Operating a successful NFL franchise is a running game. Monday through Saturday during football season, hundreds of people from the corporate office to the field are in perpetual motion to make sure everything plays out just the way it should on game day.
Information is central to making sure no one fumbles. Coaches need reports and other documents quickly for meetings with players and staff so they can plot their path to victory. Fans, ticket holders and corporate sponsors expect the information they receive or see in the public domain to have a high-end look and feel. The press covering games want information like stat sheets in hand within minutes of a quarter's end.
Ricoh was no rookie in the eyes of the Eagles organization. We had already been providing MFPs to the organization for three years when the opportunity arose to take over the fleet and provide Managed Print Services. With our systems outperforming other vendors' devices installed at both the stadium and corporate office, we were given an opportunity to recommend ways to take the Eagles information management practices from good to great.
“Reliability is paramount to the day-to-day functions of our operations," said Catherine Carlson, Senior Vice President of Revenue and Strategy for the Eagles organization.
We knew the stakes were high. This initiative would touch everyone in the organization — from the field to the front office, including sales, marketing, human resources, IT, legal and other operations.
For coaches, printing was straightforward. They just needed reliable devices that they could depend on each day. Every minute prior to game day was mapped out for them — leaving no time to call IT if a device malfunctioned. Especially important, coaches needed weather-proof sideline play cards in hand come kick-off. And all of this information needed to be secure or it could wind up in the wrong hands.
The marketing and operations side was more dynamic. The Eagles didn't have all of the in-house production printing and finishing capabilities they needed to produce high- end materials to impress fans, ticket holders, corporate sponsors and internal stakeholders. And the cost of outsourcing this work was mounting.
“We had our outsourcing location on speed dial and it would cost hundreds of dollars just to print multiple copies of a color, 40-page deck for our external meetings," said Carlson. “We needed a partner to bring these capabilities in-house and help eliminate these costs."
Sustainability was also front and center for the Eagles, even though environmental stewardship was nothing new to the organization. The Eagles have been committed to sustainability since Jeffrey Lurie purchased the team in 1994. Fully entrenched with its Eagles Go Green Program, the organization has led the league in its commitment to green energy production and procurement, energy conservation, recycling, composting and much more. Yet, when it came to printing, the Eagles organization didn't have controls to reduce its paper output on the MFPs.
“We're always looking for additional ways to reduce our carbon footprint," said John Pawling, Vice President of Information Technology at the Philadelphia Eagles. “Plus, if we save paper, we also save money. It's a win-win."
Service was another sticking point. With the organizations' mixed output fleet, dependable troubleshooting and readily available parts were paramount. Yet, the Eagles organization routinely found itself waiting two to three days for a new part, rendering the device inoperable in the meantime.
Ricoh and the Eagles have developed an extremely successful partnership that has made information work across the organization. So much so, we are an official partner of the Philadelphia Eagles and have put significant technology improvements in place — with more on the horizon. In 2016, the partnership expanded further as we helped the Eagles tackle more changes in the evolving world of sports by making their information work even better.
“We are proud to partner with Ricoh," said Carlson. “Their dedication to getting information where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, and in the format it's needed, has been a major asset to our business and team."
As true partners, Ricoh and the Eagles continue to look for ways to further improve the reliability of the fleet and more. By employing our workstyle innovation technology, the goal is to enhance technology, as well as reliability, and streamline devices and related processes at the corporate office and stadium.
Yet having more reliable devices is only one half of a winning solution. The other half is having the expert, reliable service that gets devices back up and running when the occasional problem does occur.
“You can have the best technology in the world, but without good technical support and people behind it, it just doesn't work," said Pawling. “Service has been key to our successful partnership."The Eagles now have sure-fire technology to help ensure tactical information such as playbooks can't get into the wrong hands. With the successful trial of PIN authentication on the marketing department's device, this technology is likely to be rolled out in other areas of the organization. Environmental responsibility continues to be top-of-mind at the Eagles organization. With our powerful device monitoring capabilities, the organization can manage resource consumption by closely tracking usage, promoting duplex printing and the proper use of energy savings settings to further reduce its environmental impact.
Ricoh is the title sponsor of the Eagles Post-Game Show, where the hosts use a Ricoh Interactive Whiteboard to annotate video and images to dissect plays, just like the coaches have the ability to do in their meetings. Our whiteboard provides the capability to markup game footage in real time with players and securely save and send notes from sessions.
As an on-the-go organization, the Eagles also use Ricoh's ultraportable digital projection technology. The palm-sized, lightweight system allows the Eagles to present anywhere, any time — and empowers the team to work smarter.
Through a variety of software solutions, including @Remote, the Eagles now have greater document security and visibility into its print operations. During just one month mid-way through the 2016 season, the technology revealed that the Eagles had saved nearly 55,000 sheets of paper. In a year's time, less paper usage has equated to 19.2 trees saved.
Together, Ricoh and the Philadelphia Eagles are looking forward. They plan to explore new technologies to tackle more changes in the evolving world of sports by making information work even better, such as Business Process Services and Workflow Automation. Overall, Ricoh has and will continue to be the team's trusted provider — making information work for the Philadelphia Eagles.
We quickly identified that device reliability and service were the top priorities for the Eagles organization. If devices were down, timelines would be thrown off.
“Ricoh is critical to our week," said Carlson. “If we can't do what we need to do Monday through Saturday, we can't prepare properly for game day."
The first order of business was implementing Managed Print Services to analyze, right-size and install the fleet of new Ricoh MFPs and a color production printer. The Eagles now have one Ricoh technician dedicated to overseeing the fleet on game day and every day in-between. He comes on-site when there's an issue with a device. He even stops by when there are no service calls just to ensure everything's running smoothly.
“The Ricoh technician is really an extension of our IT team. If a failure does occur with one of our Ricoh devices, he has it back up and running in a couple of hours," said Pawling. “The good news is those incidents are few and far between now. Our partnership with Ricoh is everything you would want, but seldom find."
One of the keys to keeping the devices running at their peak is RICOH @Remote™ device management software. From automated meter readings to service and supply alerts, @Remote helps take the burden off the Eagles IT resources and optimize device uptime.
To enhance document security and help prevent unauthorized users from getting their hands on playbooks or other sensitive materials, we installed print management software with PIN authentication capabilities. The print management software allows the organization to track what's being output on the highly-used marketing department's device — and by who — while enforcing print behaviors like default black-and-white and duplex printing to help lower costs and improve sustainability.
“The print management software has reduced our abandoned job rate, as well as excess printouts at the machines," said Pawling. “It's a great solution to improve sustainability that will also help us save on consumables such as toner and paper."
With more robust devices in place, we were also able to come up with a quicker, more efficient alternative for making the team's sideline play cards without the extra step of lamination. We recommended and successfully tested the thickest waterproof stock available from our strategic partner, Relyco®, on the Eagles' new Ricoh color production printer. And now, the cards are produced entirely in-house and able to withstand the seasonal elements of rain, sleet and snow. This new printer also gives the organization the ability to create its high-end marketing and other materials in-house and dramatically reduce its print outsourcing costs.
“When we first tested the waterproof/tearproof paper, we placed printouts in a bucket of water all weekend and on Monday morning they were still intact — didn't tear or disintegrate and the color didn't run," said Pawling. “Ricoh is a true partner that comes to us with new technology and ideas we can leverage."