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Case Studies
Seattle Pacific University Upgrades its Business Systems

Seattle Pacific University Upgrades its Business Systems

Seattle Pacific University’s existing range of standalone copiers, printers and fax machines were not meeting the needs of its growing population of users. After an overhaul of its printing fleet, students, faculty and staff now have an easyto-use, robust multifunctional printing environment that has increased efficiencies at a lower cost.

Seattle Pacific University’s existing range of standalone copiers, printers and fax machines were not meeting the needs of its growing population of users. After an overhaul of its printing fleet, students, faculty and staff now have an easyto-use, robust multifunctional printing environment that has increased efficiencies at a lower cost.


Business Environment Challenges

Located in a quiet residential neighborhood, Seattle Pacific University’s (SPU) 40-acre campus borders the Lake Washington Ship Canal and boasts majestic trees, open lawns, beautiful gardens and views of Mt. Rainier. SPU is a private institution that employs approximately 700 faculty and staff to provide its 4,300 plus undergraduate and graduate students with a well-rounded education rooted in its 125 year history

When it came to printing technology, however, the university needed to make some upgrades. There were many different copiers, fax machines and network printers deployed at the university, including personal inkjet devices. Despite this, students were only able to print to the printers in the university library. Additionally, there was a large disparity between the cost of color and black and white copies. With a print volume of about five million pages per year, this was significant concern. 

Because of these challenges, students and faculty alike were regularly going off campus to print for pay locations surrounding the university. Faculty, in particular, would have to email jobs to the admin staff on the first floor of their building and pick up the copies as they were rushing off to class. Nobody was able to print from any mobile devices. There was the added issue of security. Any exams or confidential documents printed by faculty or staff could not be printed on remote devices because there was no secure print release feature.

The university knew it needed to do something about its printing situation. Not only did it want to merge its various copiers, printers and fax machines into one, but it needed to implement a print management system in order to help keep down printing costs and improve the productivity of its faculty, administrators and students.

“We wanted equipment that could do black and white, plus color, plus print doublesided and fully scan and fax all at the same time,” says Dave Tindall, Associate Vice President of Technology Services, Seattle Pacific University. “We also needed a billing strategy that would be easy and consistent for faculty, staff members and students alike.”


Business Technology Solutions

SPU hired Seattle-based Copiers Northwest to provide the university with its business technology solutions. To help integrate the copying, printing and faxing feature, Copiers Northwest installed 85 color Sharp MFPs comprising of the Sharp 26–36 ppm models at strategic locations in each building throughout the campus.

Payments for laundry, food and vending machines using ID cards were a part of everyday life at SPU. Integrating PaperCut MF for billing of print and copy was a seamless addition to this proven method for the 6,000 staff, faculty and students. PaperCut MF™ is a cost effective, vendor neutral, print management and bill back solution that tracks printing, scanning, faxing and copying. It also allows secure printing to any network printer from any system including mobile devices. With these features, students are able to print anywhere from any device using one card for all of their university needs, including printing.

The Sharp MFPs were chosen because the devices’ digital tablet-like control panel provided an interface intuitive for students and faculty used to using tablet devices. The pullout keyboard on the MFP, the small footprint of the units and the output quality were additional features that resonated well with SPU staff. The Sharp MFP’s OSA™ platform provided easy integration with PaperCut MF and SPU’s existing CBORD® software and Banner® database. Additionally, Sharp’s “My Folder Connector” application allowed the users to scan documents directly to their home folder or secured network folders.


Proven Results

Installation and training took place prior to the summer break and additional training occurred a couple of weeks prior to the start of the fall semester, so that faculty and staff were ready to use the new business systems by the start of the new school year. Because of the intuitive user interface of the Sharp MFPs, most students found that they did not need to be trained on the new devices thanks to the familiar tablet-like display system.

Students, faculty and staff are now able to print to Sharp MFPs from any system or mobile device in any of the university buildings, including the dormitories. Additionally, students can use their student cards to pay for printing. PaperCut MF reports are extensively used to bill various departments and monitor usage of all the printers and copiers in the facility. The university allocates approximately $5 per quarter, per student, for printing costs on the card. With the Sharp MFPs, the average cost of printing is down to 4 cents per page for black and white and 8 cents for color, so students are finding that they are able to print more for much less and sometimes have funds left over for other services. Moreover, when a student runs out of printing funds, the PaperCut CBORD gateway transfers funds directly into the student’s account.

Because devices are more centrally located on campus, faculty are regularly using MFPs to print classroom materials. Additionally, faculty and staff are using PaperCut MF’s secure print feature to send documents to an MFP and release those documents when they are standing at the device. The users can also cancel their print jobs directly at the MFP. This has greatly minimized paper and toner wastage, increased document security, and made handing in assignments easier for the students and faculty.

“Students will be at their resident room in the middle of the night and submit a print job,” says Eric Deister, Director of Technology Support Service, Seattle Pacific University. “They may then show up to class the next day, scan their card at the printer in the hallway before they walk into the classroom, print and turn in their assignment. They love the fact that they don’t have to worry about whether the printer in their room has a toner or not. This has been a big hit!”

Because of the MFPs’ small footprint, various departmental areas were able to get a bit more space while at the same time getting a printer that could perform all of the printing, faxing and copying functions that were needed. In particular, the ability scan a file and send it directly to the user’s desktop has been a popular feature as well.

Additionally, less jobs are being printed off campus now than ever before.

“A lot of the higher end, larger jobs that were sent to be printed off campus have decreased significantly,” says Dave. “With the Sharp MFP and PaperCut MF integration, people have brought more jobs back onto campus because it is more convenient and the quality is what they are looking for.”

“They love the fact that they don’t have to worry about whether the printer in their room has a toner or not. This has been a big hit!”

Eric Deister, Director of Technology Support Services, Seattle Pacific University


Case Study, Education


Seattle Pacific University


  • Students were only able to print to the university library
  • Faculty did not have direct access to printers
  • Printing was not able to be done through mobile devices
  • The university needed equipment that could print color, doublesided, scan and fax at the same time
  • Students were paying much more for color than for black and white copies 
  • A new billing strategy was needed that could include the university’s existing card reader system


  • Copiers Northwest installed 85 new color Sharp MFPs, ranging from 26–36 ppms at strategic locations throughout the campus
  • Secured “Find Me” printing and Scan to Me with PaperCut MF™ licenses for 6000 users and 85 Sharp MFPs with CBORD integration
  • Installed Sharp’s “My Folder Connector” app to allow for scanning directly to home or network folders


  • Increased productivity for staff, faculty and students using easily accessible on-site MFPs 
  • Printing is now available from mobile devices 
  • Increased end user functionality including centralized payments using the existing debit card system and secure printing 
  • Significant reduction in printing costs 
  • More streamlined scanning