Without assistance from bonds and local taxes, charter schools must rely on enrollment, foundations, and donations to subsidize their budgets. What’s often underutilized are cost control protocols and efficient operational processes that move funds from operations to the classroom. One facet of campus operations that can be readily evaluated for savings is document management. Clemson University’s recent analysis and overhaul of their managed document services resulted in an additional 2.5 million dollars in “new” revenue for the school.[i] Such a comprehensive analysis is simply not possible without the assistance and collaboration between Clemson and its document management provider. Therefore, the most important decision for administrators shouldn’t be which brand copier is better or cheapest. It’s about choosing a business partner willing to do the homework to ensure every solution implemented provides the best value for the school.
Improve efficiency and profits will follow, it’s a simple concept that requires constant self-analysis to ensure you’re maximizing the resources and assets within your control. Since joining Knight Office Solutions, I realized my best tools for new clients was my skillset as an entrepreneur, not a copier sales rep. Instead of “selling” the customer, I focus on “informing” the customer. The more a customer learns about the copier industry, the more appealing our business model becomes to them. Some of the methods used in this industry were designed to subvert accounting departments and fiscal budgets with “hidden fees” and “overage penalties.” Thus, making the already stringent audits even more challenging for administrators. KOS focuses on transparency and cost-savings. As a partner in a VAR IT company and working closely with tech directors of K-12s, I recalled most IT companies extended an “educational discount” either by the manufacturers or their distribution network. So you can imagine my shock and dismay, once I crunched the numbers and learned that public schools are being charged the same rates as some Fortune 500 companies. After a comprehensive evaluation on behalf of Wayside Schools, an additional $340,000 over the next 5 years of “new” revenue is now available for the school to address other important needs.
As a Solution Provider member of the Texas Charter Schools Association, we understand our responsibility and commitment to its school members. In the same way that each charter school serves the students of our community, our goal is to always serve each school with the same integrity, honesty, and excellence they deserve. So it’s with great pride and honor to add Wayside Schools to our growing list of valued-clients from the TCSA. Per Deroald Hopkins, COO of Wayside, they “have been assessing and re-evaluating our core business functions to better serve all our campuses operationally. How? By integrating more of our financial and operational processes and their related job functions. Through the implementation and execution of a change management process for our entire organization, we can focus on better internal controls, streamlined and efficient workflow procedures, and all with a customer-centric focus on staff and our scholars.” KOS was able to clearly understand Wayside’s vision and help them accomplish their goals of streamlining and finding a potential area of savings – copier machinery.
As George Ross, owner of KOS states, “Charter schools should partner with KOS due to the fact that we have a specialist that understands their requirements. Typically their requirements fit into our business model of excellent customer service. Having local decision-making capability, charter schools can count on KOS to maintain their systems and provide timely expectations for any need that comes up.”
KOS Austin began business 11 years ago when Mr. Ross became frustrated in how vendors were treating clients. Integrity and character are large keys to our 11 years of success in Austin. We want to build relationships with our customers, not just let them be a number in our system. As a local business, we can make quick decisions on issues that arise and adapt to clients’ changing needs so they can focus on their core businesses and duties. Much like charter schools, we understand and value adaptability.
Knight Office Solutions (KOS) is a locally-owned and operated authorized dealer for Ricoh, Sharp, and Lexmark products and services. We’re proud to announce that we’ve recently joined the TCSA network of solution providers. We’re honored to fill the void and serve as TCSA's turnkey solutions provider for copiers and printers. KOS has been working with Trinity Charter School since 2014 and recently added Wayside Schools to our growing list of charter school partners. In fact, TCSA's own office copier is from KOS. As a local business, we felt it was important to grow and be an integral part of our community. We can’t think of a better way to do that than to provide products and services to one of the most important institutions of any community…public charter schools.
I was fortunate enough to meet Chad Riley, Director of Growth and Strategy, and Zac Ziebarth of Wayside Schools at a time when they’re both working hard to reduce the schools’ operating cost, planning a strategy for sustainable growth, and doing their due diligence to ensure that the schools’ budget is astutely allocated. In Wayside Schools’ particular case, Chad commented that “after years of being underserved and overcharged,” KOS “was able to analyze our situation and provide the best hardware and maintenance solutions for our growing Charter School’s needs.” Our starting point is always to analyze, crunch the numbers, and share the information we’ve learned from our cost-analysis with potential clients before any “sale” is ever mentioned.
During the sales stage with Wayside Schools, KOS was hit was the devastating news of losing one of our beloved technician, Cathy Standage. It took an emotional toll on all of us but no one was hit harder than our owner, George Ross. When he found out I had the opportunity to work with a public charter school, he made a commitment to establish a scholarship in Cathy’s name and recently presented Chad Riley with the check to honor that pledge.
We understand you have many options when it comes to copier companies and we hope Knight Office Solutions will be the starting point in an honest evaluation of your school’s document management cost and needs. Please feel free to contact us, we’ll do most of the work to ensure that the benefactor of competition is YOU.
TCSA member schools should contact Troy Nguyen at 512-617-7080 ext. 137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general inquiries about TCSA's Solution Providers, contact Nadia Luna at 512-584-8272 or email@example.com.