It Looked Great on Paper…

By: Mr. Wilson on September 26, 2006
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.]


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September 26, 2006 at 4:53PM

So I’m confused.  Journal Star already moved the article (there has to be a letter campaign written to the editor about their crappy cms, but that’s another post).  When someone wants to run off 10 copies of a quiz, they have to go to the district office to do it, instead of down the hallway?  Have they eliminated copiers in the schools completely, or just ones for massive print jobs such as school-wide newsletters?

Mr. Wilson
September 26, 2006 at 5:11PM

I’m a little confused on some of the details, too, but yes, the gist of it is that all teacher print jobs are centralized. Want to send students home with a worksheet? Print it a week ahead of time. Want to give an exam or a quiz? Print it a week ahead of time. And so on.

September 26, 2006 at 7:49PM

In my experience all these printers sold by companies to institutions are overpriced and just don’t work as well as they’re supposed to. We have a printer in my office that constantly is running out of something or other- $175 toner, $350 imaging unit, etc, etc. Salesmen convince businesses that they need to buy special printers for the bulk of work they’ll do, and I’m not convinced it’s always true. It might be better just to get a cheap printer at a discount store and replace it when it breaks.


September 27, 2006 at 1:02PM

Y’all have no idea what a cluster this thing is.  My department is spending considerably MORE in copy costs since the switch.  We have machines in the building for last-minute copies, but they’re slow and expensive.  Copies sent to the district end up not coming back about 1/3 of the time; when they do come back, they’re either late or something is wrong.  I was told that when LPS signed the contract with Xerox, they didn’t realize that PAPER wasn’t included in the price they were quoted. 

Oh how I long for the days when I could just hand an original to the nice copy lady and a neat stack of papers would show up in my mailbox a couple hours later.  sigh.

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