Case studies

Raising the power or extracting the root – the bill comes out right with OKI


The Mathematics Department of ETH Zurich is streamlining its processes and delivering sustainable operating cost savings with OKI's Managed Print Services.


Even though this modern institute of technology relies primarily on electronic media, the use of good old paper has not yet been abandoned here. For example, in the Department of Mathematics: more than 54,000 pages of scientific research are printed here every month by 260 staff members. Until recently, more than 60 printing facilities were available for the daily paperwork. However, the variety of the equipment, not the amount, has been the main cause of increasing problems recently.

“Seven different types of units from a total of five different manufacturers rendered administration and general handling increasingly difficult,” recalls Dr. Hanspeter Scherbel, the Department Coordinator and Head of  IT Support for the Department of Mathematics. “The repairs were also problematic. Whenever the machines needed repairs, for example, we couldn’t get support from a central service partner. Instead, we ended up having to commission a different service provider each time because of all of the different kinds of machines.  It was expensive, time-consuming and nerve-racking.”


In order to put an end to the problems of different printing systems, poor support and unreliable providers, a totally new printing infrastructure was implemented. Scherbel came across OKI while looking for a suitable solution from a service partner. A test phase began: The Department first implemented several colour and black and white LED printing systems from OKI to familiarize Scherbel and his team with them. The LED technology played a key role from the start. “Nowadays, just about every printer has extensive functions. What really appealed to us about the OKI printers from the beginning was the well-known reliability of LED technology combined with OKI’s strong environmental commitment,” Scherbel says.

The detailed Managed Print Service (MPS) analysis from OKI, which follows the test phase, immediately identifies potential savings. For example, the amount of ink needed by the department was able to be determined by using the test machines. The findings were projected for the ink usage of all offices and used as the basis for a service contract. The benefits: The necessary supplies are delivered based on the exact demand and correct amount required.  “Becausethe printing volume is predetermined, the ink is considerably cheaper than in retail,” explains Walter Briccos, Managing Director of OKI Switzerland. In addition, the operating costs of the hardware infrastructure could be significantly reduced. 

The Department’s staff use their office printers predominately for black and white printing. However, to make documents such as presentations, brochures or informative materials more visually appealing, at least 12,000 colour pages are printed monthly. Here as well, those responsible at the ETH identified a key benefit in LED technology: thanks to superior media flexibility, materials such as transparencies or cardboard can be printed on. In addition, the machines that have a current maximum resolution of 2,000 dpi can create prints that are virtually photo quality. Scherbel: “We were already impressed with the quality of the tests.”
In order to write off the one-off investment in a new, uniform printer infrastructure more quickly, OKI took the Department’s old equipment and disposed of it in an environmentally friendly manner. Gradually, the various printing systems were replaced during operation. This, for example, allowed for the complete removal of ten fax machines and scanners. “The multifunction printers now take care of these jobs, and because of network connectivity, high resolution and media flexibility, they offer more possibilities than all of the old individual machines put together,” explains Scherbel. In addition, the savings on machines, the energy efficiency of the new printers and the standardised office supplies contribute to a significantly better environmental balance of the new hardware “We not only operate fewer machines, but we have created an efficient structure overall using the economical OKI machines, which uses less power as well as reducing the amount of ink and cartridge waste,”  concludes Scherbel.


The Department of Mathematics at ETH Zurich can now access a uniform printer infrastructure without having to deal with the acquisition of office supplies or inconsistencies that arise when having to deal with constantly changing service partners. Scherbel sums up: “The free MPS analysis was certainly worth it for us. Thanks to OKI, we can now identify substantial savings potential that standardises the hardware and, in the end, creates significant cost benefits. The supplies as well as service now always come from one and the same partner. The only investment we had to make was a little time. Compared to the hassle and most of all, the costs that our old printer infrastructure generated, it was the right step in the right direction.”  

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