Case Study: we are aspire

July 29, 2021

we are aspire implements Toshiba Managed Print Services for agile working strategy

As a community anchor organisation, we are aspire blends commercial expertise with social purpose and revitalises communities by providing homes, training, employment, and support. The Newcastle-under-Lyme group, which comprises 9,000-home housing association Aspire Housing, leading apprenticeship provider Achieve Training and group charity Realise, employs more than 470 local people and delivers support and services in communities across Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Adapting for flexible and agile working

As a forward-thinking company, we are aspire could see that its existing print infrastructure was inefficient, costly and lacked the flexibility to implement a change in culture to move to a more agile way of working. Glen Manby IT Technical Analyst at we are aspire commented on the new strategy: “A long time before hybrid working became the new normal across organisations we could see that we needed to make some changes internally, our print costs were extremely high, we had no visibility from a reporting aspect and our existing structure was just not adaptable to a new way of working.”

Adopting a due diligence approach, we are aspire went to tender for its printing requirements and, as a member of Procurement for Housing framework, it had the assurance of a range of suppliers that have been scored on a number of key factors, including value for money, reliability, functionality and sustainability. Glen Manby commented on the process: “We wanted to look for a supplier that would offer support and engagement throughout our contract and make recommendations to help us improve the print infrastructure within our business. We were very keen that we would want to develop a partnership approach with any future contract. What impressed us most about Toshiba was that they took the time to fully audit the business, and made the effort to gain a deeper understanding of our business needs moving forward, I felt they shared the same values and end-goal.”

Creating a change in culture

As a result of this level of engagement, Toshiba were awarded the contract and Toshiba’s specialist team of Business Analysts carried out detailed site audits across 7 sites. Their requirements-gathering exercise yielded a Managed Print Service solution that would reduce the number of printers across we are aspire’s 7 sites, from 43 to 7, creating strategic print hub locations throughout the business, for staff to access as and when required, each with the same easy to use user interface. Printing could be done remotely through staff members own devices, and actioned via any of the hubs using their security card. This would enable the offices to be fully re-structured for agile and flexible open plan working with meeting rooms and hot desk spaces and the management team would have access to a full suite of reports for visibility and control to create a change in behaviour and culture towards printed materials.

Gaining visibility and control

Stephanie Smith, Account Manager at Toshiba commented on the installation: “Our approach with any customer, is to really understand their business and the make recommendations based in addressing their pain points, we like to review each site and see how the devices are being used. For we are aspire it was clear that they needed greater control on their print costs and a solution that would enable staff to have a more flexible working arrangement to improve overall efficiency.”

The Toshiba team worked closely with Glen and his team to manage the installation process, with regular reviews and updates, removing any element of risk in the process, developing a true partnership.

Having used the new MFP’s for 9 month now we are aspire can see the benefits. Glen commented on the improvements: “With 1.2 million pieces of paper printed every year, the business can now fully see how the MFP’s are used across the estate. We have access to a multitude of reports, for example, by department or area; high-users; cancelled jobs, this is critical management information to help us tackle any issues with education and training, or simply helping to see if we need to be creating print rules on devices. It has also simplified our cross-divisional invoicing process as we now know exactly what each department is printing, by volume. But most importantly it has changed the culture within the organisation, as people are thinking more about wastage, and the impact that is having on the environment, “do I really need to print this”? We anticipate that we should now be able to reduce our annual print costs from £90k per year to £30K, an absolutely staggering saving.”

The choice of product recommended by Toshiba, the e-STUDIO400AC series, has the printing capacity to meet the current demands of the business, now and into the future, it is compact and flexible for either desk space or free standing, it allows we are aspire flexibility for changing future printing requirements.

Glen concluded on the project: “We couldn’t be happier with our choice of partner in Toshiba, they have transformed printing within our business. We now have full visibility and control, agile and flexible working and the potential to make savings and educate and train to change behaviour amongst our staff. We are looking forward to our ongoing engagement with the Toshiba team.”