Biltmore Hotel steps up efficiency with Sharp OSA technology
Hotels, like any major enterprise, often have large staffs, with many departments carrying out various functions, generating mounds of data. Everyday office transactions take place across different sectors, essentially in silos, on office equipment purchased to enhance productivity and deliver seamless output. Typically, excessive costs and inefficient use of manpower occur when numerous departments and employees utilize stand-alone office equipment lacking back-office access and control.
To streamline workflow across all departments and manage costs, the Biltmore Hotel, a luxury spa and golf hotel resort located in Coral Gables/Miami, turned to Sharp Business Systems when upgrading their office equipment throughout the facility. When the lease was set to renew on the hotel's 10 black-and-white standalone copiers, CIO Marc Stidham took the opportunity to improve workflow, contain costs and provide real-time usage reporting to management.
Bringing Color to Life
The hotel's IT department decided to upgrade their office equipment and bring the office up-to-date with color MFPs. They needed a system that would not only allow for control over color copy costs and usage, but also fit their existing data infrastructure. Sharp provided a networked solution that enabled access to the company’s Active Directory servers, a Microsoft® standard that provides centralized user authentication services for Windows®-based computers.
"We didn't want to reinvent the wheel so we worked with Sharp Business Systems of South Florida to develop a system that could grow with the business," noted Stidham. "By enabling hotel employees to scan information directly from the copier's LCD panel via Active Directory, the information goes straight into our own database software, reducing headaches and downtime."
With the purchase of 14 color Sharp MFPs—models MX-3501N and MX-4501N—the ability to copy in both black-and-white and color became a reality for all employees. However, in order to control employee usage, the machines were programmed, using Sharp OSA technology, to allow authentication to designated employees approved to make color copies or prints. This eliminated the cost of thousands of pages that could potentially have been copied throughout the company.
Additionally, with Sharp OSA-developed software, the IT department can create individual user authentication codes as well as monitor usage remotely over the network. The IT department can run individual department reports (accounting, human resources, hospitality, etc.) outlining the amount of color prints/copies, black-and-white copies, faxes and scans that are made. This capability provides a real-time snapshot for evaluating equipment usage by different departments, and making necessary changes or adjustments.
Streamlining Office Workflow
In addition to saving on cost-per-copy, the Biltmore Hotel is using Sharp OSA technology to enhance the company's scanning capabilities and integrate the ability for network scanning to email, eliminating the need for separate office scanners. This allows an employee to scan a document on the MFP and send it directly to a recipient’s email address or to their own e-mail address. The application also allows employees to scan to network folders, saving time and resources. Sharp OSA technology also allowed the Biltmore Hotel to write an application that allows for a contract from accounting to be scanned and filed directly into the hotel's accounting software, avoiding several steps usually required to file a digital copy. At the hotel's restaurant, point-of-sale transactions can be linked to a signed check at the front desk, keeping all customer records together electronically.
By utilizing Sharp OSA-enabled MFPs, the hotel has reduced the number of printers throughout their facilities from 46 printers to 13. The Biltmore employees and management are using Sharp MFPs for all document printing. Now, departments only need a quarter of the total budget previously spent on laser printer toner.
"We are getting more and more requests from our customers to help them find tailored solutions that help them do business more efficiently," said Luis Gonzalez, President, Sharp Business Systems of South Florida. "With Sharp OSA technology, we were able to offer the Biltmore Hotel a solution that would adapt to their business and solve their immediate needs to manage copier costs and speed workflow."