Case studies

“Canon's implementation has allowed us to provide printing solutions with a charge-back business model... This income has been used to offset the machines' up keep to provide our students a better, and reliable printing service. In essence, Canon's solution pays for itself.”

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The One Suite of Solutions that Pays for Itself

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Overview:
  • Customer Name
    • The One Academy of Communication Design

“Canon's implementation has allowed us to provide printing solutions with a charge-back business model... This income has been used to offset the machines' up keep to provide our students a better, and reliable printing service. In essence, Canon's solution pays for itself.”
 
Mr. Stanley Chew
IT and Opt Head
The One Academy


Business Overview

The One Academy of Communication Design is one of Asia's top tertiary institution choices for arts, new media and communication design. It was established in 1991 by award-winning creative industry leaders to address the market's need for quality and properly trained creative professionals. Its headquarters is located in Bandar Sunway, 20 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia's capital and financial centre, with a branch in Penang. In 2003, the school was awarded with the Multimedia Super Corridor status in recognition for its IT compliancy and facilitation in Malaysia's goal towards becoming a knowledge-based economy.

Unregulated usage drives up administrative costs
As an institution for design, the use of reliable equipment such as printers, copiers and scanners is essential for students' coursework. Installed at its Bandar Sunway campus for students' use were desktop office printers and two multifunction printers (MFP) of different brands. These printers were located at the computer laboratory and the library, and readily available for the needs of its students – without any restrictions. The school soon found itself in a bind. Unregulated use of the printers resulted in a tremendous increase in overheads. Toners, cartridges and paper had to be replaced often due to excessive printing. "We were unable to track the usage pattern by staff and students to properly cater for their printing needs. We needed a solution to help us understand the patterns for purposes of better planning and budgeting," said Mr Stanley Chew, IT and Opt Head, The One Academy. Taking into account the needs of The One Academy, Canon's proposed suite of solutions aimed at enabling the school to track its usage, manage its expenditure and even generate revenue.

The Challenge

Then: Bottlenecks in workflow with manual work
Making printouts for lecture notes and project work are daily necessities for all students at the institution. This was why MFPs were positioned at the computer laboratory and the library for their convenience. However, students were required to collect their printouts and subsequently queue at separate counters for staff to count the quantity and for students to make payment. This three-step process was not only complicated but inefficient as well, and often led to bottlenecks at the counters. This also proved to be a logistical nightmare for its administrative and operations staff as toners cartridges as well as paper would often run out too quickly due to excessive printing. With no tracking system in place, the school was unable to predict the usage pattern by staff and students and found it difficult to keep pace with the number of printing supplies such as toner cartridges and paper needed for its various printers.

Then: Unpredictable usage leading to poor budgeting
Without any proper system in place – manual or electronic – the school was unable to track the printing usage of its students and staff. This meant that operating costs often remained unpredictable; the school could not estimate how much it would be spending on printing expenses each month. Unable to track the costs and trend of toner and paper usage, the expenditure would be listed as an overall lump sum. This lack of tracking and statistics also meant that the school could not understand the printing habits of students and staff, and how it could effectively manage running costs and resources, as well as minimise wastage.

Then: Hassle in equipment maintenance
Peak periods in the school calendar also meant that usage for its printers would be higher at certain points in the term. With increased and indiscriminate use, frequent maintenance for its machines was required. With two different types of printers from different brands, maintenance soon became a hassle. Different supplies for two brands of cartridges and toners were needed. In addition, coordination for two different vendors was required to maintain both brands and types of machines. Administratively and operationally, this meant a doubling in manpower costs.

Then: Potential breach of confidentiality and security
Given the easy access of its machines and the lack of control on usage, printouts were often found left lying around and uncollected. This became a cause for concern as students risked theft of their project ideas and exposure of their academic details. Likewise, the management was concerned that confidential school documents such as student information, academic programmes and financial matters, could face leakage due to careless handling by school employees. The lack of control also meant that anyone could print anything, whether personal or official, and with unlimited quantity.

The Solution

Today: Smooth operation in one simple step
Recognising the need for proper controls, Canon made various recommendations for both hardware and software. Integrating Canon's MFPs and uniFLOW software to the school's existing IT infrastructure and database, The One Academy is now able to control the usage of its machines, and make users wholly accountable for their printing needs. With the implementation of a credit system, students now have to pay for whatever they use. Transaction methods are made convenient for both the school and its students. Students can now easily top up their student passes with credits for printing and copying at a card reader. This way, students avoid having to queue at separate counter to make their payments or to manually have their printouts counted by the administrative staff. Likewise, the school saves on additional manpower required to regulate printing.

Today: Automated audit and full expense control
Canon's integrated solution now allows the system to easily register the students' identification, along with information on the quantity and type of printouts with a simple tap of their student cards at the machines. Credits are then automatically deducted from the cards. This implementation means that students are now accountable for the school's resources and have become more mindful of their usage. As they pay for what they use, this has effectively reduced the school's running costs and overall volume of materials used. The automated reporting system by uniFLOW gives administrators a clear overview on equipment usage. Administrators are now able to see who the individual users are, usage statistics by faculty and study the usage patterns of specified durations. "With our recommended uniFLOW system, they are able to compare costs against their revenue now that all printing and copying, and associated costs can be tracked and stored. This function has proven useful as it allows them to better manage their budgets," said Mr Aldrin Chan, Imaging Solution Executive, Business Imaging Solution Division, Canon Marketing (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

Today: One point of contact, enhanced productivity
The fully integrated system of Canon's printers and uniFLOW software into the school's infrastructure allows the school proper planning of its budgets and resources. Similarly, administrators need only go to one point of contact for all its needs – whether for supplies, maintenance, troubleshooting or even training. Moreover, in the event of any printer breakdown, uniFLOW's intelligent system allows print jobs to be seamlessly re-routed to the next available printer, without any compromise to productivity. In addition, uniFLOW allows users convenience and flexibility by giving them the option of collecting their printouts at their preferred device and location.

Today: ID card authentication for secure printing
Users are now assured that confidential documents will not be left exposed for unauthorised viewing. With secure print, users must tap their staff or student passes at the machine in order to release their print jobs. This enables them to collect their printouts on the spot, reducing any compromise on information confidentiality.

The Results

Increased productivity, security and revenue
For the convenience, security and ease of use, the staff and students have applauded this fleet of solutions. Also giving the thumbs-up is the management who has seen the tangible benefits from the implementation. Says Mr Chew, "Canon's implementation has allowed us to provide printing solutions with a charge-back business model. We see multi-pronged benefits with this. By paying a minimal rate for printing, students now learn to be responsible for what they use. This reflects the reality and prepares them for the business world after they graduate.

"Our students can also take advantage of the vibrant and precise colours from Canon's MFPs and large format printers. With the scanning function, students are also able to scan their work into PDF to email their lecturers. The variety of print and scanning options has given The One Academy significant cost savings. This has been used to offset the machines' upkeep to provide our students a better, and reliable printing service. "In essence, Canon's solution pays for itself. The savings from this allows us to invest our money in more quality services that our students can benefit from."

The success of this implementation has given The One Academy assurance that they have made the right choice with Canon. Encouraged by the results, The One Academy has once again partnered with Canon to adopt a similar solution for the school's Penang campus.

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