Educating the Educators

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt may be advocating a “’paperlight’ (or even paperless)” NHS for 2018, but for the education sector paper remains an important part of day-to-day life – whether we like it or not. Despite technology’s rampant advances many schools still communicate with parents via printed letters and students often work from test papers, worksheets and revision booklets, all of which are printed.

Although the price of print hardware has fallen significantly over recent years the cost of running them hasn’t really shifted; paper, ink and toner costs have risen to a point where the cost per page is now noticeably higher than it was five years ago. What’s more, all too many schools are failing to keep tabs on their print costs. KYOCERA’s own research revealed that more than a third (35%) of schools surveyed were unaware whether the cost of printing is accurately allocated in their schools, which speaks volumes of the potential for cost cutting – and the need to educate the educators about the significant savings that can be made.

At a time when all juice has been squeezed out of school budgets, saving money on print costs can be a real fillip. A smallish primary school with 600 pupils and 90 staff that I spoke to recently told me that they saved nearly £600 every month by simply looking at ways to control printing and reduce wastage – over 2,000 fewer pages were printed each week following the overhaul.

Joined-up thinking

The key for the school I spoke to was investing in a joined-up, efficient print solution. The contract combined the supply of hardware, service and consumables and started routing print jobs to the most suitable printers for the job, instantly cutting costs. Print management software was also exploited to provide a detailed picture of who’s printing what to which machine, allowing analysis of user behaviour and drive people towards the achievement of print reduction goals. This, in turn, can reduce both energy use and cost.

Volume and wasted print was greatly reduced by establishing ‘user authentication policies’ for all users by introducing either a card swipe or biometric login; this gave the bursar greater control over authorised users and their departments as well as the ability to track and record all usage, limit the volume and quality of the print output and increase the accountability of users. Admin cost was also cut thanks to automatic just-in-time toner replenishment and the supplier organising service calls, not the school, while the new devices


Finally, one of the biggest costs savings for the school came in the form of reliability. The machines they invested in – which just so happened to be KYOCERA devices – have proved hassle-free and reliable, drastically cutting down maintenance time and allowing teachers to do what they do best – teach!

Printed documents will continue to be an integral part of education – for the foreseeable future at least – especially if the educators are educated about the cost savings that can easily be made.

By Austin Clark