City of Minneapolis Optimizes Printing Fleet and Saves 40-73% in Each Department
We are creatures of habit. When asked to alter our routine, we likely become uncomfortable. But often, change is for the better, as in the case of the City of Minneapolis, where taking a hard look at systems and trying something new has proven to save significant amounts of money, be kinder to the environment, and streamline general business processes.
In 2007, Jay Junker, then IT Operations Manager for a major window manufacturer, worked with Jay Rodger, national accounts manager for Toshiba Business Solutions in Minnesota, to optimize the company’s imaging fleet. The Toshiba Encompass Analysis and resulting implementation reduced the company’s annual operational costs by more than $900,000.
Later that year, Lynn Willenbring, CIO for the City of Minneapolis, convinced Junker to join their team as the Director of Enterprise Infrastructure and Managed Services with the City. Junker leveraged his knowledge of the Encompass Analysis process to identify similar opportunities for savings at the City. The city had a total of 1,023 printers and 193 copiers or multi-function products (MFPs) in 16 departments, servicing 2,518 computers.
Departments retained devices for five to seven years in an attempt to be cost effective. Said Junker, “Although a great idea, the older equipment required more frequent service as it exceeded their lifecycle.”Additionally, the devices came from multiple vendors and the city found that they never knew exactly who to call for service. With each department working independently and free to purchase their own machines at will, the cycle began repeating itself. Willenbring encouraged Junker to pursue the analysis for potential savings with the City’s fleet. In April of 2008, Junker made a proposal to city department heads. He built a business case for optimizing the city’s fleet of printers and MFPs while simultaneously saving money in the process.In October 2008, city leaders agreed with Junker and decided to move forward. “We started out with a pilot project in Human Resources,” said Junker. “That’s how we showed the City of Minneapolis how the Toshiba Encompass Analysis and Managed Print Services program would work.”Jay Rodger personally came in and conducted the Toshiba Encompass analysis. “Human Resources had approximately 40 employees, and it turned out that they had 32 devices – almost one for each staff member,” Rodger said. “To make the department more efficient, we removed every single device and replaced them with three Toshiba MFPs: two monochrome e-STUDIO™353s and one color system, the e-STUDIO™3530c.”The resulting operational cost savings came in at an astounding 73 percent – lowering their annual costs by more than $49,000. The department eliminated a monthly service fee that covered several aging printers, and lowered cost-per-page by setting print default at black-and-white. Finally, the new MFPs helped the department comply with the city’s Green initiative: multi-page documents could now be printed double-sided to reduce paper use. Willenbring, whose passion for business includes processes that are environmentally friendly, commented: “When you can lower your cost while continuing to serve your internal customers AND add positively to the Green Initiative, it’s the right business decision.”It all made a strong case for a proposal to the city council. Said Junker: “When they saw what the opportunity was, they gave ‘staff direction,’ which means that it was mandated for every department. That’s how impressed they were.Many departments were immediately on board and recognized what a great opportunity this was. As I explained the principles of right-sizing, you could see that they really got it; they were enthusiastic and couldn’t wait to begin,” continued Junker.Because of the scale and complexity of the project, Junker and Rodger decided upon a stepped approach to implementation. Rodger conducted the Encompass analysis one department at a time, and created and presented a proposal for optimized Managed Print Services for each. Then as implementation began, they turned to the next department to start the process all over again. In this way, they addressed each department’s individual needs and concerns directly and trained staff to use the new devices to their full potential for improved productivity and efficiency.
Each department was unique. Whereas Human Resources could do away with all 32 of their small print devices, some remote teams retained their printers because they didn’t have the print and copy volumes to justify a larger multifunction device. In ther cases, small printers still in good condition were allotted to employees with physical disabilities who might have difficulty walking to a shared printer.
The City of Minneapolis then sold the excess used units “as is/where is” using a “sealed bid” process to the general public. Devices that were truly at the end of their lifecycle were recycled as part of the city’s Green initiative.
While the cost savings demonstrated in the pilot project offered reason enough for moving forward, the project was not without roadblocks. “Understandably, many employees felt that they needed their own desktop device due to the sensitive and confidential information they were working with,” said Junker. “To address security issues, employees were trained on the MFP security features and every machine was installed with a scrambler board.”
Change often can be uncomfortable and implementation was not without staff concerns over office productivity; however, Junker notes that shortly after fleets were optimized staff quickly realized that productivity was improved as a result of the technology upgrade as well as changing some of their personal work habits.
To help manage the change, Rodger also performed pre-training with Toshiba’s virtual training tools, and then held on-site training once the equipment was delivered. Post-training question-and-answer sessions ensured that employees had the tools to take full advantage of all the new options at their disposal. In the end, each department realized a savings of more than 40 percent. The project has an aggressive target for completion in the fourth quarter of 2009.