By establishing strategic partnerships with state agencies, neighboring municipalities and higher education institutions, Wright State has developed two revolutionary models of shared services that are structured to save taxpayers $800,000 a year through economization of print services and road-salt storage.
“This institution is taking the philosophy of shared services to an innovative next level,” said Mark M. Polatajko, vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer. “We’ve started with two landmark initiatives that enable us to drive value while maintaining focus on delivering service, quality and optimization of resources.”
Wright State faced rising costs across a print enterprise already reaching more than $4 million a year. Antiquated equipment and idle capacity contributed to high operating costs in its print production environment. In addition, a high employee-to-device ratio coupled with an excessive number of unique devices created a very costly office print function.
“This was a prime opportunity to develop a solution that would deliver on all of our key service needs,” said Polatajko.
Wright State reached out to nearby Central State University and Clark State Community College to form a printing services consortium that would increase buying power, leverage pricing and create efficiencies and economies of scale.
“We need to ensure that every dollar we spend generates the utmost value for our stakeholders,” Polatajko said.
The first step was to select an industry leader with a proven record of success. Following a rigorous stakeholder representative request for proposal process, Xerox emerged as the organization that could drive state-of-the art technology, service and financial performance and sustainability improvements on behalf of the consortium.
The new Print Services Consortium powered by Xerox began development and deployment of a two-pronged strategy.
First, a single, centralized printing site was established on Wright State’s campus, housing state-of-the-art Xerox equipment that could meet the print production needs of all three partners.
The next step was aimed at right-sizing the office print environment on all three campuses through optimization of employee-to-device ratio and standardization of equipment models.
“The Wright State print inventory had crept up to one device for every employee comprised of over 700 unique makes and models – each of which required unique toner cartridges and maintenance upkeep,” said Polatajko. “We were missing a real opportunity to leverage spending and improve service responsiveness.”
The realignment toward industry efficiency standards is expected to reduce annual costs by as much as 30 percent while providing improved functionality to users and decreasing Wright State’s print-related carbon footprint by as much as 77 percent.
Wright State turned yet another challenge into a partnership while evaluating the need to both relocate and expand capacity of the university salt storage facility.
A harsh winter season highlighted the limitations of Wright State’s current salt storage capacity of 500 tons. Efforts to err on the side of safety and preparedness through bulk purchase and off-campus storage resulted in stiff carrying costs and added man hours dedicated to managing the process. Scarce availability of road salt translated into escalating costs during high demand periods, further driving the need to search for innovative solutions.
As Wright State grappled with these issues, it was concurrently evaluating options for relocating its salt storage and grounds facilities within a lean capital project budget of $750,000.
“Exploring a shared service model emerged as an exciting opportunity to generate benefits not only on our Dayton Campus, but also in our surrounding communities,” said Polatajko.
Wright State developed a plan in partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the nearby municipalities of Beavercreek and Fairborn to centrally locate a high-capacity shared salt storage facility on Wright State’s campus that would serve all partners with the potential addition of Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
This collaboration will result in a nearly two-acre storage site housing a 3,000-ton capacity salt dome as well as Wright State’s grounds maintenance equipment.
With nearly $1 million in state capital funding and contributions of $650,000 from ODOT, the project now boasts an expanded budget of $2.4 million without additional capital outlay from the university.
“This unique partnership will meet all of our specific needs in terms of strategic supply management and operations,” Polatajko said. “The Ohio Department of Transportation’s priority status for pricing and acquisition will translate into savings and enhanced safety for Wright State and the surrounding communities.”
The economic gain from efficiencies and contributed capital over a 30-year period is about $100,000 a year, or $3 million.
Wright State will be a candidate in University Business magazine’s 2014 Models of Efficiency Awards for the most innovative, effective and successful business and technological solutions by colleges and universities.
“It’s really about capitalizing on initiatives with an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit,” Polatajko said. “When an opportunity presents itself, you have to look more broadly at the possibilities. It’s pushing the boundaries beyond the status quo.”