share the information. Under the new system they will be able to create, store and share documents digitally. Existing hard copies can also be converted to digital versions. The print center will also be able to capture faxes digitally, so printing is an option instead of a forgone conclusion.
The school is leasing 250 networked Xerox WorkCentre Pro advanced MFPs, which print, copy, fax and scan, to be placed in schools. The centralized print center will receive a digital printer-copier; two machines that print 115 pages per minute; one machine that prints 180 ppm; and a digital copier/printer, which copies, prints and scans up to 120 ppm.
If a teacher has an electronic copy of the document to be reproduced, he or she will use a Web interface provided by Rochester Software Associates to submit the document and select finishing options. For a hard copy, the teacher would go to one of the multifunction units on site where they will be able to scan the document and submit it directly to the print center. Documents submitted by 3:45 p.m. will be returned to the teacher by 7:30 a.m. Teachers still have access to units in house for jobs that need faster turnaround or extra special finishing. "We want to take teachers out of the business of producing documents and back to creating them," Langer explains.
The district performed a six-week pilot at two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. Langer says they learned which aspects of training to focus on and other changes to make to the system. Teachers had access to a Web-based survey to provide feedback and comments. "In large measure, teachers feel confident about submitting jobs," he says.
"It represents a cultural change," Langer admits about the new system. A lot of change was also required in the print center, which went from handling requests from district administrators, to handling requests from the entire district.
Under the contract the district will pay a per-copy fee, but Langer says they now have sustainable technology in the sense that they don't own the machines or have to pay for upkeep. Under the previous system the district averaged 91 million clicks per year; under the new contract they are obligated to 76 million clicks. The entire solution (equipment, people, services) will support the LPS district's current print volume at an expected 10 percent savings in direct costs annually, and give back significant amounts of time to teachers and staff to refocus on education. In mid-March, Langer estimates the district was halfway through implementing the new process district-wide. For the future of the project, Langer predicts greater attention to detail on the part of people requesting copy jobs because of the increased tracking and accountability the new system will offer. He also expects an eventual reduction in printing and copying because of the electronic storage aspect of the new system. "We're not unique," Langer says, "people are spending a lot of money on printing."
Ann McClure is associate editor.