Who are Thrings Solicitors?
Paper documents are the backbone of every legal firm. However the industry is under growing pressure to revaluate its use of hard copy documents and embrace modern ways of working.
Thrings is a forward-thinking firm of solicitors with offices across the south of England; 341 employees occupy over 60,000 square feet of office space. As well as seeking to streamline and optimise business practices, Thrings is committed to continually improving environmental performance, reducing waste and energy use, and supporting a sustainable approach to future business activities, procurement and office environments. A key part of this is reducing printing and copying, but with an ageing and unreliable fleet of printers and copiers, it is impossible to make a significant difference.
Replace an old fleet with modern equipment – but without spending more
Thrings had a fleet of 92 Ricoh copiers and printers, some of which were over 12 years old. Devices were being pushed hard to produce 2million prints per quarter by the 70+ secretarial team and, due to the age and functionality of the machines, breakdowns were frustratingly common. So was queuing for a copier, spending up to an hour a day sorting through reams of paper to find individual prints, and having to shred large quantities of uncollected prints at the end of each day.
Working practices are changing in legal firms, one example being the move to scan larger volumes of documents and case notes. But for Thrings, this was still a labour intensive process. Manually scanned files were loaded into a scan folder on the server and then individually accessed and emailed as required. But files are space hungry, thereby forcing IT to have to clear out the folder every month, or physically move files to the relevant place on the Lawman practice management system. It was taking too much time.
Chris Harding, Thrings’ Director of IT and Facilities summarises what the firm was looking for:
“We wanted a more modern solution to replace our fleet of 92 machines that was energy efficient, gave us more functionality and brought us up-to-date. The challenge was to replace the old fleet on a lease basis for similar costs. Follow me printing was an important part, plus connectors to scan directly into our practice management system.”
Having recommended HP A4 mono multi-functional devices (MFDs) and Xerox A3 colour MFDs, resolved the integration challenges arising with the practice management system, and selected Equitrac ‘follow-me’ print software, we were asked to set up a proof of concept stage at Swindon. The two busiest areas of the firm from a printing and copying perspective, the post room and the personal injury department, then set about putting the kit through its paces.
Far more efficient, more secure, reliable and popular with staff
All Thrings printers and copiers were replaced by a smaller, more streamlined fleet of the latest HP and Xerox MFDs with built-in scanning capability. Equitrac software has improved document security and all but eliminated wastage as staff now swipe their security fob to activate their prints at any device when they need them. For staff travelling between Thrings offices, this has been a revelation – they no longer have to carry large amounts of paper with them as they can simply print when they arrive.
The MFD fleet is also cleverly linked to the Lawman practice management system using GDAC connectors. Ecopy Sharescan software makes it possible for staff to simply take a document to a device, select a destination, and then scan and feed it directly to the relevant place on the system. It’s a streamlined, fully automated process that saves time and effort for everyone, whether they want to scan to email, share documents or simply store them.
With the right tools in place to work more efficiently and address the company’s environmental goals, Thrings can now make some headway. Printer and copier use and operational working practices are regularly reviewed against the aim of significantly reducing the need to print or copy and the results so far are encouraging. Chris Harding explains:
“Follow me printing has been very well-received. Before that, the secretarial teams were always picking up other people’s jobs and spending up to an hour a day sorting out prints for each other. We’ve got more than 70 staff in the secretarial team so that’s a lot of hours saved. There’s less waste too – roughly a ream of paper per day per office in uncollected prints used to be shredded, which no longer happens.”
“We also have contracted print volumes and are only billed for excess which is far less admin for us. And we have much more detailed reporting than ever before so we can see who is using machines and we can recharge prints to clients which is something we could not do accurately in the past.”
“As an IT team, printers and copiers were the bane of our life! But I think the true test of a sale is the after sales service. What is it like for users and what happens when things go wrong? We’ve had very few issues but we’ve seen quick reactions and great communication and that’s the key to success going forward. We are fussy on service but based on everything we’ve seen we’d certainly recommend DigitalTeam.”
Director of IT and Facilities, Thrings Solicitors