New print environment improves service at Letterkenny IT

28 Mar 2011

Reprographic services for staff and students at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) have been significantly improved at lower cost, thanks to a new print environment, deployed and configured by MJ Flood. Charge-back facilities to individual departments has also been enabled, which ensures each and every print job is accounted for, in line with best practice.

With more than 3,000 students, 500 staff and annual print volumes of more than 2m copies for the academic year 2009/2010, LYIT is a demanding print environment. A wide variety of documentation is produced on a daily basis, including course notes, booklets, theses and other publications in black and white, as well as colour.

“We wanted to move away from a mixed printer/copier environment where costs were rising exponentially and management control was quickly ebbing away,” explains John O’Raw, IT manager, LYIT. “We went back to first principles and undertook a more holistic approach by treating LYIT as a ‘greenfield’ site. We developed a strategic document management plan, which would deliver improved services at a lower cost.”

High quality, dedicated reprographic services

Following a competitive tender process, MJ Flood was selected to meet the unique challenges set by O’Raw and his team.

A dedicated reprographics room, staffed by an MJ Flood employee, provides full-time documentation production facilities for staff and students alike. For example, students can get end-of-year projects professionally printed and bound with published student tariffs for this service. Staff can email or physically drop off course notes or study aids and collect them within a pre-defined time. Billing is done via cross-charge against their unique departmental account number.

“We take the view that staff should maximise their time with students, and not spend their time in front of a photocopier,” according to O’Raw. “Our dedicated reprographic service delivers high quality print management on demand. Having MJ Flood staff on site maximises the uptime of our machines as troubleshooting can be rapidly performed where required. A backup service level agreement with four-hour response time is also in place, but in reality this is rarely used.”

In addition, LYIT administration staff no longer have to worry about ordering consumables or spare parts as this is handled directly by MJ Flood. Servicing and maintenance is also carried out on a regular basis.

Full transparency of costs

The print environment has been configured to provide itemised reporting on each individual print job, including time dropped off, time collected, media used and, of course, cost. LYIT uses the raw data to produce internal cross-charging reports, billed to each respective department so every print or copy job is clearly accounted for. Budget holders can review their costs at the end of the accounting period and take corrective action, where appropriate. “Print costs no longer represent the black hole that they used to,” comments O’Raw. “We have moved to a best-practice model where full transparency on costs is now the norm.”

Flexible student reprographic services
Students can not only access the main reprographics room for print services but can also use a number of high-quality multifunction devices located in either of the libraries at Letterkenny or Killybegs. “Each MFP has been integrated with Infinia, a third-party software application which facilitates a cash-card dispensing system,” explains Vincent Walsh, Sligo branch manager at MJ Flood. “We installed several pay stations at strategic locations, such as the libraries, where students can purchase credit and use the cards for reprographic services. The solution works extremely well and removes overhead for John O’Raw and his team in terms of managing this service.”

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Zero capital investment
“From our perspective, the huge advantage of this approach is that we have zero capital tied up in hardware and operating expenses are less than if we rolled out this service ourselves,” explains O’Raw. Machines are provided on a rental basis with an agreed cost per copy.

While MJ Flood collects the revenue from the student pay stations, they do pay a royalty fee to LYIT for use of power and paper for these devices. “Profit is not on the agenda,” according to O’Raw. “Our objective is to provide high-quality reprographic services at the least possible cost. Any surplus generated is reinvested back into our reprographics to maintain them at their low cost. For example, there has only been one price increase since 2004 and we believe we have one of the least expensive reprographic services in the country.”

The institute has had positive experiences of working with MJ Flood over the last five years. “Staff at MJ Flood have a deep understanding of what makes us tick,” says O’Raw. “While this solution initially faced resistance from users, I can safely say that I would be faced with campus-wide mutiny if we decided to revert to the old way of doing things.”

For more information on how MJ Flood can help with print management, please contact us via telephone at (01) 466 3500 or email us at

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