Unfolding plans 170 – free from location

I thought the traffic was bad through the Team Valley but having travelled to Manchester yesterday I’m thinking I’ve been getting away with it lightly.  Lee and I were making our way to a Local Government Strategy Forum at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club just north of the city.  The drive down wasn’t bad, apart from the usual miles of roadworks through Yorkshire that is until we got close to the North’s biggest city.  Talk about a Northern Powerhouse!  It took us forty minutes to get the last few miles.  Fortunately we had given our selves an hour extra, just in case.  It seems that everywhere you go now you are going to get stuck.

I must admit that I have not been aware of this event.  I get so many invites I could go to one a week yet this one has passed me by.  Lee and I were going, however, as guests of Xerox who we had worked with on our multi-functional printing device project.  They were looking for some support and for us to tell our successful story.  They had asked me last year but I had declined and so this year I thought it would have been rude not to go.

Lee and I did a layer cake.  I went first to talk about some background to Durham, the usual stuff that I have covered many times.  I did say that the work we had done with Xerox on our approach to printing and document management fits in with the better technology and better process parts of our strategy.

Lee then came in to cover the project and how we came from a free for all position.  As he put it ‘Durham started where most people start with a strict policy on buying printers. If we bought a printer it had to have the letter between A to Z in the name and it was specified by the user. We also had a corporate MFD contract but that was based on how big a machine the sales director could convince the person to buy.’

He went on to describe the process of encouraging and persuading our colleagues that giving up their individual printers would be good for the organisation.  These were difficult conversations yet have led to a paper-light organisation with a third of the number of devices we used to have and a significant saving on the back of the project.

I then did a bit about how the project fits in with our New Ways of Working aspirations and how our work with Xerox has given us the ability to separate print from location just as our desktop tools are allowing us to separate our people from location.

Finally Lee left the audience with some lessons we had learned: Sometimes you need to do what is right and not want people want you to do: It only becomes reality when it happens to the individuals; Print is still be a key part of the business; We still have a long way to go in changing the way people print and; Always take a step back when your boss says he has a really interesting project for you that will get you known throughout the authority.

We got caught up in an accident on the M62 on the way back.

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