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Nottingham Community Housing Association

For me the differentiator was the values of the Arena team members we were dealing with, and the fact that they’ve delivered on their promises.

James Atkins, Head of Technology Services
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Nottingham Community Housing Association is a not-for-profit charitable organisation who put their customers at the heart of everything they do, from investing in their homes and communities, to how they go about providing their services. Arena really stood out as the right technology partner for them as soon as they were invited in to meet with the Association’s team.

Nottingham Community Housing Association is a not-for-profit charitable organisation who put their customers at the heart of everything they do, from investing in their homes and communities, to how they go about providing their services. Arena really stood out as the right technology partner for them as soon as they were invited in to meet with the Association’s team.

James Atkins, Head of Technology Services explained; "The team from Arena came across as very friendly, down to earth and approachable, and understood what we were trying to do. For me the differentiator were the values of the team members we were dealing with, and the fact that they’ve delivered on their promises.”

“There were extra things like; the logistics of delivering the day before, because they knew it was too much work on the day to deal with all the swaps. It’s quite a subtle thing, but it just showed the experience Arena had. We’ve done a few of these before and it’s never been something that someone’s thought of.”

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Steve Hanson is the Service Desk Manager providing front line support for any technology issues that come up, and leading on projects such as the print contract renewal. He agrees that Arena has been stand out and shared his experience of the install.

“From my side I had this apprehension that things could go wrong with the install of the devices but Arena expertly led on the whole process. It was the detail that was put into how it was going to work, what was going where, and who was going to be on site which made is so successful.”

“The day before going live, the devices were delivered to the different buildings to enable us to do a hot swap as and when each machine was going live, which cut down on the downtime.”

“Engineers coming out to sites to check they’d got the right devices in the right places and making sure they would fit - it’s down to that level of detail beforehand with Arena, and making sure of everything.”

SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS

NCHA have been able to introduce many more improvements with the new devices, and not simply swap old kit with new hardware.

“In one building we went down from nine printers to three, so we were making significant changes in the way that we work,” confirmed Steve. “Having follow me print in there has really helped; it’s made it a lot more flexible for people to just go wherever they want rather than having to queue.”

The association handles lots of sensitive documentation, so follow me print has transformed data protection. “From a GDPR point of view it’s great,” agreed Steve. “Previously supervisions and one to one notes and other random pieces of paper could easily be sent to the wrong printer.”

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION AND TESTING

Rather than taking the follow me print software out the box, Arena helped ensure everything met the Association’s needs.

“There was testing involved to make sure it does what we want it to do, doing the background stuff to link it up with our systems, making sure the ID badges that we’ve got work, it’s down to that level of checking,” confirmed Steve.

Arena also provided a couple of trial devices to see how people got on with those. “We invited colleagues from across business to come in and see what follow me print was all about.” said James. “We had people come in over a period of a few weeks to get registered, give it a go and see if the print quality was good enough.”

INTRODUCING NEXT GEN INKJET TECHNOLOGY

Understanding the Association’s specific requirements, Arena recommended new inkjet technology from Epson with a fleet of over 70 W579 Colour MFPs

“A lot of our sites are small, so we needed small machines but at an enterprise level,” Steve clarified. “The footprint and functionality of the device was really important, and how the follow me bolted on to that,” explained James. “The big sell for our managers was that they’d not had colour before, because we couldn’t control its use. Now we’re able to assign specific users to be able to use colour, so there was a big excitement.”

“Historically, we’ve had to go with monochrome print only to keep the cost per copy down, unless is was absolutely necessary for colour. With our previous solution, the colour protection was down to asking individuals to not print in colour unless it was necessary, but people will choose colour when they want regardless of the additional costs. We’re trying to ensure we have the best value for money solution so every bit of saving we can make in those areas means that more can be put into the care.”

“We were also interested in the speed of the Epson inkjet,” James recalled. “With the follow me print we didn’t want people complaining about having to get up and going to the printer and then having to wait for it to do all the things a printer has to do when it warms up. Also its not sat there wasting energy when it’s not being used. The Epson inkjet seemed to tick all those boxes.”

 

IMPROVED COST CONTROL

Enabling colour without losing control of cost is a real plus for service users where care managers need colour pictures on items such as food menus for the day. “It’s made a massive difference. It gives services users the opportunity to visualise the food and not just read the text to get a better understanding of what they were getting, giving them that little bit extra and showing that we’re taking people’s needs into consideration,” explained Steve

James concurred; “The wellbeing of the residents and service users is our primary concern; it’s only a small thing, but it’s those small things that do make the difference.”

“Working with the technical team at Arena allowed us to think about those details, like setting up protocols and controls to manage colour print more efficiently,” James continued.

Steve has also managed to streamline budget management. “Instead of getting a bog standard invoice, we get a spreadsheet which has a breakdown of costs and cost codes per device, which helps us with internal charges across cost centres. It just goes straight to our finance team so we don’t have to spend time making sure the right cost centre is billed.” 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

The Epson W579 MFPs are 6 times more energy efficient than comparable laser MFP and also release less ozone and particulates for improved air quality around users and residents.

“Reducing energy consumption is important to the organisation, ,” James shared. We want to be using energy as efficiently as possible so to know that these units were more energy efficient than the alternative was important.”

Improving air quality has also been achieved as an outcome of using the Epson inkjet devices. “I saw the ink bag and realised that we get away from having to ask people to pull out toner cartridges and have toner flying into the air everywhere. The inkjet bags feel a lot cleaner and neater.” 

“Because of being able to report on more, we are taking more interest in setting up targets to reduce paper usage,” Steve told us. “This wasn’t on our original list of requirements, but in the future the environmental aspect will become of increased importance within the organisation so being able to report on impact helps.”

James agreed; “This is another unintended consequence, but a really positive consequence none the less.”

STAND OUT SERVICE AND EXPERTISE

James recalls how the team at Arena dealt with teething issues, “When we went live, the Epsons were relatively new, so we did come across an issue between PaperCut, FM Audit and the Epsons where the quality output wasn’t brilliant. But the Arena team ensured that PaperCut got the fix out there and we saw a massive difference.”

“We were especially impressed with the pro-active approach Arena took to an initial issue,” explained James. “The team spotted that our bill looked irregular compared to what they would have expected to be sending us. They looked into it and came out to us to explain what was going on, rather than waiting for us to query the irregularity.”

“This shows that the technical people must really know what they’re doing as ultimately these issues were satisfactorily resolved. It was a complex issue with a new device and drivers; there was obviously a lot of technical stuff going on behind the scenes to get that one sorted out. It demonstrates Arena’s technical competence as well as that helpful approach.”

Steve continued, “And we weren’t having to chase all the time. Not having to constantly chase people as with have had to with previous suppliers was great, and to able to test it out before we go to push it out live.”

“This was a really brilliant example of the feeling that we got from the Arena team when we first met them was accurate – we felt that they would follow through on their promises, and they have. The approach that was taken here was just brilliant!” concluded James.

Read more housing case studies here.

 


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