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Supporting The Cincinnati Zoo With Its Technology And Philanthropic Efforts

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Supporting The Cincinnati Zoo With Its Technology And Philanthropic Efforts
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Business Environment Challenges
Compared to other zoos in the United States, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is unique. It is one of the top-rated zoos for animal exhibits, live births and research. It has a center for endangered species, a veterinary hospital and a cryogenics unit. The Zoo is a non-profit that operates without government funding and has grown as a matter of need. The current systems in place did not reflect its growing requisite for better technology. For instance, the hospital collaborates with other zoos from around the world, so it would benefit from a modernized system to manage and share all of its documentation. A full-scale enterprise-wide document management program was pitched in the past, but the Zoo was wary of this all-ornothing approach.

The Cincinnati Zoo director of purchasing was three days away from renewing an office equipment lease when he was approached by Sharp Business Systems (SBS). The Zoo had no intentions of leaving its longtime vendor, but the director of purchasing took one last look and found that service and sales support had declined over the years. Faulty copiers and slow service had taken a toll on productivity, especially when tackling a big project like a mass mailing on a tight deadline. High-speed multifunction printers (MFPs) were not placed in appropriate work areas leaving units overworked or in some cases underutilized. This was causing the Zoo to spend more money than necessary to operate its fleet.

Business Technology Solutions
The Zoo’s staff was interviewed by SBS to determine if the current copiers met their requirements. Based on the analysis and feedback, SBS right-sized the fleet to place copiers where it made most sense. Workgroup needs were matched to the right MFP by relocating existing copiers and replacing outdated devices with better-suited Sharp MFPs. The Zoo created a new mini print shop in the purchasing department by adding a high-speed color MFP with a Pantone® matching system and a light production monochrome MFP. SBS proposed a more accommodating document management plan that was embraced by the Zoo. The idea was to start with the purchasing department and gradually expand into other areas at the Zoo’s pace. A secure, cloud-based application called MaxxVault® is set to become the central digital library for all of the Zoo’s documents. By leveraging the Sharp OSA® platform, MaxxVault was integrated into the Sharp MFPs. This will allow the staff to easily convert hardcopies into searchable digital files by scanning directly into the application. The staff can also access the central digital library directly on the user interface and print any file on the spot.

Zoo decision makers were intrigued that only Sharp could offer professional displays as a part of a total office equipment package. Reba Dysart, the Zoo Corporate Development Director said, “The AQUOS BOARDTM interactive display is a nice tool for our Welcome Center. Everyday, visitors see what’s happening and find activities not listed on the map. When the Africa exhibit was under construction, we used the interactive display to announce the giraffe deck was closed.” It was also used as an “interactive usher” at Zoofari, an annual black tie gala, to direct 2,500 guests to their seats. Six professional monitors were used at the gala to showcase sponsors, display a real-time picture slide show and remind guests to drink responsibly.

Proven Results
The Zoo went from having 9 unreliable large MFPs to a dependable mix of 15 MFPs. The number of units in the fleet increased; yet, the Zoo is spending less on the new lease payments and operating expenses. Productivity improved by having a more reliable fleet and faster service response times as well as strategically placing MFPs throughout the organization and making units more accessible to the staff. The Zoo has reduced the cost of bulk printing and has brought more print jobs in-house by leveraging its new mini print shop.

The document management launch was a success in the purchasing department, so the Zoo decided to roll it out to the hospital. The cloud technology works well with the IT infrastructure and has freed up server space. File cabinets have been removed and the staff can easily find and share files on the fly.

The Sharp professional displays have added a touch of sophistication and are part of the team on event days. The Zoo is pleased it can thank sponsors using professional monitors throughout an entire event. Plus, seating 2,500 guests was made easy at the gala using the AQUOS BOARD interactive display, so the Zoo did the same at its golf tournament.

Aside from bringing office technology up-to-speed, Dysart was impressed by SBS’s genuine commitment to support the Zoo’s philanthropic efforts. She said, “As one of the oldest non-profits in Cincinnati, we do a lot to stay competitive and remain one of our city’s top-rated attractions. We look to our different partners to be aligned with our cause. SBS of Ohio had created a strong presence in Cincinnati and sponsored some well-known institutions. We really appreciate its guiding principles to ‘seek first to serve’ and to ‘give back to the community because it’s the right thing to do’, because it wasn’t your average transaction but more like a relationship.”