South & City College
“Our productivity has improved no end, we now offer a 24-hour turnaround time, but in addition we can also run jobs immediately, as the Pro C900s has a pause function which allows us to stop work in progress, run a new job and then restart from where we left off.”
South & City College
- Managed print - print consulting strategy
South & City College Birmingham is a vocational college that offers students part time, full time and Apprenticeship courses from level 1 to higher education in a range of subjects, to approximately 13,000 students and have 10 campuses across Birmingham.
South & City College, Birmingham has been a customer of Ricoh Prestige Partner, Complete Imaging (part of Capita plc), for seven years. At the same time as a campus-wide print and copier fleet upgrade programme, managed by Complete Imaging, the college put an additional contract out to tender for the supply of a high-end production printer for its central reprographics department.
“We wanted to encourage staff and students to make more use of the in-house print resource; to reduce the volume of jobs, particularly in colour, that were outsourced to external providers; and to extend our services portfolio by utilising new technology which could cope with a wider range of media weight and size. Cost was key, as was quality of output and functionality.”
Complete Imaging recommended the Ricoh Pro C900 digital colour press and invited the college’s print room staff to try it out at Ricoh’s Feltham-based customer showroom. The team put it through its paces, running a number of typical college jobs but they also tested how it worked with various types of paper quality, types, weight and size.
“We had a very tight set of criteria - quality of output, the ability to print up to SRA3 on different paper weights and stock, and cost effectiveness were high on our agenda. But when we saw the Pro C900 we were bowled over - by its speed. It just churned the prints out at 90 pages a minute, but what really stood out was the fact it did not slow down. The Pro C900 continued to run at full rated speed, even when printing in duplex and on heavier paper weights - up to 300gsm, and for us that was a real USP.”
The college’s existing printer was a 56 ppm A3 device and so the team were restricted in what they could actually produce in-house; hence large print runs, posters and other marketing collateral were outsourced at a substantial cost. In order to make the business case for investing in the Pro C900 a stronger one, the team outlined a proposal to the college’s marketing department whereby they would produce all corporate marketing materials professionally - for less. A subsequent visit to the Ricoh showroom was arranged so the marketing team could see first hand how efficient the Pro C900 was, and compare it to other devices they were also considering. This second visit, where once again the speed of operation impressed the team, coupled with the fact that that the cost per copy was significantly lower than they were currently paying; convinced everyone that the Pro C900 was the device of choice. “We were charging out colour prints at 20 pence per A4 copy, with the Pro C900 we could recharge staff and pupils a cost per page that represented an almost 75 per cent saving and still maintain a healthy profit margin. We were really confident we would see a fast ROI and when we factored in the additional productivity and time savings, the decision to invest was an easy one.”
The team actively promoted this new resource across all four of the college’s sites and with word quickly spreading that the cost of colour was marginally more than black and white, the print room were faced with a massive increase in requests for colour, as opposed to mono print jobs. “We sent one of the team on a graphic design course and expanded our offering - to include design as well as print. We’re really embracing all of the functionality on the Pro C900 and using a much wider range of media, producing really professional pieces, in much less time.”
Ease of use has been a major benefit - all of the Pro C900’s functions are accessible via a colour touch screen. With a vastly improved print speed and higher volume capacity, combined with less printer downtime, the print room’s workload has increased, so much so, that they have had to recruit an extra member of staff. Yet they are much more time efficient, which has enabled them to take in additional work from external sources, further improving profitability. The Pro C900s has demonstrated its worth in terms of reliability, productivity and cost efficiency.
The objective to place a greater proportion of colour work in-house has been met and the case for investment in a production device has been proven. “Our productivity has improved no end, we now offer a 24- hour turnaround time, but in addition we can also run jobs immediately, as the Pro C900s has a pause function which allows us to stop work in progress, run a new job and then restart from where we left off.” The team are considering expanding the operation further with the addition of a second system.
Just three months after installing a Ricoh Pro C900 in its print room, South & City College Birmingham has realised a return on investment. Ricoh’s flagship digital colour press handled 500,000 prints during the first three months - four times the college’s previous monthly output. The new system has enabled the print room to vastly improve job turnaround times, recharge colour copies around 75 percent cheaper than before, and mprove its profitability by providing services on a commercial basis to local businesses.
The service provided to South & City College was Managed print services.