In early 2014 a team of aspiring leaders from the IT services staff at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) gathered together to develop ideas within the remit of improving IT services for students at the university. Following months of research, the team of candidates were then asked to present each of their projects to a panel headed up by the MMU Vice Chancellor, Professor John Brooks. One of the successful projects chosen was led by Chris Haines, IT Professional at MMU. Chris’s idea was to introduce a new 24 hour, self- service laptop loan service using secure lockers in key locations across MMU.
The university already offered a seven-day laptop loan service from a loan desk in another part of the university, which is always busy. So this new automated service was to ease the pressure and to complement that service, with the potential to role across MMU.
Chris explains, “I felt we needed to have a 24 hour, 365-day laptop loan service situated in the library that was completely automated, so students could do it themselves. We also required it to integrate with MMU’s Library Management System (LMS), Capita, so that we could track the laptops to the students like we do with our books”.
Chris said, “Myself and a colleague went to the Bett Show with the intention of visiting the LapSafe® stand and two other suppliers who had similar products. After talking to each company and watching demonstrations, it seemed that the LapSafe® Diplomat™ LMS did exactly what we were looking for. It was a little more expensive than other similar locker systems but none of the others had the quality or the full functionality that the LapSafe® Diplomat™ LMS offered. It didn’t come down to money in the end, it came down to the fact that LapSafe® were ahead in not only the quality of the lockers but the advanced technology they were offering too”.
Chris continues, “Rob from LapSafe® put me in touch with other universities that are currently using the Diplomat™ LMS, so I visited Leeds University to see it in action. It gave me piece of mind talking to someone who had already been through the journey of implementing a self-service system. It also really helped me to make up my mind that the LapSafe® Diplomat™ LMS would be the right option for us to have at MMU”.
MMU took delivery of their new 36 bay Diplomat™ LMS in the summer of 2014 and had a small window of time in which they needed the product to be delivered due to planned holidays. Chris explains, “Rob, our Account Manager worked really hard to get it here on time. Delivery was great, timing was great and I couldn’t fault the work of the friendly and helpful guys that were installing it”.
Chris continued, “We installed the Diplomat™ LMS self-service lockers in the Sir Kenneth Green Library here at MMU. We launched a pilot scheme in September 2014 offering a 24/ 7, 365-day laptop loan service to our students. When the pilot scheme finished in January 2015 our reports showed that we had loaned out just over 8,000 laptops in the four-month trial period; that worked out that about 500 of our Toshiba 15 inch laptops were loaned out per week from the 36 locker bays.
Chris concluded, “I would highly recommend any university to go down this self-service route with LapSafe®. When I was researching my project I wanted to be able to talk to other universities that had already been through the journey of setting something like this and Lapsafe® supported me by answering my questions and putting me in touch with other universities already using this system.