When Tarsus Technologies decided that it required a managed print solution (MPS) that would enable management to obtain a clear overview of the costs and expenditure related to the company’s printing environment, it knew that expertise in this field was needed. For this reason, Tarsus turned to Printacom, an organisation that has established a solid presence in the print market over the past 19 years it has been in operation.
The Tarsus IT department had previously investigated several MPS solutions providers that might potentially have implemented such a solution for the group. However, it was only after undertaking a trial period with one solution that they realised just how effective MPS could be.
Suddenly, the IT department was able to provide clear reports to management on their printing costs. With a clearer understanding of the benefits, Tarsus turned to Printacom to undertake a site survey and propose a solution for the group.
Initial environment assessment
The initial challenge was created by the fact that Tarsus has a head office situated in Gauteng, along with branches extending across seven of the other eight provinces of South Africa. It also has an African footprint that includes Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia. With such a widespread corporate environment, it is easy to understand how inefficiencies could creep into the system and printing costs could spiral out of control.
Dewald van Rooyen, a Software Specialist at Printacom, was intimately involved with the project from the outset. He explains that Tarsus had a large number of desktop printers throughout its environment, where individual offices purchased their own consumables, as and when these were needed.
“Tarsus found that the expenditure was becoming unmanageable, and more than this, head office could not weigh the costs of printing output versus expenditure, nor could they see where their printing costs were being allocated to,” he says.
“Since there was no proper reporting system in place, it was nearly impossible to properly account for print jobs across the group. The realisation that the company could more effectively control their printing environment, better understand its printing costs and possibly reduce these expenses through the implementation of an MPS solution led directly to the implementation of this project.”
The PaperCut that doesn’t hurt
Van Rooyen indicates that several software products were considered and tested, with trial versions of some even installed at Tarsus. However, these all ultimately failed the testing and benchmarking or did not comply with the client’s requirements.
“The process of finding the right option took some time, but in the end we selected PaperCut MF as the best-fit MPS solution for Tarsus.”
“PaperCut is a well-known international MPS software provider that has nearly two decades of experience in this field. This organisation was chosen to provide the solution following lengthy and intense benchmarking procedures. PaperCut MF passed all the relevant tests.
Return on Investment
As part of the project, Tarsus opted to replace all its legacy printers across all branches with cost effective OKI single and multi-function printers (MFPs). These are all managed with PaperCut and the billing system tracks usage. An initial analysis of the environment has indicated a cost saving of almost 70% which will result in a ROI within 14 months. A significant saving by all accounts.
Discussing the benefits Tarsus has realised, CIO Naren Mewa suggests that PaperCut allows management to allocate printing to departments, cost centres and users with shared accounts. In addition, reports on usage can be obtained in a range of ways, including by user, department, device or even environmental impact.
“Most critically, PaperCut MF operates on any platform and any device. Therefore, whatever operating system and whatever makes of printer are operating across the Tarsus environment, the solution is able to work with all of these,” he says.
“One of the important benefits is the fact that the call centre is automatically alerted if a printer has a fault or is in error mode. Instead of having to log a call and possibly wait a day or two, most employees are not even aware there is a problem by the time support has arrived to initiate repairs.”
“In fact, users don’t even have to ask for consumables to be ordered when a toner is close to running out, as the MPS Solution has taken over all of this hassle and is interactively communicating with IT staff as well as users,” continues Mewa.
He explains that print policies have also been put in place; these determine which users have the authority to print documents in colour and which jobs are automatically released as double-sided prints, as a way of reducing carbon footprint.
“The results have been phenomenal, with the new MPS solution reducing the number of printer and print incidents being logged with the IT department. Real-time monitoring and activity reports on all printer devices and user interactions have reduced wastage, while the solution also offers valuable visibility, enabling management to understand everything from user activity to the environmental impact. Crucially, the cost of consumables has reduced drastically.”
Most notably Tarsus has moved from buying consumables to a pay-per-use model.
In the end, he adds, MPS is about improving efficiencies and reducing costs, rather than scaring users away from printing documents, simply because they are now being monitored.
Van Rooyen highlights some additional enhancements that have taken the MPS solution to the next level, pointing to the ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Secure Print’ functionality that is built into the solution.
“Follow Me allows end users to walk to any enabled device in the building and use their PIN code or access card to release their prints. This has led to a huge increase in efficiencies while also reducing costs, since users now think twice before they print, as they are aware that these print jobs are monitored in a secure environment.”
Of course, he adds, the biggest enhancement is the simple fact that driving cost savings and keeping IT and stationery budgets at a reasonable level helps contribute to the company’s overarching vision.
“After all, when you don’t have to be concerned about printing and its attendant worries – like which printer is working and whether you will have to wait in a queue for your documents – you inevitably have more time to spend focusing on your core business.”
Van Rooyen concludes: “The cost and efficiency benefits of this solution go far beyond a simple matter of paper and toner. Our carbon footprint has been considerably reduced, security around critical documents has been improved and our people waste significantly less time waiting for printers and supplies, positively impacting on overall productivity. This new solution has revolutionised the way work gets done at Tarsus and will not only make our current office operate more effectively, but has also positioned us to build a better tomorrow for our business as well.”
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