The introduction of self-service reprographic services at Dublin Business School has helped to revolutionise the way students can copy and print documents, assignments and theses.
Thanks to a new reprographic environment deployed by MJ Flood, students can now top up their account online and use their unique ID number to access high-quality copies and prints at the college’s two libraries, on Aungier Street and Dame Street in Dublin. The managed print solution provides a swifter and more efficient service to the college’s demanding student population.
With more than 9,000 students, Dublin Business School is the country’s largest independent third-level institution and access to high-quality, cost-effective reprographic services is critical to the students there. Head librarian Marie O’Neill explains the impetus for the device refresh.
"We wanted to introduce a self-service option for students, which would provide quicker and easier access to printing and copying devices in our libraries. We also wanted to reduce the amount of time our librarians were spending on dispensing copying cards and refocus their energies on higher value tasks, such as information research, evaluation and assessment. We approached MJ Flood with the project as they had successfully provided print services to our main print room."
Introducing the concept of self-service
O’Neill had already identified an application which could potentially provide the platform for her vision of self-service. PaperCut is a third-party print management solution, specifically designed for use in the education sector.
"The most challenging aspect of this project was the integration of PaperCut with our Ineo devices," explains Felim O’Heinigh, technical consultant with MJ Flood. "We firstly had to hardwire the print release terminal into our device and connect it to the network. We then built a prototype in our workshop and conducted a series of exhaustive tests to ensure that jobs were recorded and debited at the correct price. Umpteen ‘what if’ scenarios were simulated and tested and in the case of jam recovery, we had to ensure that students were not double-charged for the service. It was a complex piece of work."
Students purchase credit in denominations of €5, €10 or €20. They log onto any PC with their unique logon, which is linked to their student ID and date of birth. They enter the code from the ticket and their account is topped up. When they need to copy or print, they just enter their student ID into the keypad on the print or copy device and their account is automatically debited.
Boosting reprographic income and profitability
There has been a very high uptake by the students of the self-service option, according to O’Neill.
"Students like the independence of the system. We calculate that our income from reprographic services is up by about 20pc year on last year," she comments. "The solution is also more profitable for us as we no longer have to purchase photocopy cards. I have no doubt that the increase in profitability is due to the introduction of a self-service option and the reliability and quality of the machines installed by MJ Flood."
The introduction of colour printing to the service has also proved extremely popular amongst students.
"Students demand the highest quality finish for assignments, projects and theses," says O’Neill. "Colour is now seen as a must-have when submitting these all-important documents. And our ability to re-invest profits back into our reprographic services ensures that we can maintain colour output at a reasonable level for cash-strapped students."
Dublin Business School itself has also benefited from the introduction of colour and staff can produce booklets, flyers and leaflets in-house. Previously, these print jobs would have had to be outsourced but they can now be produced in house in a far more cost-effective fashion.
The recent addition of wireless printing also facilitates students who are working from mobile devices in increasing numbers. Students can also send a print job from any location on campus to any printer in the library and pick it up on entering their student ID number. The concept of ‘Follow Me’ printing offers students the ultimate in flexibility and service.
"We chose MJ Flood for the project as they have a strong customer focus," says O’Neill. "They invested a lot of time at the outset, talking to all stakeholders and their approach took into account all requirements and concerns. Doing their homework in advance ensured that the entire move was seamless for us."
Looking to the future
"Next year, we will look to further developing the PaperCut system," explains O’Neill. "Ideally, we would like students to be able to use their credit or debit cards to top up their accounts, offering them the choice of a cash or cashless transaction. The robustness of the PaperCut system coupled with the reliability of the devices supplied by MJ Flood ensures that we have an infrastructure which will serve us well into the future and provide a platform where we can continue to develop the quality of our reprographic services."
At a Glance
Organisation: Dublin Business School
Industry: Third-level education
Organisation profile: Dublin Business School specialises in the provision of career-focused business and law education, as well as the delivery of contemporary programmes in the areas of arts, media, social science, humanities and psychology. Dublin Business School is Ireland’s largest independent third-level institution with a student population of more than 9,000 and an ability to deliver more than 100 accredited programmes.
Business challenge: To provide refreshed copying and printing services for students with a self-service capability at the college’s two libraries.
- Device refresh at the college’s two libraries with 3 x Develop Ineo +451 colour multi-function photocopiers (MFP), 1 x Develop Ineo +353P printer and 1 x Develop Ineo 360 monochrome MFP.
- Integration of PaperCut, which provides an online account management function. This allows students to purchase credit and top up their online account for reprographic services.
- Self-service concept frees up library staff to spend more high quality time with students in terms of researching information.
- Reprographic service income has been boosted by the solution allowing the college to re-invest back into library services.
- Introduction of colour printing boosts the quality of assignments and theses for student population.
- Colour booklets, leaflets and flyers can now be produced cost-effectively in-house.
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