The Driving Force behind a Colourful Partnership
What do The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, in Thatcham, and Elmdale Maintenance Ltd, in Aldermaston, have in common? Apart from being situated less than 10 miles from each other both of these companies share a similar work and customer focus ethic and have built up an enviable working partnership over the past 7 years.
Elmdale Maintenance is Olivetti’s Elite dealer for Berkshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, and have been providing high performance business print and IT solutions, telecoms and document management systems to companies and organisations in the area since 1990. Elmdale pride themselves on their customer service and are recognised for their service delivery. The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, better known as Thatcham, is a non-profit making organisation, with around 185 staff, whose main aim is to carry out research targeted at containing or reducing the cost of motor insurance claims, whilst maintaining safety and quality standards.
Thatcham is best known by motorists for testing vehicle security systems and for their work in testing seats for whiplash prevention. Less well known is the fact that they provide some 70% of the data that insurers use to define a car’s insurance grouping. They also test and accredit crash repair parts and vehicle repair technicians, and, as EU legislation becomes more stringent and car technology becomes more sophisticated, Thatcham really needed to make sure their own systems could cope with requirements for training of garage repair technicians, and apprentices, and handle increasing numbers of safety and insurance tests under new rulings.
Elmdale first became involved with supplying Thatcham when the organisation was looking to streamline their printing and copying systems. According to David Maskell, Thatcham’s IT Manager, prior to the systems they have in place now, things were very different.
“At the time, we had 2 suppliers and somewhere in the region of 20 to 30 different types of devices. Almost everyone had a printer on their desk so the system was becoming impossible to manage.” It was after their efficiency review that Thatcham made Elmdale their chosen supplier.
The IT department is responsible for the management of all systems costs so it was vital to bring everything into line. David Leno, Sales Manager at Elmdale Maintenance explained that the decision-makers at Thatcham knew exactly what they wanted to achieve.
“Thatcham had a well prepared wish-list: cost effective and reliable multi-functionality. They wanted to simplify their printing and copying systems, introduce scan-to-email and replace their mono machines with colour solutions. Elmdale is Olivetti’s nominated “Best for Colour” Dealer in the region, so this was the perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate to Thatcham that we could fulfil their requirements. Over time, we have been able to further demonstrate cost and efficiency savings to them, whilst also maintaining a strong working relationship that suits both parties“.
“The proposal to install 8 Olivetti models from their d-Color MF range into Thatcham was accepted by all members of the board and installed within 2 months of our initial meeting. There was a slight resistance to the change, by some of their staff, as they were moving from individual desktop printers to a single work-group multifunctional printer. But after a series of comprehensive training sessions from us people soon began to realise that these machines would be more beneficial”.
As David Maskell from Thatcham explained; “The machines are quick, produce good quality and offer our staff a wealth of really useful features to make their jobs much easier. They are more manageable and more reliable than our previous equipment.”
From a management point of view he also said; “We are able to see which machines are using more consumables than others, and this allows us to manage our toner and imaging unit stocks effectively, and, in some cases, we are able to re-position machines in areas that suit them, and the staff, better. It is far more cost-effective for us now and it’s costing us less in both time and money to keep the equipment maintained”.
What is more is that these models allow greater flexibility, through the centralised print queue system, to enable staff to print from their desktop PC and collect the prints from any machine in the company. Staff can access their prints by using a PIN code which increases confidentially and allows personnel to print out documents when they’re ready, or, if it’s a large document, print it later in the day when the machines are not so busy.
Where the machines have made a huge impact is in The Training Academy, which had traditionally out-sourced their manuals and course documents, at great expense. Bringing the task in-house saved costs, time and effort. There are around 30 staff working in the Academy, a mixture of training staff and administrators, and it has been possible to install just 2 machines in that area, both 45 ppm Olivetti d-Color MF451 systems, to cover all their printing requirements.
As well as being very happy with the equipment that is now in place, David Maskell highlighted some key points as to why their partnership with Elmdale has been so successful; “What I have found particularly beneficial about working with Elmdale is that the communication is good between us. We regularly discuss ideas for improving and managing our systems, which gives us complete confidence. Admittedly, the machines tend to run themselves, and we can manage changing our own consumables, but their support is very good and their technicians are very knowledgeable. The equipment they have supplied fits our requirements very well and has provided us greater functionality, cost effectiveness and reliability.”