The power of print

Stephen Young from Xerox UK, tells us how colour printing can improve the learning experience without breaking the bank

✥ Printing in colour is proven to improve the learning experience yet is often seen as too expensive – Do you agree?

You are correct in both instances. On average, 43% of the student population receive paper based hand-outs every day in class, and the majority of these documents are still produced in black and white, even though they often include pictures, graphs and charts. In a recent survey of 1,000 children, 77% of them said that the use of colour in documents helped them to focus, maintain interest and improve their ability of retain information. The survey also demonstrated that 85% of the children felt that they could better understand and interpret information from charts and graphs.

I believe that the use of colour in education is starting to be recognised by educators. The perception of colour print being an extravagant use of resources is rapidly diminishing. This change has largely come about due to a shift in the cost versus benefit ratio, which makes the investment decision considerably easier. Over the past five years the cost of producing colour has reduced dramatically and consequently the difference between producing a mono print compared to a colour print has narrowed considerably. This in turn has made producing colour documents more affordable than ever before, thereby allowing educators to justify more easily the use of colour in their resource material.

✥ Can savings in printing make a real difference to both a small school and large university?

Absolutely, and we have many examples where this has been achieved. Through the use of national frameworks negotiated on behalf of the public sector by organisations such as Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which is a department of the Cabinet Office, significant savings can be realised. Savings via the CCS framework reference RM1599, are typically between 40%–50%, and obviously such a significant reduction can then be invested into other areas. For instance, recently Fitzjohn’s Primary School in Camden procured printing equipment via the CCS framework which resulted in a saving of 40% against their previous expenditure. The saving which totalled £5,000 were then used towards improving student learning with additional investment in new arts materials and a proportion of the monies was also used to support the kitchen refurbishment project, which is required following the recent government initiative to supply free school meals to all infants from September.

Universities are improving their infrastructure to support new ways of working. Printing from tablets and smartphones makes life simpler. Bournemouth University are improving the student experience by offering mobile print.

✥ How can you encourage more education establishments to use online procurement frameworks and what are the benefits?

Traditionally, the education sector has procured print via direct face-to-face contact with a sales representative from a host of print manufactures and local dealers. In recent years our personal buying behaviours have changed to a much more online focused approach. We’ve become more experienced and confident in purchasing products over the internet. Typically these have been personal purchases, however, this is now naturally extending into our procurement of goods and services for the workplace. Print and the procurement of multi-functional printers are no exception to this.

In March 2012 Xerox were awarded single supplier status on Lot 1 of the Crown Commercial Service framework contract RM1599 for the supply of multi-functional printers to the public sector. This was significant, as a key requirement for the Lot 1 award was to offer a web based e-commerce portal for public sector customers to browse, compare and buy, and it’s worth noting that some schools are saving up to 90% of a replacement device. Buying online through this portal has grown by 200% over the last year as education establishments become aware of these benefits.

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