ICS Education Pack reduces cost, improves productivity - New package revolutionises schools' network photocopying and printing.
A NEW PHOTOCOPYING/PRINTING SOLUTION for schools which improves staff productivity, increases teachers' teaching time and reduces school copying and printing costs by up to 90% sounds impressive. It gets even better if you add the ability to completely control copying and printing costs.
Mill Park School is among an increasing number of schools which have so far installed the hardware/software package called ICS Education Package.
The system derives its cost savings from redirecting large volumes of printing away from individual laser printers at some 10 pence a copy to a Konica Minolta Di3510 or a Colour Bizhub C450, at around one pence per copy. This means that a school which was able to redirect 10,000 original prints per month for instance would make an immediate monthly saving of nearly £1,000.
ICS Education Pack makes its productivity gains in part by allowing a smoothing out of the peak traffic demands on school copiers enabling teachers to download and collect their printing at off peak hours without waiting in queues each day. Mill Park School has both a junior and senior campus and has installed the system at both campuses. The school operates two Konica Minolta Di5510 machines in the junior school one Di2510 and two Konica Minolta Di470 on the senior campus.
"So far the package has done everything expected of it, replacing a very complex system with one that's a breeze to operate, and it's providing complete and accurate control over our copy/print management," says Sharon Parkinson.
A number of teachers have expressed interest in becoming linked to the network and our IT department is now setting up the drivers to allow them to do this. "Teachers currently do all their original printing on individual lasers and then output their copying on the Konica Minolta machines. It's our aim to have the teachers prepare their drafts on their PCs and then send them directly to the Konica Minolta machines.
Sharon says that preparing monthly photocopying and printing accounts has become far quicker and much simpler with ICS Education Pack.
"This month I did our photocopying and printing calculations for the first time using ICS Education Pack. Even considering I was unused to the system it took less than an hour to calculate results for four machines," she says. Using our previous system it would have taken many hours
What is ICS Education Pack?
ICS Education Pack is a combination of hardware and software based around the company's Di3510 and Bizhub C450 Series of digital copier-printers, a well established machine in many schools. Schools which already have the copier-printer can simply upgrade to ICS Education Pack by adding some hardware and software items, enabling users to phase in the implementation of the solution it offers.
How does ICS Education Pack help schools?
ICS Education Pack offers advantages in two areas: it increases productivity of teachers, reduces copying-printing bills.
How does it aid productivity?
The Bizhub C450, incorporating ICS Education Pack, alters the work pattern of the general access copiers, so as to smooth out much of the usage across the entire day, instead of being concentrated during busy peak periods. Where generally all teachers queue up to copy class sets at lunch and between classes, ICS Education Pack allows them to download class notes and other documents at their convenience from their computer to the Konica Minolta copier-printer.
They can even search on their PCs for the least congested copier-printer on which to print. If just 10% of staff utilise the system and improve their own efficiency, productivity for all those in the traditional copy queue improves in turn because the queues are now shorter.
But wouldn't this mean teachers would leave their print-outs on the machine for hours, causing printed copies to back up, spill out onto the floor and add further congestion?
No, because each teacher is assigned their own digital mailbox on the Konica Minolta copier-printer.
Teachers print to the mailbox which allows the machine to hold the print job in memory until the teacher is ready to collect it at the time of his or her choosing.
They collect their printing by walking up to the machine and authorising the printing from their mailbox while they wait. Alternatively through the mailbox window on their PC, teachers can release a job from one class and pick it up completed on the way to their next class.
Jobs may then be spread out over the day significantly reducing peak hour congestion and vastly improving teacher productivity.
How does it reduce costs?
Teachers can print an original for the copier, or to avoid copier congestion, many teachers at times simply print out the copies they require on individual laser printers. Schools which are able to direct the bulk of their print volume away from individual laser printers directly to the Konica Minolta copier via the network can slash copying and printing costs from approximately 10 pence per impression to around one. For schools of some 1,000 students, redirecting around 20% to 25% of the monthly laser volume - about 10,000 copies - to a Konica Minolta copier-printer will equate to monthly savings of nearly £1,000.
Can it track usage of printing and copying?
When converting to a digitally networked system, most schools reduce their copying bills (accountable by teacher and subject) but increase their printing volume (accountable by user only). This is because teachers can now digitally send the original to the machine and print a number of original sets, rather than printing the original and photocopying additional sets.
This makes it imperative that the machine is able to track both printing and copying by user and subject and one of the strengths of ICS Education Pack is that it can do this.
When producing photocopies users enter a pin code assigned to the teacher for each subject. When sending electronic originals (prints) to the copier-printer, work can be segmented by subject or teacher, or both. While the copying aspect of this process is not unusual, allocation of subjects to prints and the method of monthly reconciliation of combined copying and printing is unique. The system also allows for ongoing editing of new accounts throughout each term for new teacher entries, teachers who receive new subjects or change subjects and temporary teachers. All changes can be made from an administrators PC and uploaded onto all copier-printers at the same time.
Is it difficult to convince teachers to use the system?
Breaking the habits of a career is not easy and the savings will not come if the teachers are unwilling to adapt to the new way of doing things. Those teachers more inclined to accept such IT changes will readily adapt to these new methods of copier-printer usage. Others will follow at their own pace, ensuring that any transition in workflow is done at a rate comfortable for all parties. Whatever the method, the benefits of switching to ICS Education Pack far outweigh any problems that might arise from temporary reluctance to change.