Clemson University campus

Case Study: Clemson University

How Ricoh helped Clemson overhaul print and mail — and generate $2.5M in new revenue. 

About the customer

As one of the most selective public research universities in the U.S., Clemson is committed to world-class research and a high quality of life. They are ranked the 23rd best national public university by U.S. News & World Report, providing diverse opportunities for their 21,000 students in South Carolina, the U.S. and beyond. And more than 90 percent of senior students say they’d choose Clemson if they had to do it all again.

"Ricoh said they wanted us to print less and here’s how we’ll help you do it and you’ll save money."

Mike Nebesky

Procurement Director

Clemson University

The Challenge

  • Outdated mail services that didn’t meet 21st Century needs for fast, efficient delivery

  • Digital printing was frequently outsourced, with no fixed cost control

  • Inefficient, costly campus-wide print environment

  • Higher package volumes that increased pickup wait times

Clemson’s 50-year-old mail center hadn’t kept up with the times. Mail was sorted and delivered to university staff scattered throughout the campus. Students retrieved their mail and packages at 8,000 dedicated onsite mailboxes with combination and key locks. Clemson knew they needed to overhaul their mail services to keep up with the increased number of packages received from online shopping.

Additionally, there was no on-site commercial printing since Clemson had disbanded their on-site print shop years ago. Professors, staff and students were forced to outsource higher-end digital printing to commercial printers throughout the state without fixed cost controls.

Furthermore, rising costs and a lack of a single purchasing process put Clemson’s decentralized campus printing infrastructure in the spotlight. Each department purchased its printing equipment under a general framework set by the administration — resulting in an unknown number of devices throughout campus with varying model numbers. There was also little campus-wide tracking of print costs, volumes and usage. It was time to identify new revenue streams and reduce costs in all three areas — mail service, production print and the campus printing environment.


  • Over $500,000 in documented savings, more than $2.5 million in new revenue

  • New revenue offset nearly 90 percent of the print and mail services

  • Reduced package retrieval wait times from 40-plus minutes to just over one minute

  • Reduced the number of print device manufacturers

  • Increased efficiency, further reduced costs with business process improvements

Clemson’s mail, production print and campus-wide printing environments have undergone a complete transformation — while generating over $500,000 in documented savings and $2.5 million in revenue to offset almost 90 percent of the cost of print and mail services. Package wait times for students have dropped from 40-plus minutes to an average of just over a minute. Mail volume has diminished and package volume has surged — making 8,000 student mailboxes obsolete. In addition, plans are in the works to design and build a new, modernized, size-appropriate student post office.

Widespread savings have been achieved through the campus-wide printing program. Clicks and print volumes have declined, duplex and black-and-white default printing are on the rise, and less paper and energy are consumed. Initially, some employees were hesitant to embrace the new print environment. Ricoh overcame resistance through change management and ultimately helped everyone understand the benefits of migrating to lower cost print devices or just printing less.

Business process improvements across a wide range of administrative departments have further increased efficiency and reduced costs for Clemson. One solution includes automating the university’s accounts payable process. Now, all invoices sent by mail are received at the mail services location, where our team opens and quality checks each document, and then scans them to Ricoh’s Advanced Document Capture Services team for imaging. Once processed, the images are uploaded and assembled in e-procurement software for automatic processing and payment.

How We Did It

  • Implemented Ricoh’s Mail Services, Production Print Services and Managed Document Services

  • Took over the onsite student post office plus mail processing and distribution, added a print shop with modern print and online job submission technology

  • Assessed campus print environment, gauged number of printers/models in use, tracked volumes and costs

  • Phased out inefficient print devices, installed smaller, more energy-efficient MFPs

  • Managed all break/fix for the fleet as well as consumables

Ricoh proposed a broad plan encompassing three of our Managed Services to overhaul mail, production print and document services. To make print and mail services especially attractive, we devised a cost containment program and generated new revenue streams to offset our management fee as much as possible — to achieve a net zero cost for Clemson. To make the print infrastructure and managed document services more appealing, we implemented a trade-in incentive program to help them print less and save money — just the customer-centric approach Clemson wanted.

For mail services, we brought in eight full-time employees to run the student post office and handle all daily mail processing and delivery to campus staff. We implemented new electronic kiosks to reduce wait times for packages and made operating hours more convenient for students. We also implemented electronic notifications to alert students when they had mail or packages. No longer tied to the USPS, we were able to offer various payment methods and new “best way” shipping options to students. In addition, we allotted space in the mail center that allowed for digital production print technology — making it a one-stop destination for mail or print.

To bring visibility to the campus print environment, Ricoh assessed more than 3,000 printers on campus — with more than 450 different model numbers — and discovered the vast majority were non-networked devices. We tagged all devices with numerical identifiers and installed intelligent print management software to track usage by device and department. Clemson discovered they were producing more than 42 million prints per year and spending more than necessary on obsolete, unused toner. We installed smaller, more energy-efficient MFPs and single-function printers to save space and decrease overall print costs. Ricoh also assumed control of all break/fix on the entire fleet as well as consumables management and replenishment.

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