Challenges

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) is a tripartite European Union Agency, whose role is to provide social and work related policy research and information. Eurofound was established in 1975 to contribute to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe. It is headquartered in Dublin, but has a small satellite office in Brussels.

Eurofound was typical of many organisations that have a basic office print function comprising a number of desktop devices sitting on desks and shared between one or two people. At Eurofound, however, the situation was coming to a head because maintenance was costing more time and money, while the quality and efficiency of the print service was decreasing.

The organisation had around 75 desktop printers. But the equipment was getting old and needed constant repair and upkeep. Eurofound even had some devices that were up to 12 years old. As well as trying to keep old and outdated devices running, managing consumables, such as toner, was a problem.

The mix of printers meant several different toner types had to be kept in stock. Some devices had too much toner while others ran out. Toner alone was costing Eurofound up to €15,000 a year. Without better control, time and print resources were being wasted. The organisation wanted to provide staff with a modern, more up-to-date print service.

As an EU-funded organisation, Eurofound has to go through a strict selection and public tender process open to all EU member states. Digicom – a Ricoh business partner in Ireland – was one of several organisations that bid for the contract. Digicom put forward a solution based on Ricoh digital print technology and was awarded the contract. The assessment was based on factors such as quality and functionality of equipment, quality of service and value for money.

Digicom Solution

Eurofound has deployed a Digicom and Ricoh Managed Print Service (MPS) comprising new Ricoh Multifunction Products (MFPs), PaperCut management software and Digicom services. The MPS involves replacing 75 existing desktop printers with just 12 office-based mono and colour Ricoh MFPs, two larger production print Ricoh MFPs and one Ricoh MFP in the Brussels office. This reduces Eurofound’s print fleet by more than 80 percent. To avoid sudden change, existing equipment is being phased out over time so that desktops are only removed when they become obsolete. Eurofound sent regular emails to staff about project status, then followed up with group training sessions so staff were guided through the features and benefits of the new print service.

The MPS provides staff with Follow Me printing. Entry passes have been adapted to include individual print codes so staff can send documents to any printer across the organisation, then print by swiping the card.

As well as deploying the complete MPS solution, Digicom also provides on-going support which includes phone and on-site maintenance and supply of consumables. Ricoh’s Smart Metering software enables Eurofound and Digicom to remotely manage the entire fleet of devices to spot potential problems and determine when toner is needed.

Benefits

The Digicom and Ricoh MPS has reduced the cost of print at Eurofound and helped to make the service more efficient, productive and easy to use.

Linda Byrne, ICT Assistant and Technical Support at Eurofound, says, “The print solution from Digicom and Ricoh is very important for Eurofound for a number of reasons, but especially because of availability and reliability. It is much better and more efficient for staff and it’s much easier to manage. Constant calls about problems have almost disappeared and the service is now available instantly whenever and wherever people need it.”

Taking into account the 80 percent device reduction, more efficient print operations, a huge cut in support time and more efficient consumable management, Eurofound estimates that the Digicom and Ricoh MPS is saving around 30 percent of previous print costs.

Better quality equipment and an integrated, managed operation has improved print services for users. Features such as Follow Me print improve efficiency and security, but also help to reduce waste because they cut out unwanted or mistake printing. Scanning on every Ricoh MFP – instead of a few scattered scanning devices – has increased document scanning and reduced the amount of paper and printing staff need. Eurofound has cut the number of printed pages by 100,000, an annual reduction of around 10 percent.

Eurofound produces a lot of reports, which often comprise 50 pages and are needed by up to 200 people at a meeting. Eurofound used to outsource printing these, but because of the quality, speed and efficiency of the Ricoh MFPs, they are now done in house, which helps to reduce costs further.

Staff productivity has also increased, because of more reliable technology and fewer faults and hold ups to work. Fast, high-quality equipment and printing help staff produce the documents and reports they need quickly.

Follow Me print also enables greater mobility and flexible working. Staff often travel to Brussels to discuss and report on specific projects to the EU. Now, instead of having to carry bundles of paper, staff can print to the Brussels office and pick up their documents when they arrive.

One significant challenge for Eurofound was managing the change from traditional ways of printing to a more centralised and controlled managed service. But because of the service from Digicom and the quality and efficiency of the Ricoh technology, Eurofound encountered very few problems. Byrne says, “Transition was so much easier than we had imagined. Before the new print service, the initial response from staff was they were going to hate it. Now they love it. In fact, we’ve had several emails from staff about how good the MPS is, which is unusual because you often don’t hear anything until something goes wrong.”

The MPS also improves management. Byrne says, “A lot less of my time is spent with my hands in a printer and trying to keep track of toners. It used to be the case that on the morning of an important meeting someone would call up because the printer had run out of ink which caused all kinds of problems. But the smooth running of the whole system is fantastic and now there are very few problems. The timesaving element is a huge benefit to us.”

Digicom worked with Eurofound to locate the Ricoh MFPs ergonomically using an audit of how and where staff used print resources. This continues with Digicom and Eurofound reviewing print use and moving devices where there is over or under use, to improve efficiency.

Solutions/Products

  • Ricoh Multifunction Products
  • Ricoh Smart Metering
  • PaperCut management software
  • Digicom support services