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COMPANY/INDUSTRY: YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago/Public Service

Scope: Founded in 1858, the Chicago-area YMCA has come a long way since it recruited troops for the Northern Armies and provided hospital space, nursing services, rest homes and transport for the sick and wounded on both sides of the Civil War.

Chicagoland's largest provider of single-room housing units for the disabled, the "Y" has 35 locations, including swimming and gymnasium facilities, throughout the city and suburbs, outreach programs touching every population sector from infants to seniors, and an annual operating budget in excess of $80 million.

Task: Scanning and implementing off-site digital storage of receivable and payable invoices, membership and donor records; network faxing and electronic filing between physical locations; producing and publishing full-color informational and fund-raising brochures, fact sheets and other documentation.  

Challenge: Maximizing "bang for the buck" via deployment of networked multi-function printer/copier/scanner/fax machines capable of performing whatever task is required at any given time.

Solution: Acquisition of 45 Panasonic networked document-management products including  DP 2330 duplex copiers, DP 6030 60ppm monochrome MFPs, and C3 full-color MFPs.

Decision-Making Factor: Outstanding price/performance ratio, network compatibility with both standard and specialized applications, excellent dealer service, and value-priced service contract.  

Impact: Substantial cost savings by eliminating out-sourced color printing; major paper reductions and efficiency increases through implementation of fax to email and desktop; increased productivity from processing accounts payable "paperwork" online; and faster, easier access to stored records.

User Summation: "We started buying Panasonic products about four years ago and they now comprise about 90 percent of our document-processing-machine inventory," says Metropolitan Chicago YMCA Director of Purchasing Steve Hessler. "Among other things, the Panasonic's high-speed, high-accuracy scanning has made it possible for us to quickly add coded images of all our A/P accounts to an offline data mine where they can be instantly accessed from any of our locations."

According to Hessler, the "'Y's" latest acquisitions, C3 color MFPs, are saving both time and money without diminution of the imaging quality or visual impact of the output material.

"Among other things, we use them for color fund-raising pieces and booklets for our board of directors," he says. "It's much more convenient and cost effective to produce  and print fliers and brochures on site and the reproduction quality on the new machines has gone up so much that it's hard to tell the difference between color tri-folds and similar pieces printed here and something kicked out to be printed professionally."

Commenting on Chicagoland YMCA plans to continue their procurement of PDDC products in the future, Hessler noted that "service is the key to successful vendor relationships.

"We have had very comfortable relationships with our Panasonic dealers," he commented. "They've given us really great service. If we need to temporarily move a machine to a new location or redeploy equipment because we're opening a new center or closing an old one, they're always there to take care of it."

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