The 2017 K-12 CBO’s Opportunity to Save Money, Improve Service in their District’s Print/Copy ProgramEthan Davis
The role of the Chief Business Officer is changing and expanding. Like most school administrators in K-12 today, CBOs are expected to handle a significantly wider-ranging role and work with a more diverse set of constituents and skills than ever before.
One important area to consider is your district print/copy program. This is an important responsibility that is easy to overlook, but doing so can cost you.
TYPICAL DISTRICT SPEND
Our research shows that the typical school district spends approximately $38 per student each year on printing and copying; that’s a half of a million dollars for a 13,200 student district! Contrast this with school districts who have implemented copying/printing program optimization strategies. These districts averaged just $28 per student; that equates to a six figure savings ($132,000 per year savings for our 13,200 student district).
INSTRUCTIONAL HOUR IMPACT
In addition to hard savings, a strategically-based print/copy program can also bring about conditions that protect student learning. When a copier goes down the impact on instructional hours can be significant. Our studies show that one hour of downtime on one device can have a negative impact on 5.4 instructional hours. With the typical contract allowing up to 6 more hours of downtime than necessary on every device, every month, when you spread that over the entire district, thousands of instructional hours are at stake each year. For our example district of 13,200 students, unnecessary downtime can impact 17,000+ instructional hours every year.
NOW IS THE TIME
For CBO’s whose district’s have printer/copier contracts coming up for renewal in 2017, now is the time to act. Because these contracts typically span three to five years, this opportunity may not present itself again until 2022! If your printer/copier contract is coming up for renewal soon, it is important to begin a thorough assessment of your current contracts and evaluate the efficacy of your vendor. This will likely uncover significant savings as well as ways to improve the efficiency of teachers and staff. So before the district issues an RFP, or decides to use an existing contract or to simply to renew the current contract, get the right data to make the right decisions.
GOOD DATA = GOOD DECISIONS
You’ll need at least 90 days to get meaningful data on your printer and copier environment in order to make the right business decisions. Things like usage, volume balance, deployment, performance and pricing are all critical factors and it is imperative that this discovery be conducted before the procurement process is set in motion. This is a strategic program that will require a cross-functional team and executive level involvement – including the CBO, finance, purchasing, IT, graphics/print shop and members of the academic community. After that, your procurement department will need four or five months to perform a proper RFP.
DON’T LET YOUR VENDOR DO IT
It can be tempting to simply allow your current vendor to do an assessment and provide you with volume and device numbers. But be careful; that approach will likely to fall short. You need true business intelligence to make the right decisions. And after all, it’s not in your vendor’s best interest to uncover savings in the current program, or recommend that you actually don’t need any more gear. An honest and independent evaluation of the current environment and opportunities is essential.
ENGAGE AN INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT
For the same reasons you would engage an independent auditor or retain legal counsel, an independent consulting firm is your best approach to evaluate your contracts and uncover true savings and improvements in your agreements and vendor contracts. Indeed, given the critical nature of the technology involved and the significant expense associated with your printer and copier fleet, it makes sense to engage a third party consultant that has no skin in the game. Districts find that a professional third party that works for the district’s benefit, not the suppliers, gives them the expertise and perspective needed to uncover savings and improvement opportunities that would have been overlooked instead.
An independent assessment of your district printer/copier fleet brings the business intelligence back to you so you can make the appropriate decisions. And now is the time to take action.
We can help. Optimizon is a professional business consultancy that specializes in K-12 as well as the intricacies of a district-wide printer/copier/print shop environment. We know the machines, the measurements, and most of all…the game. Indeed, we’ve seen just about every kind of vendor proposal in the books. The difference is that we don’t sell anything. Instead, we work for you to ensure that you get the right pricing, the right capabilities and the right programs in place to optimize your environment and enable continued savings and efficiencies district-wide. We’ve worked with over 100 districts across the country, and we’d be pleased to explore how we can help you too.
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