Case Study: How managed print brought savings and sanity to Southern Nazarene University's printing environment

Some people have skeletons in their closets, others elephants in their rooms, but this client, who handles the information technology matters an Oklahoma City-based private university said she had an ape problem on campus.


“I call it the APE — which stands for anarchistic printing environment,” said Chichi Freelander, speaking of Southern Nazarene University’s 333 printers across campus. This armada of ink and toner slingers had no standard model, no standard purchasing and no standard support.

“My network administrators and network technicians were becoming very frustrated with IT printing support calls — like adding surprise printers to the network or finding drivers and software to install on each machine.” 

The university’s chief financial officer, Scott Strawn, said sometimes the printing situation could make him take a bat to a printer — an act otherwise known as “going ‘Office Space.’”

“It was so completely out of control and so many different people purchasing things, that it was very difficult to even get a hard figure on what we were actually spending,” he said, saying how eventually printer cartridges themselves became a currency.

He said university staff would buy cartridges, store multiple stacks of them, as well as cases and cases of paper.

It was time for a change, so that is where R.K. Black, an Oklahoma City office technology company.


Freelander said the company, already having had a contract with the university for some multi-function printers, for some years had been talking with the university encouraging the school to standardize the rest of its printers and outsource its support to tame the print environment.

R.K. Black’s district sales manager Gary Hackett who was the one who had been speaking with Freelander and Strawn about implementing a managed print solution when the conversation turned to Bresee Hall, the university’s administrative building.

The hall had 56 printers for 54 workers.

“They were doing really one-to-one — they had pretty much one printer to one associate in every office,” said Hackett.

Once SNU gave R.K. Black the permission to carry out a study, he and Chris Robertson, company’s analyst, and also an SNU alumnus, performed a facility walk-through during which they touched every printing device, mapped their locations and used software to determine the best solution for the APE-like environment.

Following the study, Hackett presented the university with a managed print service plan that reduced the number of the printers on campus from 333 to 118 — a two-thirds cut, something Freelander really liked.

“This was very appealing to us. This is what we wanted to do,” said Freelander.

Implementation and Results

The university then accepted and implemented the plan and the changes became readily apparent.

During the plan’s execution, Bresee Hall saw the most improvement, the number of printers being slashed 56 to 18 strategically-placed devices.

But these were not the only transformations.

With the installation of the new devices and capabilities, students and staff acquired a new capability with badge-based FollowMe printing technology to print from their laptops or computers to any printer on campus available to them — whether that was the dorm, lab, office or library.

Not only that, but with the technology, if students decided not to release a print job, the job would not print, saving the school money in toner and paper costs.

For one month alone, there were 17 reams of print jobs that did not get released,” said Freelander. “So that was quite a savings. Otherwise that paper would have wound up in the trash and in the recycle bin and would have been just a waste.

Hackett said the cost savings mentioned here were significant, those 17 reams amounting to about $800 spared, not to mention the trees and other resources saved.

I think at the end of the day … you can just tell that first of all, we know where we are printing,” said Strawn describing the advantages of the new managed print service. “We’ve already begun to track (our printing). I know who’s printing what. I know where my large print areas are. I know who the large print users are. We know when things ebb and flow.

So from a tracking perspective, even five, six months in, I feel like we can project and think about and plan for when expenses are going to happen. I know we’ve got a good deal in term of the toner and the support and the devices,” he continued, saying he doesn’t have associates buying printers of questionable quality or having to buy printers because they are often cheaper than cartridges.

So things are significantly better.

If your print environment is leaving you feeling frustrated, it may be time to consider a managed print services solution. 

If you would like more information on how to save printing costs at your business or to learn more about managed print solutions, click on the red "Get more info" button below.

R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in and around Oklahoma and Kansas. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and  scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.

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