GraysOnline (Grays) is an Australian online retail and auction company, offering a wide range of consumer, industrial and commercial goods, direct from manufacturers and distributors.
Grays employ more than 450 people throughout Australia and New Zealand, across their network of warehouses, distribution centres and offices.
GraysOnline sell more than 120,000 items every month to consumers and businesses.
In 2012, Grays went to market, looking to update their entire print fleet. Paramjit Dhillon, IT Operations Support Manager at GraysOnline, said that they knew there were new features and functionality available in printers and multifunction devices (MFD’s), and that there were more competitive pricing structures in the market.
“We had not entirely reviewed our print and document management systems for many years,” said Paramjit. “What we were paying for our previous solution wasn’t competitive. We wanted to be able to better monitor our device usage across all sites, have a greater control over costs and have newer features like secure printing available”.
Grays also have very specific requirements for their invoice printing which made them nervous about the possibility of changing service providers. Traditional auctions are a large part of Grays’ business and there are a lot of features, in terms of customer information, on their invoices. Invoices are printed through an internal management system and, in the past, could be printed on devices loaded with the appropriate form printing software.
“We have key requirements with our invoice printing and we had a solution in place with our previous provider. It was really critical for us to make the new solution compatible with our invoice printing format,” said Paramjit.
Grays underwent a three month process to internally assess their own needs and then go to market in a tender process to find the most suitable vendor. Several service providers, including Toshiba, submitted tender responses for consideration.
Toshiba offered Grays a complete Managed Print Service (MPS) solution that included 66 new devices, including 37 Toshiba MFD’s and 29 Lexmark printers, and multiple software platforms to allow for needed functionality.
Toshiba incorporated expense management software to help Grays reduce paper wastage and support their need for secure printing of confidential documents, through a pull print solution which releases print jobs at any device.
“We really wanted to think outside the box for Grays, particularly when it came to their invoice printing needs,” said David Prakash, the Toshiba Account Manager who takes care of Grays.
The original solution was limited in functionality, as it was confined to individual devices and essentially locked them into their previous provider.
“If we ever needed to swap or renew a particular device which had the invoice printing functionality, our service provider had to come and load the functionality onto the new device,” said Paramjit.
David and the team at Toshiba worked to find a solution whereby invoice form printing software could be loaded onto Grays’ servers, rather than individual devices.
“Toshiba’s approach utilises software on our server which means that now our invoices can be printed on any device on our network. It is flexible and allows us to redirect invoice printing to any of our departments, as required,” said Paramjit.
“The solution also meant that we didn’t need to make any changes to our internal application management system and this was a key benefit,” continued Paramjit.
Despite this, Grays were still apprehensive about signing up with Toshiba, having had no previous experience with their hardware, service and support. They were also sceptical that the invoice printing solution would work.
To tackle this, Toshiba Professional Services Team offered them a mutually agreed trial period with their devices, software solutions and an in-house support team.
“We wanted to do what we could to give Grays confidence that we could deliver what we promised, before they signed on the dotted line,” said David.
“The fact that they were willing to let us trial their solution really sealed the deal. They proved to be very professional, flexible and helpful throughout the trial process and this filled us with assurance,” said Paramjit.
Toshiba Professional Services worked closely with the IT team at Grays to implement the new solution and install the equipment over a one month period.
Sessions were held with staff prior to replacing the devices, to give an overview of the transition and the new functionality that was going to be available. Training and support was also given to familiarise staff with the new equipment. Grays were pleasantly surprised by how smooth the implementation process went.
“It was a very busy time for us and we did expect that there was going to be disruption,” said Paramjit.
“However, I think the way that Toshiba handled the project was excellent. From a user point of view, there were no issues with the change. The whole thing came off without any hiccups.”
Grays have seen a number of benefits through their MPS solution, not least of which is a reduction in costs. MPS provides a fixed monthly cost that covers every aspect of running the print fleet.
“I think cost reduction is definitely a major advantage of the new solution,” said Paramjit. “We have made considerable savings with the new solution, when we look at the previous year’s expenditure.”
Grays are also pleased with the added functionality gained through the solution. Grays staff are now able to use the pull printing function for added confidentiality and management now have a good picture of device usage across the company.
“Our old system did not provide comprehensive device usage reporting and it is something we really wanted to have when looking for a new solution. We now use Toshiba Audit and it gives a complete picture of utilisation across our fleet. With this information, we are able to move printers and MFD’s around as needed, and it helps with our IT administrative functions,” said Paramjit.'
The invoice printing solution has provided greater flexibility and gives Grays the peace of mind that they are not restricted to Toshiba devices into the future.
“Our invoices take on a very specific format and function and it was critical to our business that the MPS solution supported our invoicing format. We have been pleasantly surprised by Toshiba’s professionalism, flexibility and willingness to look outside the box,” said Paramjit.
Ultimately, Grays are satisfied with the quality of the product and the ongoing support provided.
“Toshiba provide a one-stop-shop when it comes to service and support, which makes it simple for staff and management if issues should arise. We have been with Toshiba for nine months now and have had no issues with any of the equipment to date,” said Paramjit.
As part of all MPS arrangements, Toshiba conduct periodic reviews with clients and Grays are no exception. Reviews allow both parties to reflect on the outcomes of the solution and look for ways that it can be made even more effective. Reviews with Grays have allowed for additional machines to be incorporated, in order to accommodate expansion.
“The reviews proved to us that Toshiba were committed to providing us with a good relationship in terms of ongoing support,” said Paramjit.
Grays are confident in Toshiba’s ability to continue to provide solutions into the future.
“We are very satisfied with the way Toshiba have handled things. From day one, the way they allowed us to trial the solution, the project management of the implementation and the ongoing support is excellent. Our Toshiba Account Manager, David Prakash, has been extremely helpful and always with a willing and flexible attitude. The way the whole project has been managed is quite brilliant,” concluded Paramjit.
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