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The challenge

  • Reducing costs, increasing efficiency and improving printer performance for Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, which had a patchwork of 700 ageing and poorly-deployed printers.

The solution

  • Carrying out a full print audit, followed by implementation of a streamlined fleet of 300 printers.
  • Implementing a managed print service where Brother takes on all management, maintenance and consumables-ordering responsibilities.

The results

  • £100,000 saved across the trust over the past three years.
  • Per-year cost savings increased by £50,000 since 2018 by introduction of ultra-high capacity toner cartridges.
  • Sustained reduction of overall print volumes.
  • 99.9% uptime across all printers, with all maintenance requests responded to within four hours.


Download your copy of the Dartford and Gravesham case study

Meeting the complex print needs of a multi-site healthcare trust

Significant long-term savings

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust manages three hospitals and a nursing unit in Kent. With around 3,500 staff across four sites and a full range of acute services including A&E and maternity, the trust relies heavily on printed documents for record keeping and communication.

The trust was managing its printing in-house but was having significant issues with reliability and quality of printing, as well as using a large volume of consumables and experiencing high maintenance costs.

In 2013, the trust appointed Brother to operate its first managed print service, and the relationship has grown and evolved ever since, now operating across all three of its sites.

As a result, the trust has saved more than £200,000, and the printers have achieved 99.9% uptime throughout the relationship, freeing up vital staff time, particularly in critical departments including accident and emergency (A&E).

The right diagnosis

Using a fleet of printers that’s well aligned with the requirements of every team across an organisation is essential in delivering an efficient print function.

Working closely with the trust, Brother carried out a comprehensive audit of the print requirements of every department in the three hospital buildings. This revealed that the legacy fleet of 700 printers was very poorly aligned with its needs. Many units were used only by single individuals and received very light use, while others were struggling under the weight of very busy departments.

For example, the A&E departments were identified as the heaviest print users, explaining why they also saw the highest occurrence of printer failure – something that the IT department had wrongly assumed was due to misuse by staff.

Ensuring alignment

Based on the audit, Brother specified a streamlined fleet of printers that aligned closely with each department’s needs. More units were installed in departments where print volumes were highest, while users with lower print needs were asked to share units.

The scheme also ensured that colour printers were only used where there was a technical requirement, such as departments where scans need to be viewed in colour to be understood by physicians, helping to keep costs down.

“We’ve cut costs, freed up a lot of staff time, reduced the amount of waste paper we generate and improved the quality of printing across the board.”

Neil Perry, associate director of digital transformation at Darford and Gravesham NHS Trust

A visible improvement

A key benefit of the MPS agreement is that the trust now has full visibility of how its printers are used, and how they are performing.

This means that any pain points where printers are exceeding their recommended usage level, or any cases where printers are being under-used, can be addressed to ensure on-going efficiency.

Continuous progress

This ethos of working in partnership to deliver continuous improvement has helped the trust improve the performance of its print function year-on-year.

The biggest change came in 2018 with the introduction of newly launched ultra high yield toner cartridges which can print up to 20,000 pages before needing to be replaced. This has delivered a significant reduction in per-page print cost and further improved the fleet’s already impressive uptime record.

In good health

Unexpected failure of heavily used printers has been minimised. Well-used printers are now rotated to lighter-duty application to maximise their lifespan. When replacement consumables are due, these are delivered in manageable batches to make installation of replacements quick and easy for the customer.

As a result, since the agreement began, reliability and quality of printing have both significantly increased while the yearly print cost has fallen by over £100,000
per year. These improvements have been sustained throughout the contract.

“The cost reductions the MPS agreement has achieved over recent years, although significant, are only part of the story – we’ve freed up a lot of staff time, cut the amount of waste paper we generate and improved the quality of printing across the board.

“The savings we have achieved are impressive, especially given we are a relatively small trust. Looking across the health service as a whole, this kind of hardware standardisation and thoughtful capacity management has the potential to make a big positive difference.”

Neil Perry, associate director of digital transformation at Darford and Gravesham NHS Trust

To find out more about Brother’s solutions for healthcare, visit the healthcare hub.