Konica Minolta SA and UJ dynamically shape the future

Konica Minolta South Africa, a Bidvest company, has successfully provided the University of Johannesburg (UJ) with sophisticated print services technology that can easily be adapted for future ICT requirements.

The agreement between Konica Minolta South Africa and UJ came into effect at the beginning of 2012 and included the provision of cashless printing facilities to more than 50,000 students and setting up printing and copier technology in bulk print rooms on all four of the UJ campuses: Auckland Park Kingsway, Auckland Park Bunting, Doornfontein and Soweto.

The company also replaced all existing multifunctional devices (MFDs) in academic and support areas, as well as copying and printing facilities in libraries and computer laboratories, which are available to its more than 8,000 staff members, students and visitors to the university’s campuses.

According to Professor Thea Voogt, printing facilities roll-out project leader at UJ, Konica Minolta South Africa has successfully provided managed print services that are flexible, innovative and act as an enabler to enhance the learning environment.

“Konica Minolta both appreciated and realised our need for a vendor partner who would not just place devices on our campuses, but one that would also focus on the intangible side of our academic environment, such as supporting us in being a pre-eminent South African and African university that is a step ahead in terms of offering technology opportunities to students, staff and visitors,” she says.

“Due to Konica Minolta South Africa’s innovative MFDs and software, UJ now has the right technology embedded in its current offering to easily access and integrate with a wide range of mobile device platforms, such as tablets, smartphones, e-readers and mobile applications in the future.”

This forward-thinking strategy was implemented to help students take better advantage of mobile computing in the future and “learn on the move”. Voogt explains: “In this way, Konica Minolta South Africa’s technology input can also be seen as adding value to the knowledge emanating from the campuses.”

“Since the tender was awarded, the Konica Minolta South Africa team has included a number of additional functionalities that the university has been able to harness,” she says.

A major benefit of using the same technology to service almost 60,000 clients on four different campuses is the solution’s ability to accurately calculate usage, and the Konica Minolta South Africa solution has, in its first six months, shown significant savings for the university.

According to Marc Pillay, general operations manager at Konica Minolta South Africa, UJ also required a solution that offered a common good for its students, staff and the environment, and so a detailed electricity usage and emissions report formed part of the tender process.

“A major focus area for Konica Minolta is minimising CO2 emissions and reducing power consumption. Luckily for the environment, the company’s bizhub MFDs use Simitri high definition polymerised toners for low temperature fixing, and are equipped with an advanced sleep mode and energy-saving technologies to significantly minimise energy consumption in the office,” he says.

“Our solution at UJ offers credible, monthly people- and electricity usage as well as emission reports, which are being used by individual departments in their financial planning and by the university in its reporting.”

Importantly though, comments Voogt, harnessing the strength of the solution is not just about the financial impact but the influence it is having on the community. “One of the facilities UJ offers the community are our law clinics and we have, for example, set up dedicated MFDs on our Soweto campus in the law clinic so that copies of documents can be made for the cases reported at the law clinic.”

“Of significance too is Konica Minolta South Africa’s client centric service approach, which has taken our needs as clients seriously. The extent to which top management was involved in the roll-out at our institution speaks to that,” she says.

At present, Konica Minolta South Africa has support staff on all four the campuses and also employs staff members within the university’s libraries who assist students and visitors during the libraries 07:00 to 23:00 operating hours.

To kick off the roll-out, Konica Minolta South Africa provided “how-to-guides”, which were placed on UJ’s intranet and prominently displayed posters for students’ reference to supplement the basic operation of its MFDs.

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Konica Minolta SA and UJ dynamically shape the future