Paper documents are the backbone of every legal firm. However the industry is under growing pressure to re-valuate its use of hard copy documents and embrace modern working – making a robust managed print service (MPS) solution essential.
Thrings is a forward thinking firm of solicitors with offices across the South of England; 341 employees occupy over 60,000 square feet of office space. As well as seeking to streamline and optimise business practices, Thrings is committed to improving environmental performance and supporting a sustainable approach to future business activities. A key part of this is reducing printing and copying, but with an ageing and unreliable fleet of printers and copiers, it was impossible to make a significant difference.
We wanted a more modern solution to replace our fleet of 92 machines that was energy efficient, gave us more functionality and brought us up-to-date. The challenge was to replace the old fleet on a lease basis for similar costs. Follow me printing was an important part, plus connectors to scan directly into our practice management system.
‘Follow-me’ printing has been very well-received. Before that, the secretarial teams were always picking up other people’s jobs and spending up to an hour a day sorting out prints for each other. We’ve got more than 70 staff in the secretarial team so that’s a lot of hours saved. Less waste too. Roughly a ream of paper per day per office in uncollected prints used to be shredded, which no longer happens.
We also have contracted print volumes and are only billed for excess which is far less admin for us. And we have much more detailed reporting than ever before so we can see who is using machines and we can recharge prints to clients which is something we could not do accurately in the past.
- Chris Harding, Director of IT and Facilities, Thrings’
Thrings had a fleet of 92 Ricoh copiers and printers, some of which were over 12 years old. Devices were being pushed hard to produce two million prints per quarter by the 70+ secretarial team and, due to the age and functionality of the machines, breakdowns were common. So was queuing for a copier, spending up to an hour a day sorting through reams of paper, and having to shred large quantities of uncollected prints at the end of each day.
Working practices are changing in legal firms, one example being the move to scan larger volumes of documents and case notes. But, for Thrings, this was still a labour intensive process. Manually scanned files were loaded into a folder on the server. But files are space hungry, thereby forcing IT to clear out the folder every month, or physically move files to the relevant place on the Lawman practice management system. It was taking too much time.
Having recommended HP A4 mono multi functional devices (MFDs) and Xerox A3 colour MFDs, resolved the integration challenges arising with the practice management system, and selected Equitrac ‘follow-me’ print software, we were asked to set up a proof of concept stage at Swindon. The two busiest areas of the firm from a printing and copying perspective, the post room and the personal injury department, then set about putting the kit through its paces.The outcome Our consolidated service has streamlined WBD’s supply chain, enabling the firm to order all of its essential supplies and ad hoc requirements via a single source. Now, WBD has fewer separate orders to process, which has alleviated the administrative burden of its supply chain. Meanwhile, WBD has achieved greater visibility through consolidated invoices and reports across all of its purchasing activity.
We wanted to create a solution that was more efficient, more secure, reliable and popular with staff.
All Thrings printers and copiers were replaced by a smaller, more streamlined fleet of the latest HP and Xerox MFDs with built-in scanning capability. Equitrac software has improved document security and all but eliminated wastage as staff now swipe their security fob to activate their prints at any device when they need them. For staff travelling between Thrings offices, this has been a revelation – they no longer have to carry large amounts of paper with them as they can simply print when they arrive.
The MFD fleet is also cleverly linked to the Lawman practice management system using GDAC connectors. Ecopy Sharescan software makes it possible for staff to simply take a document to a device, select a destination, and then scan and feed it directly to the relevant place on the system. It’s a streamlined, fully automated process that saves time and effort for everyone, whether they want to scan to email, share documents or simply store them.
With the right tools in place to work more efficiently and address the company’s environmental goals, Thrings can now make some headway. Printer and copier use and operational working practices are regularly reviewed against the aim of significantly reducing the need to print or copy and the results so far are encouraging.