Case Study: South East Water

February 22, 2021

South East Water migrate to durable, reliable Toshiba barcode solutions for water sampling.

The relationship between South East Water and Toshiba continues to go from strength to strength, and over the years has developed to become much more than a Managed Print Service.

South East Water have been using Toshiba MFPs (Multi-Functional Printers) and Print Management Software, across 20 of their locations, since early 2014. All devices are remotely monitored for meter readings, consumables and proactive fault logging, ensuring a reliable service is maintained.

The success of the initial MPS project led Toshiba to engage with other parts of the business to see where further improvements could be made. With the help of Toshiba’s Process Optimisation team, South East Water was able to replace and digitise its current Document Management System across the Finance department and Post Room for the processing and archiving of invoices and letters.

James Inglis, National Account Manager at Toshiba commented on the project: “At Toshiba, we always take the time to listen to the customer, understand how their business operates, so we can recommend the right products and solutions to improve business efficiency and ultimately save the customer time and money. Because we have many different product areas within Toshiba, we can often recommend multiple solutions for customers, as was the case with South East Water. I think this really sets us apart from the competition.”

Exploring other areas for improvement

South East Water currently use barcode technology to label water samples for testing and analysis purposes, so when they were experiencing issues with their existing Barcode Printers in the sampling lab, they looked to the Toshiba team to see if there was the potential for an easy transition. Graham Batchelor, Solutions Analyst/Developer for South East Water, commented on the Lab solution: “It is critical that the labels we print for our water samples are durable with clear and easy to read barcodes. They contain very precise information on where the samples are to be taken and what analysis is to be carried out, it can be very costly if the wrong sample is analysed for the wrong site.” Graham continued, “Our existing printers were becoming unreliable and we wanted to integrate a new solution that would be easy to implement without expensive software changes. We have a great relationship with Toshiba and had been really impressed with the technology and projects to date, so looked for their recommendation on appropriate hardware and label materials for our water sampling.”

Finding the perfect fit for the environment

Following an initial scoping, Toshiba proposed a mid-range 4-inch printing solution with durable synthetic labels, Anthony Gee, Business Partner Manager at Toshiba explains the process: “We appreciate that every customer’s application is different, and it is so important to take the time to understand the environment where the labels are being printed, how they are being used and the integration requirements. It was very clear that one of the key elements for South East Water was easy integration into their existing system, so the fact that our printers are able to operate in Z-Mode means we can configure the machines using the built in Basic Command Interpreter (BCI) to mirror the existing printers programme language.”

After an initial trial period, South East Water implemented Toshiba’s mid-range desktop printers into their LIMS (Lab Information Management System), at their Business Information Centre in Kent. The compact footprint and clam shell design is ideal for a lab environments where space is at a premium, and the high-performance specification is perfect for the printing requirement of 300-550 labels a daily and 1600 once a week for sampling team. With robust synthetic labels, they are guaranteed accurate and readable barcodes on every print. A solution that manages the track and trace of samples throughout the process and can endure the harsh requirements of the sites where the samples are collected.

Confidence, reliability and peace of mind

Graham commented on the installation and benefits of the solution: “The Toshiba Team have been fantastic to work with from day one, the fact that they could configure the printers to Z-Mode so we could easily integrate into our LIMS system out of the box was a real bonus. They are incredibly reliable and give me the peace of mind that all the samples that we are despatching will be accurately tracked, with the right information, throughout the sample testing process.” Graham continued:

With Toshiba we have a one-stop shop, not only the hardware and consumables, but reassurance of an expert service team, should we experience a problem or issue.

Strengthening the relationship further

With the success of the implementation, South East Water are planning on rolling out the barcode sampling solution to other depots across our region for easier access, James Inglis concluded: “When we get to know a customer’s business, it is mutually beneficial for both parties. We can see what their key objectives are and help to implement solutions that improve overall business processes. By developing a partnership, we see it as a long-term relationship and are looking forward to continuing to work with South East Water in the future.”