This year, Lincoln Public Schools ditched many of their schools' copiers and printers in favor of a centralized printing and duplication system
from Xerox located at the District Offices. The marketing premise is what you might expect: save money, keep track of resource usage, and so on.
Two things come to mind. First, when government bodies try to maximize efficiency through grand schemes like this -- orchestrated, of course, by allusions to utopia from slick salespeople -- they almost always fall flat on their face. Indeed, the LPS personnel I know have feelings on the issue ranging from reluctant tolerance to heated disapproval. The system has failed more than once already this year, and early projections of the capacity the system would need to serve were, of course, too low. But that brings to mind the second thing: often, government bodies can't win in these sorts of situations. The prior decentralized system was expensive, difficult to maintain, and impossible to audit. The current system is just slightly less expensive, difficult to maintain, and prone to catastrophy.
Thus, my question: is there any way LPS could win on this topic? How can they find the least expensive, most maintainable and scalable, easily trackable printing and duplication system? Is there such a thing?
[Link changed at noon, 9/26/06, since the LJS website is stupid.]