Client name . Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Sector . Public sector
Summary comment . Simon Adamson, Information Systems Design and Print Team Leader
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
"FileMaker lets us look at a granular level at our costs. This visibility helps us be as efficient as possible, which saves the council and, most importantly the taxpayer, real money."
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
FileMaker Helps Cut Council Costs
The Basingstoke Council Information Systems Design and Print Department produces a vast amount of printed material to support the operations of the Council, everything from internal documents to vehicle signage to public facing documents and household mailers. A 100 percent digital operation, the department produces more than 4-million pages of monochromatic work per year, in excess of 1-million colour pages and somewhere in the order of 1,000 square metres of wide format display printing annually. It also provides high volume mailing services.
As a branch of a local government, the print department is, like all areas of the public sector, hugely focused on cutting costs and delivering more service for less money. Key to this is keeping as much print work in-house as possible. With staff and equipment infrastructure costs fixed, the goal is to maximise use of internal resources and minimise the level of outsourcing. As well, there is a clear need to find creative ways to reduce the cost per project.
As a "holding account" the print department is the Council's primary point-of-control for print work. Which means that every job must be accurately costed. The department had previously laboured under a primarily manual system but needed something faster, automated and more accurate. They had experimented with an off-the-shelf management information system but, after 18 months of trying, it had proved to be unwieldy, complex and inflexible. The department turned to FileMaker developer partner TimeHarvest for a bespoke solution called DigiQuote and JobControl.
- One-time profiling of all print resources produces an hourly rate per machine. This information, combined with material costs, means that job quotations can be generated in mere minutes.
- With client information stored on the database, a PDF job quote can be automatically generated and emailed with just a few clicks.
- Top-down visibility into resource use and action items shows what printing resources are in use, free or about to become available.
- The combination of rapid quotations and visibility into resources makes it easy to direct projects in order to maximise use of assets.
- All jobs are stored on the system and can be re-accessed and updated in cases of re-orders.
- FileMaker solution stores all cost codes (the public sector equivalent of a purchase order) on the system. Cost codes can be easily applied against an ongoing job, thereby eliminating the need to chase customers for codes.
- JobControl attaches key dates to all aspects of a project. These dates are included in any quotation. As each job progresses, the team is offered clear visibility into how well or how poorly the project is meeting its agreed timelines.
- Reports can be generated showing what types and quantities of print work have been requested by and produced for which business units over a given period of time. This data can then be used by the council in establishing annual budgets and identifying areas of potential savings.
- Entire system is run as software-as-a-service and hosted at a remote data centre, minimising the cost and complexity of support and maintenance.
- Future plans include a scheme to incorporate materials wastage statistics into each resource profile or at a per job level then apply this as a percentage to future job quotes.