22 April 2009

New printers for Harlow

The idea: A comprehensive review of Reprographics and Printing identified a possibility for savings through the rationalisation and extension of the current Civic arrangement for the lease of copying equipment. The intention was to make best use of an existing Framework agreement with the current majority supplier for this type of equipment. This presented the opportunity to upgrade current machines that are over 2 years old, to achieve savings on current leasing costs and costs per copy. The justification for a 60 month as opposed to a 48 month term was that the savings that the council could obtain with the former were significantly higher. An added benefit is the standardisation of the supply process for this type of equipment across all Council Service areas, whilst providing the most flexible, up to date and functional solution for the business.

The results: The proposal was to upgrade current machines aged over 2 years and to change the existing contract for Civic Multifunctional Devices (MFDs) with Contractor A. to a 60 week (5 year term) term via the OGC Framework for the Civic MFDs. Machines currently owned or leased by outlying Services will be obtained via the 5 year framework agreement as and when required making a minimum annual saving of £3,903.12

Leadership: Project sponsored at Head of Service level as a corporate initiative with support from Finance Director. The contract was approved following a joint decision of the Procurement Manager, S151 Officer, Monitoring Officer and Strategic Director in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of Policy and Resources Committee.

Learning: The majority of the machines in the Civic Centre were leased from Contractor A. on a three year term that commenced on 22/12/2006. All of these machines were modern MFDs i.e. act as a photocopier, a networked printer for each floor for documents over 5 pages, and as a scanner and fax machine. This lease contract was originally negotiated to bring the maximum benefit available at the time: the contract includes call out for faults within 8 hours. All consumables except for paper were included in the contract: this includes toners, staples parts and labour.

A major benefit of networked MFDs is that large volume printing can be routed to these, rather than to desktop printers, thus reducing the cost per copy of printing. In addition they remove the need for separate fax and scanning equipment.

A number of other machines are owned or leased by Services via several different contractors. The majority of outlying copiers cannot be networked and do not have additional functions.

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) now offer a compliant Framework agreement RM450 with Contractor A. Under this arrangement, Contractor A could offer 3, 4, 5 year terms as standard pricing.

OGC is also able to offer a number of similar Framework arrangements via other contractors. As part of due diligence an investigation was carried out with Contractor B. at the beginning of the project to ensure that:

a. The functionality of the machines being offered by Contractor A. was functional and suitable for Harlow Council’s requirements

b. That pricing and savings were similar

It was found that the contracts, terms and equipment offered by both Contractors A and B through the OGC Framework were comparable.

The Facilities department confirmed that the machines from Contractor A. were the most suitable on the market when obtained, had proved reliable and the call out arrangement had been satisfactory. Due to the termination penalties on the current contract with Contractor A. it would not be cost effective to terminate and seek another supplier. In addition the Council already owned the ICT software and drivers for these machines and so to continue with the same or similar models was the most cost effective option.

For these reasons it was decided to approach Contractor A. to request proposals that would enable the Council to take advantage of the OGC savings two years earlier than would otherwise be possible.

Contractor A. offered to upgrade existing Civic MFDs aged over two years old in exchange for changing the current lease agreement to a 5 year contract via the OGC Framework agreement.

Thanks to Harlow Council for this example.

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