Network Printing: Managing Costs

How can we better serve our students? Regardless of factors including size, program offerings, location, and student mission, when it comes down to it, we all share this as a common goal.

At the University of Rochester, changing and improving the processes in technology is one way we are accomplishing this. By closely observing the work practices of our students and listening to their concerns, along with the help from the Information Technology Services of River Campus, we have not only identified new opportunities to put better technology processes in place, but also save money.

It was evident that the printing process in the University of Rochester’s main library, accessible to all 4,440 students, needed to be changed. Mountainous paper piles on the printers, long queues, and long lines to use the equipment were among student and staff headaches. Frequent intervention from library staff was often needed to keep up with tasks such as loading paper and changing toner—taking their assistance away from the students.

In addition to the student inconvenience, we began to realize how costly this was. Approximately $20,000 a month was spent just on paper, equipment maintenance, replacement purchases, toner, and supplies. At that time, our students had unlimited access to printers. This generated excessive waste and in many cases, students didn’t realize how many documents they were printing at one time. We estimated more than 400,000 pages were printed monthly and almost a third of these documents leaving the library printers were either discarded immediately in an overflowing recycling bin or not even retrieved.

Networked System Brings
Efficiency to Library Printing

The chaotic nature of our library printing processes needed to be improved. We tapped the business consultants from Xerox Global Services to work directly with us to analyze the problem and they created a solution to improve the overall library print service.

After assessing student habits in the library environment, Xerox Global Services implemented a networked technology system called Student Access Management. Student Access Management is a combination of services and software called Uniprint from Xerox’s business partner, Pharos Systems. The system enables our students to print to any location in the library via an ID card system. Students instruct computers to print and then the computers indicate where the documents can be retrieved.

The university places a designated sum of money on the ID card each semester and charges are automatically deducted when students exceed this balance. As a result, the students are now more conscious of what they print—waste has been significantly reduced, and the system finances itself. Additionally, Xerox offers technical support to monitor and ensure the library equipment is operating smoothly.

A Satisfied Student Community
The voice of each student is considered when making any new IT decisions at the University of Rochester. After listening to their concerns associated with long lines at the printers and inconveniences with previous processes, we were able to offer an alternative. The Student Access Management solution has reduced waste, lowered cost, and now provides an easier and faster method for printing student documents. With Student Access Management, librarians at the University of Rochester can focus on their must crucial role—helping to educate and promote a positive learning environment.

About the Author

Ron Dow (rdow@library.rochester.edu) is dean of libraries at the University of Rochester.

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