Archway School cuts printing costs in half and increases IT support resource by 25%


Gloucestershire based Archway School is a comprehensive of approximately 1170 students aged between 11 and 18 years old. The majority of students continue into further education with many going on to universities and colleges.

Academic achievement, innovation, creativity and care are hallmarks of Archway with students exhibiting high standards in their work, behaviour and play. Archway aims to offer quality and breadth in its teaching and learning. It's a popular and thriving school with students benefitting from committed staff, specialist facilities and access to its own sixth form.

A plethora of printers

Archway's IT department is a lean machine consisting of 3 dedicated IT professionals. Its departmental budget funds and manages the school's entire printing activities for both staff and pupils. Archway's printing requirements are wide and varied. The students' main print output is word documents, but PowerPoint presentations and spreadsheets are also often printed. Exam boards require colour printing and art students need to print portfolios of top notch quality.

With an ever-expanding list of printing needs, Archway's printer fleet gradually expanded over time. Eventually this included a range of both inkjet and laser machines of various speeds and sizes from a number of different manufacturers. This made managing the machines incredibly challenging. Running costs were high, reliability issues were time consuming, and management was incredibly difficult.

Mervyn Murray, ICT Services Manager at Archway explains: "Shortly after joining the school, I was asked to sign off a purchase order for toner which was almost £3,000. We were paying thousands of pounds a year in printing costs and these costs just kept escalating." But it wasn't just the costs that were a concern for Mervyn: "We had a cupboard stacked full with hundreds of different toners. Trying to work out which toner went with which printer was a complete headache in itself, let alone the space they took up!"

There were also maintenance issues that accompanied the printer collection. Many of the printers were old and needed lots of upkeep. With such a small team providing IT support to a large school, resource was precious: "My team and I were constantly rushing around dealing with maintenance issues, replacing toners and clearing paper jams!" said Mervyn. "It soon became clear that I needed to update the school's printer fleet, standardise the printers, save costs and gain back control."

Help is at hand

Mervyn turned to Cheltenham based Finnick Solutions, a print and managed solutions provider with over 25 years of industry experience. They are experts in helping organisations cut printing costs, replace out of date machines and implement print management strategies to make for a more efficient environment. Mervyn had worked with Finnick in a previous role and trusted their expertise, he was confident they would be able to find a solution that ticked all the boxes.

At first, the search wasn't easy as Mervyn explains: "There was nothing on the market that would help us make the cost reductions we were looking for without compromising on quality. We needed something that cost effective, reliable, energy efficient, but with a small enough footprint to fit on a desk."

Eighteen months after the initial search, Finnick told Mervyn about a revolutionary inkjet printer that had recently been launched - The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-R5190 DTW. This A4 workgroup printer features Epson's Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS) to deliver super-high-yield printing. Each printer can print up to 75,000 pages in black or 50,000 pages in colour without the need to replace the ink.

After a successful trial, Mervyn placed an order with Finnick for 14 of the printers. These were placed in most classrooms and the school's six IT suites.

Cutting Costs and Saving Time

The Epson printers delivered the increased productivity of a local distributed print fleet but required minimal intervention, ensuring the predictable print costs and increased productivity that Archway was searching for.

Mervyn was delighted: "I love the fact that the RIPS will print up to 75,000 pages without the need to replace any packs. With the school spread across 3 levels and a small IT team of 3 people, we needed a solution that would just work with minimal intervention. We used to spend around 25% of our working day delivering printer support. We used to visit each of the schools xx printers 3 or 4 times a week, now that's been reduced to less than once a month. We've gained a massive amount of time back in our working days allowing us to focus on other things"

The printers ooze energy efficiency. The Epson WF-R5190DTW uses up to 80 percent less power than competitive laser printers due to their no heat technology. From a sustainability aspect, the printers speak for themselves. "We are not using nearly as much electricity as we were with our old printer fleet. And we don't have endless empty toner cartridges and associated packaging to get rid of."

No ozone gas is emitted and an improved 'quiet print mode' and 'no fan noise' during or after printing makes them ideal for the learning environment. There are also fewer replaceable parts than a laser machine, Mervyn's cupboard of toner is now a distant memory.

The printers are all integrated with PaperCut MF which make it easy to manage, giving Archway back the printing controls it was searching for. "With PaperCut we've reduced our print costs and wastage even further. We can see how many pages are being printed by who, from what device and can run reports by user or device to help us minimise the environmental impact," says Mervyn.

Mervyn concludes: "We are delighted with the performance and reliability of our new Epson printer fleet. We've reduced print costs by 50%, freed up 25% of our time, made significant energy saving, all without compromising on the quality of prints."

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