Glenthorne High School used to operate in a condition that will be familiar to thousands of schools and businesses: although their quarterly print costs were high they were a long way from being a priority issue. The last thing they wanted to do was meet with ITQ to discuss them. It was fortunate they did - they are going to save £100,000. Nothing in the school's existing print agreement was illegal; it was just totally unsuitable for the work they did. It took ITQ's extensive consulting experience to highlight the numerous pitfalls in the contract. For example, instead of paying for the pages they printed the school bought a minimum volume allowance. But this only worked in the supplier's favour. When the school printed less than the allowance - they almost always did - they had to pay for pages they never printed. If they printed more than the allowance they paid a surcharge, something that was not made adequately clear to the school when they negotiated the original contract. Graham Varndell, ITQ's Managing Director, has seen this type of scenario before: "Total volume plans are common in the industry because they benefit the supplier. Customers, on the other hand, find it difficult to predict when they're going to finish and if they'll get value for money. ITQ only sells transparent contracts where people pay for what they print." The last point was a particular shortcoming of Glenthorne's existing agreement. Their print costs were 'summarised' into a single line quarterly invoice. The school had no way of knowing how those costs were generated. In the absence of management information they were given no chance to reduce costs and waste or to optimise the deployment of their printers and MFPs.
With ITQ's help, the school now has a far more advantageous contract. The most visible improvement is inevitably the savings of £100,000 over the life of the contract - but the benefits go deeper. With accurate management reporting they can see which devices, departments and users generate most costs. They have been able to introduce policies to exploit money - saving print behaviour (they have saved £6,000 in paper alone). Most importantly, the school now knows what it is paying for. It is comfortable with its supplier, it understands its agreement and it no longer has to gloss over its print bills for fear of the horrors that may lurk under the surface.
Glenthorne High School is a thriving mixed academy - status school with 1,400 pupils of whom 300 are in the Sixth Form. As a Specialist Arts College it places special focus on performing arts: music, drama and dance.
Unattractive and unclear contract terms
"You can't ignore a £100,000 saving. It's the silver lining without the cloud!" Janet Sturgess Bursar
"Saving money is great but, from a management perspective, knowing what we pay for is just as important." Janet Sturgess Bursar