In 2000/2001 the Division embarked on a major project to upgrade printers throughout the Division, rationalising the then existing wide range of devices to standardise on HP LaserJet printers. These printers have by and large served the Division well and standardisation has made looking after the printers centrally easier. Bulk buying has reduced the cost of toner.
In 2006 these printers will be five years old, well out of warranty and at the end of their service life by industry standards. Most are still working well, but particularly high-usage devices increasingly need service and replacement parts.
While there has been talk in the past about the University centrally managing printing, no plans are yet in place. Something will need to be done over the next twelve months to maintain printing services across the Division at a reasonable level: with changes in printing and photocopy technology over the past five years, there is an opportunity to look at other ways of providing printing to staff by combining the functions of printing and photocopying in the one device (multifunction devices or MFDs), leasing or renting rather than buying, and paying a service provider a click-charge to cover toner and maintenance over a five year contract period. Personal printers can be replaced by purchasing cheaper devices, but toner and maintenance charges remain high for these devices, much higher per page that using MFDs.
With the approval of Executive, a range of two or three options for refreshing printing across the Division can be prepared for discussion.