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Redirecting Resources To Growth And Innovation

HP Managed Print Services (MPS) was initiated by General Mills to streamline and support its key corporate initiatives. By simplifying print management using HP Managed Print Services, General Mills is saving more than $1 million per year — more than a 50% reduction compared to its pre-MPS cost per printed page.

HP Managed Print Services (MPS) was initiated by General Mills to streamline and support its key corporate initiatives. By simplifying print management using HP Managed Print Services, General Mills is saving more than $1 million per year — more than a 50% reduction compared to its pre-MPS cost per printed page.

For more than a century, General Mills has proven itself as an innovative leader in the food products industry. Beginning with Gold Medal Flour in 1880, it has long aimed to have its brands occupy top market position.

Consistent with its mission of “Nourishing Lives,” General Mills has thoughtfully identified ways to simplify its operations, drive out cost, and redirect its resources toward initiatives that provide value to customers and employees.

HP Managed Print Services (MPS) was initiated by General Mills to streamline and support its key corporate initiatives. By simplifying print management using HP Managed Print Services, General Mills is saving more than $1 million per year—more than a 50% reduction compared to its pre-MPS cost per printed page. The savings continue to grow.

Simplified print management is also helping General Mills in achieving larger corporate initiatives. “HP Managed Print Services is not only saving money for General Mills, but giving us more flexibility in the way we work day-to-day,” says Mike Hon, Manager, Technology and Document Solutions at General Mills. “Managed print is evidence that we’re truly getting the benefits we expect from a key corporate partner.”

HP MPS supports HMM, FUSE initiatives

What truly sets General Mills apart when it comes to print management is how the company uses HP MPS not just to cut costs, but also to achieve strategic objectives. These include General Mills’ Holistic Margin Management strategy and its innovative approach to creating the mobile workplace of the future: the Flexible User Shared Environment (FUSE) initiative.

Through the company’s Holistic Margin Management strategy, General Mills delivers value by focusing on what matters most to its consumers and identifying ways to reduce waste across its operations. The resulting savings are reinvested in value-creating opportunities that drive the company’s top line growth. The annual savings of more than $1 million from HP MPS are routed directly into other projects that help build the company’s brands and keep its products affordable for consumers.

Flexible User Shared Environment (FUSE) recognizes that traditional, fixed offices are not always the most effective places for employees to work. So FUSE replaces employee offices and cubes with a whole different paradigm. Most employees in FUSE no longer have a traditional office space at General Mills’ headquarters; rather, employees choose work space based on what suits their needs at that moment.

“If I need an office with a door on it for a private meeting, can come in and use that office. Or if need to collaborate with a team, can go to an area with a table and use that space. There are various options that determine where go and how I’ll work,” explains Hon.

Initial surveys indicate FUSE is meeting its goals. After moving into the FUSE environment, groups have reported measureable increases in decision speed, collaboration, flexibility and productivity.

HP print tools enable employee mobility

How does HP MPS help General Mills make FUSE work? First, HP Access Control (HPAC) facilitates employee mobility by enabling employees to print their work anywhere on the network. With HPAC, when employees send a job to print, the network routes it to a print queue rather than an individual printer. The employee can go to any printer, swipe his or her employee ID badge, and the job is automatically released to that printer.

Regardless of where employees choose to go and work on a given day, they send a print job to the master print queue, go to a nearby printer, and release the job.

Expanding on that, General Mills has implemented HP ePrint Enterprise for printing from mobile devices. Employees use HP ePrint to print from mobile devices—like smartphones and tablets. They can send a print job to a General Mills printer from where they work—their home, an airport or hotel, or even a moving taxi—and the job travels within their secure network processed via HP ePrint Enterprise and waits in the HP Access Control print queue at General Mills. When they arrive at their office, they go to a printer, swipe their badge, and only then does HP Access Control release the print job.

“The combination of HP Access Control and HP ePrint Enterprise gives us the flexibility to deploy a print environment that is uniquely suited to the needs of our mobile workforce,” says Hon. “Employees are able to print from virtually anywhere to anywhere, including their mobile devices, and all within their normal work process.”

Cost, environmental benefits go hand-in-hand

HP MPS also supports General Mills’ commitment to be a good steward of the environment.

HP MPS has helped the company reduce its paper use by some 10 million pages per year. That improvement results from use of HP Web Jetadmin software to implement default duplex printing (now up to more than 61% of all printing), use of HP Access Control to reduce waste, using scan-to-email or scan-to-folder features of HP MFPs to distribute documents electronically, and an education effort encouraging employees to ask themselves whether printing any given document is a necessity.

Energy use is also down. Fewer printers consume less energy. Networked HP printers and MFPs are also managed by HP Web Jetadmin software to go into energy-saving sleep mode when they’re not in use. And with less printing overall comes less use of energy.

Supporting innovation, brand leadership

The story of MPS at General Mills grew out of HP’s long-standing relationship with the food giant as one of a few select vendor partners. HP is the primary vendor for servers, PCs and printers, and also supplies General Mills with networking products and technology management software. HP technology meets the company’s end-to-end technology needs across the enterprise.

“We expect many things from our partners, from innovation, seeking feedback into what we want in products, incorporating that feedback into new generations of products, and teaching us about their technology,” says Sue Simonett, VP Information Technology. “Managed Print Services from HP has brought innovation to print management at General Mills, and helped us manage our margins by helping us drive down print costs globally.”

Working with HP, General Mills reduced its fleet of printers by two-thirds, removing over 1000 printers from its world headquarters. It replaced personal printers, copiers and fax machines with workgroup devices including HP multifunction printers. Reliability increased to more than 98%. New functionality created welcome improvements.

The fleet reduction quickly netted some $750,000 in annual savings. Implementing HP print management tools such as HP Web Jetadmin software and HP Access Control, and using those tools to institute new print standards—such as defaulting to duplex printing and black-and-white printing whenever possible—the company further reduced its annual print costs by another $250,000.

Following those initial successes, the company renewed its HP MPS contract with HP, reducing its print operating costs by another 10%. Total annual savings now stand at over $1.1 million.

Simplifying print management with HP tools

How did it achieve all that? The answer is primarily through optimization and more automated management of the printing fleet. General Mills optimized its fleet of printers by reducing the number of devices and standardizing on more capable multifunction printers, eliminating the need for dedicated copiers and fax machines. HP management tools have helped automate print management.

“HP MPS has simplified print across the board for General Mills,” says Jeff Ellman, Technical Specialist, Global Infrastructure Services.
Among the keys to simplification: the ability to manage printers remotely using HP Web Jetadmin software. “With HP Web you manage everything centrally. We’re able to group printers together, organize them and configure them remotely with group templates,” he explains. That enables Ellman to push out print policies to facilitate scan-to-folder and other capabilities. The HP Web software-reporting feature enables Ellman’s staff to monitor printing levels by location, by device, or even by user.

HP Web Jetadmin software also generates alerts on each device. Printer alerts are configured to enable proactive response to printer issues. “Alerts help us work with HP on a fix before a printer actually goes down—to fix the devices before they break,” says Hon.

The software helps the service desk to remotely reset a device, or to provide diagnostic input, without having to visit it physically. “With HP Web Jetadmin, they don’t have to go to the printer; they can see its status on the screen and act to restore service remotely in many cases,” says Ellman.

Another HP tool that simplifies print management is the HP Universal Print Driver (UPD). The UPD eliminates the need to install discrete drivers on a PC for each printer an employee might use; instead, the UPD works with any HP printer on the network.

“It has generated significant time savings,” says Ellman. “Before, we had so many different drivers and so many different versions of those drivers. Maintaining them on a server took a whole team. Going to one driver expanded the capacity of our team so we could focus on other priorities.”

HP Access Control, in addition to helping to facilitate FUSE, enhances print security by eliminating the risk of having confidential information printed and never picked up by the user. also reduces print waste, again by eliminating print jobs that are printed but never retrieved by the creator. And it contributes to simplifying print management by reducing the number of print queues at General Mills’ headquarters. “Everything goes to a single print queue,” says Ellman.

HP ePrint Enterprise provides the same security as HP Access Control, since print jobs are emailed to an HPAC print queue via General Mills’ private cloud.

In combination, HP Web Jetadmin software, the Universal Print Driver and HP Access Control combine to simplify print management as never before. “With HP Web you have one central place to manage all your printers. With the UPD, you have one driver for all your printers. And with HPAC, you have just one print queue to manage,” says “Each of the HP MPS components drives efficiency and together creates a significant impact.”

Benefits to grow with expansion of HP MPS

Looking ahead, General Mills will be expanding the use of HP Managed Print Services to more of its facilities worldwide—and is expecting to achieve greater savings.

In addition to consolidating the print infrastructure in more of General Mills’ manufacturing plants and international locations, the company is also working with HP to identify additional workflow improvements that can be implemented. One short-term goal is to transform the existing travel and expense system.

“We have the capability to handle expense reports through a paperless process with a whole new level of functionality,” says Hon. “It will save time and money. We only need to leverage the functionality of existing HP devices in order to change the workflow.

“With the HP fleet, OXP and FutureSmart technology as our foundation, we have the building blocks for the future,” says Hon.

Working with HP, General Mills will continue to drive improvements and efficiency. “Our focus is always on finding ways to redirect resources to create value,” says Simonett. “HP is helping us do that.”

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