A large school system was looking for ways to reduce their spending on printing. This included the leasing of copiers and the spending on printers. Another area was the cost of ink for the low cost printers that the teachers and schools purchased on their P-cards.
The school system invested in the one-to-one computer program for a variety of schools, only to discover they were printing even more. The use of intelligent projectors have shown some promise, however, they did not have the return expected with regards to the reduction of printing.
They listened to their trusted advisors (the copier companies) and removed printers from the class rooms and put high powered copiers in central locations. This only led to the teachers having to come in early and stay late to get the printing they required. There was a brief reduction in printing costs, until the school system looked at the number of cheap desktop printers and the cost of ink, installation, new printers and headache for the administrators associating incoming ink with the correct printers. Another negative side affect of supposed “right-sizing” was the discontent of the teachers. There was an issue finding teachers and word spread about the lack of concern the district had for a teacher’s time.
The leadership did not walk the walk. While they wanted to consolidate the printers to copiers, the superintendent and district personnel all kept the printers and desktop copiers.
We conducted a S.M.A.R.T. Digital Document Assessment and identified all the output devices, including desktops. We did more than just map out where they are and show the potential for removing printers. We conducted thought leadership pods and think tanks in each school that included the teachers and administrators. We mapped out the device locations and volume, however, we took it to the next level. We mapped out the processes around the documents that the staff printed and understood the functional requirements. These meetings, in addition to the use of the delphi method of survey and data collection allowed us to work from a point of view of a partner with the staff instead of an adversary.
The result was a findings and recommendations document that the teachers, administration staff and district offices all agreed on. The implementation plan included:
Coaching – we worked with the teachers and district management on S.M.A.R.T. Entrepreneurial Leadership strategies and tactics that included a virtual coaching sessions with employees to ensure that they understood the reasons for the change, and how it would help them do more for the students and save money at the same time.
Knowledge Management– many of the teachers and staff had solutions for the printing issues. They held much of the needed information for achieving the school systems goals…they just had no process of sharing this knowledge; this was causing costly printing and lost productivity. We designed processes for capturing and accessing this Practical Wisdom by integrating incentives with technology enhancements and process improvements.
Mutual Benefit– once everyone understood that what they do or don’t do affects their coworkers, students, the district and themselves, it was a matter of time before the school system began to work in an efficient and effective manner. They realized that anything is possible with S.M.A.R.T. Entrepreneurial Leadership and a culture of Mutual Benefit.
Hard Dollar Savings – The school system increased the number of printers, decreased the number of copiers and lease costs, and implemented proven technology that gave the teachers back 2-4 hours a week of their personal time.