Local government: It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it… with the right tech, of course
Many of us fondly remember the hit sitcom Parks and Recreation, especially the adorable character Leslie Knope (played by hilarious comedian Amy Poehler), who stopped at nothing to beautify the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. And while Leslie persevered and grew in her career, there is another key takeaway from the show that remains applicable six years after it went off the air: serving in local government is an essential – and often thankless – job.
Municipalities work hard to get information to their citizens about events, community programs and safety updates. Local residents may not always see all the work going on behind the curtain, but it’s considerable and usually time sensitive. With all of these responsibilities, figuring out and updating technology can often fall to the bottom of the priority list, despite the need for the right tech to do the job. This is also a space where printing is still very much necessary, as local governments need to constantly produce public documents such as booklets and brochures, sometimes in multiple languages, and frequently on tight budgets. City workers simply can’t afford to have their printers break down or malfunction.
Here are a couple of examples of how local government agencies addressed some of their printing and technology challenges to serve their constituents more effectively.
Saving time and money in Topeka, Kansas
One example of a city department that was in desperate need of a print tech makeover was the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. Curtis Sneden, interim president and CEO of the Chamber, highlighted how important having the right technology is for his members to serve their community: “Every day our employees are focused on return on investment for our members. In whatever we produce – an event, a publication, a program or a service – we are fixated on finding solutions that uphold our commitments to high-quality standards.”
Chamber members were faced with various technology challenges. For one, they were working with five-year old equipment that couldn’t handle all of their printing needs. If they had to print a more sophisticated project using card stock, they just didn’t have that option, either. And to top it off, they had just received a branding initiative and style guide that called for full-bleed color images for their printed materials – a capability that was missing from their printer lineup.
To address these needs, the Chamber worked with one of our dealers to incorporate a Sharp MX-7500N digital multifunction printer with Fiery® Command Workstation on the machine’s operating panel, which allows users to customize print jobs right at the printer rather than running back to the computer (a huge time-saver). The MFP allows Chamber members to print everything in-house with full-bleed printing and reduced production time. It was essential in helping the organization cut costs while increasing control over the final print product.
Bringing state-of-the-art tech to Anderson, South Carolina
The South is booming with business and people moving in from around the country, and the city of Anderson, South Carolina is no exception. The exponential growth means that the city needs to ensure its tech is up to date to stay on par with, or ahead of, other growing business regions. Printing was certainly one issue in Anderson’s government agencies, with MFP devices that were unable to perform simple tasks and would break down when scanning or printing. However, they also needed a digital document management solution and disaster recovery system to back up the myriad hard copies of essential public works documents, such as engineering plans, they had stored in filing cabinets. Another major challenge was that the City Council Chamber’s audio/visual studio was still running on analog, resulting in unclear images when broadcasting council proceedings to the public.
The solution was a massive undertaking that resulted in the cross-department installation of 23 Sharp MFPs and 15 laser printers within the fire department, lawyers’ office, courthouse, mailroom and several other locations. The city of Anderson also worked with Sharp to install and implement a document management system with a wide format scanner to digitize large engineering documents, and backup/disaster recovery services in case of a fire, flood or other natural disaster. Finally, they solved the analog council chamber problem with an 80” Class (80” diagonal) PN-L703B AQUOS BOARD interactive display system with CAD drawing and overlay mode capabilities. All of the analog cameras, microphones and monitors were replaced with digital alternatives, making it much easier to publicly broadcast city council meetings.
There are few jobs as rewarding as public service, and we hope that our government employees always have the right technology tools at their disposal to do their jobs effectively with one less thing to worry about. With that, we’ll leave you with a memorable quote from Leslie Knope about the work of public service for the greater good:
“When we worked here together, we fought, scratched and clawed to make people’s lives a tiny bit better. That’s what public service is about: small, incremental change every day.”
For more information about Sharp’s government technology solutions, visit our dedicated webpage: https://business.sharpusa.com/Vertical-Markets/Government.