U.S. Communities

Success Story

Cooperative Purchasing Solutions


City of Ocean City, NJ Saves Thousands of Dollars and Addresses Unique Challenges with Cooperative Document Management Contract

As the City of Ocean City, New Jersey was coming upon the end of their 60-month copier contract, Joe Clark, the City Purchasing Manager, knew he had some challenges to tackle. They were currently using the State of New Jersey cooperative contract, but the specific equipment under this contract did not provide the flexibility needed to address some of the scenarios that would enable the City to be more efficient and save on overall document management and new technology costs.

In order to identify the right solution for the City, Joe met with all the end-users of the equipment to do a thorough needs assessment and identify current challenges. This process quickly highlighted areas where they could resolve ongoing impediments to productivity and escalating costs.

  • Overage fees were escalating, so they decided to move to a pay-per-use only structure.
  • Users only had access to one printer so if the machine went down people could not print. They decided to move to a networked solution.
  • Users were printing documents more than once because someone else often picked up their materials, so the person would reprint. There was a need to address secured printing.
  • Monthly billing for all the units was a payment challenge. They decided to move to 6-month billing structure which would need to be paid in arrears due to budget cycles.
  • Due to the City’s seasonality as a coastal resort, they have units that were only used in the summer and then sat in an office the rest of the time. These machines needed to be moved elsewhere for use during their “off” season.
  • The tax office had large printing projects five times a year that would tie up the machine for all other users. 
  • Downtime during the transition was a concern, so the City required that the contract holder remove all existing machines and return them at no additional cost.

These were just a few of the business issues the City wanted to address in the new contract. Additionally, they wanted to move from 28 machines to 33 with four of the new machines capable of color printing. To do this, Joe put out an informal RFI to make sure all their Terms and Conditions could be met, but provided the option for vendors to respond with a cooperative purchasing solution while also allowing providers to highlight new technology.

The City received three responses: two local Ricoh Family Group dealers responded with U.S. Communities pricing and another responded with NJPA pricing. The NJPA pricing would enable them to stay with Konica. One of the U.S. Communities responses was for Lanier and the other for Ricoh. With the addition of five more machines, the City was expecting an increase in cost, but was pleasantly surprised to realize the Ricoh response through U.S. Communities was the lowest, and would enable them to save $44,517 a year or $222,585 over the term of the 60-month contract.

Aside from the hard cost savings, implementing new technology and solutions provided by Ricoh will enable the City of Ocean City to save in other areas:

  • Machines will default to print double-sided to save on paper and print black and white to save on per copy costs.
  • Centralized print management system stores all print jobs – users will enter a code to retrieve their documents so lost print jobs are no longer an issue. Additionally, every user is assigned a primary machine and 1-2 secondary machines as a back-up so there is no downtime.
  • The new multi-function devices will replace fax machines. The City will now be able to eliminate toner and costs for maintaining separate single function fax machines.

According to Joe, using a cooperative contract provided the flexibility to add nuances to the contract specific to their needs. “The broad scope afforded the City flexibility over the state contract which is bid specifically for the state needs. If we wanted to add options there was usually an additional charge,” said Joe. “For the first time I could build machines from the ground up for specific applications – such as the need to accommodate special paper for marriage licenses.”

Mike Stowell, Sr. National Account Manager for Ricoh, was involved in helping the City address these needs through the U.S. Communities program.  “Our program through U.S. Communities allows for forward thinking agencies like the City of Ocean City, to tailor a program specific to their current and future needs. Ricoh’s contract focuses on additional applications and technology that are vastly different in today’s work environment than what local government agencies faced a decade ago. We are very excited about this partnership with the City and being able to offer best-in-class solutions that exceeded their broad range of services required.”

An unanticipated benefit was using a U.S. Communities contract. “We’ve used a variety of cooperative contracts when it was a good fit” said Joe. “Going through U.S. Communities, we received national-level support from the Ricoh National Account Manager, local support from the dealer and U.S. Communities assistance through my Program Manager. I’ve not experienced that before – that was unique.”                  

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