Delivering critical support services for 700,000 citizens, Leeds City Council is the second largest Metropolitan authority in Britain. And it wants to be seen as the best – both for the quality of services it provides, and the way that they’re delivered. In an era of austerity and cuts to public sector spending, it’s a challenging goal.
As well as wanting to improve productivity while cutting printing costs and waste, the Council also needed to address changes in how people access public services. As Helena Phillips, Chief Officer of Shared Services, explains: “More and more communication is taking place on digital channels, so the challenge we are faced with is to evolve the services we offer within shrinking budgets.”
"The priority for us was to implement a smart print solution that would save the Council money and give us all back our time."
When it came to identifying areas of inefficiency, the Council’s print service was an obvious candidate. Printing represents a core IT-function for its 12,500 employees, but its fleet of networked and stand-alone devices was difficult to manage and maintain. Managed Print Services Manager Kirsty McCarthy recalls that, “My team were spending their days dealing with errors and trying to minimise disruption. The priority for us was to implement a smart solution that would save the Council money and give us all back our time.”
The Canon solution
Working closely with the Council, Canon developed an organisation-wide printing solution, branded PrintSmart. This consisted of 850 advanced mono and colour Multi-functional devices (MFDs) and an integrated Fax server-solution under a single management system.
"Canon instantly assumed the role of a strategic partner rather than a supplier."
To help the Council introduce PrintSmart within only six months, Canon introduced online and video tuition, as well as a training programme to create ‘super users’ who could show Council colleagues how to use the improved system. For Service & Infrastructure Manager Andrew Byrom, “Canon assumed the role of a strategic partner rather than a supplier. Team members were completely dedicated and went above and beyond every day – especially during the challenging transition phase. The technology was so good and easy to use, people just embraced it.”
PrintSmart made an instant financial impact – saving the Council approximately 30% of the value of the previous contract in the very first year, and more than £400k to date. By replacing the printer fleet with fewer, more cost-effective MFDs, the number of print devices was rationalised by 39% - leading to a 25% reduction in print volume in the first year alone. The environmental savings were similarly impressive. With an estimated 1,007,318 greenhouse gases (kg) and 18,139 trees saved in the first 12 months, Leeds is well on its way to becoming a lower carbon city.
"The improvement has been dramatic. Small changes like the visibility of print queues and individual PIN access make sure that documents don’t get lost and save you time."
There has also been a huge increase in productivity – as Jo Miklo, Head of Business Administration, explains: “The improvement has been dramatic. Small changes like the visibility of print queues and individual PIN access make sure that documents don’t get lost and save you time when retrieving them. The easy data scanning capabilities also allow us to respond more quickly to citizens’ requests.” Downtime has been virtually eliminated and, for Andrew Byrom, the clearest sign of success is that he hasn’t received any complaints in months.
There have also been major improvements in data security. The advanced fax solution, for example, used for exchanging information between hospitals and schools, guarantees that sensitive information is handled securely. New measures like individual PIN access and the automatic deletion of print jobs after 24 hours have also led to significant improvements in this area.
A digital council
With Canon’s help, Andrew Byrom aims to reduce the council’s print volume by a further five percent every year. By using the system’s granular data reports, his team will target departments where they are seeing expensive printing behaviour, and teach staff how to reduce printing. The goal is to ensure that the new print infrastructure generates long-term return on investment, so that the Council can target other areas for improvement and savings.
"By rethinking the way that we work, Canon has helped us to better serve the citizens of Leeds."
The success of PrintSmart at the Council has been recognised internally as an exemplar of how major corporate projects should be implemented. For Helena Phillips, “PrintSmart has taken the pain out of printing and turned it into an essential tool for working in the digital age. By rethinking the way that we work, Canon has helped us to better serve the citizens of Leeds.”