Stoke-on-Trent is one of the largest college’s in the UK with the facilities and resources to match. The college has some of the highest success rates in Staffordshire and holds Centre of Vocational Excellence status in three critical areas for the local economy: Care, Construction and Business and Professional Services.
With a Cisco network, approximately 2,100 desktops, 600 laptops, 60 servers, 75 HPI packs (PDAs) and 90 Apple Macs to maintain, not to mention around 200 SMART whiteboards and projectors, Stoke-on-Trent College needed specialist help to support its 40 strong IT team including 12 technicians on-site.
As with most large organisations, one of the biggest challenges they face is to get any new initiative or project off the ground. Often taking a great deal of time and planning and when given the go-ahead projects invariably becoming urgent, creating a challenge for both the staff and any suppliers involved. The college needed an IT supplier who could work in such an environment, be flexible to their needs and be 100% reliable.
For the future, creating mobility for student facilities is high on the agenda and the college was keen to negotiate the best deal for this project with an ICT supplier who can also cover the constant needs of existing infrastructures at two main campuses, plus community venues throughout the city.
Stone originally won a contract with Stoke-on-Trent College in 1998 and have gone on to build up a long standing relationship. Stone provide PCs, printers, servers and accessories for the college’s various locations, backed by full support.
Steve Amesbury, IT Manager, says, “Ever flexible, Stone are well equipped to deal with our last minute orders, changing specifications and hard to source products, rising to every new challenge. They are very responsive. They provide us with very competitive pricing and will always come back to us with any of our queries, even if it’s not in their usual product range, they will go away and source it for us.”
Stone provide a guaranteed warranty on their products and in many cases this is for 5 years instead of the usual 3 years. Stone continues to impress their clients and are acknowledged to be the college’s best supplier by far.
Amesbury comments “They are that good on every count.”
Amesbury describes Stone as their strategic partner; such is the relationship, which has gone beyond being just a supplier. “It’s difficult working in this environment sometimes but Stone understands our challenges and works within our constraints, providing everything we need. They have helped us out on many occasions, with parts, for example, providing us with what we need, when we need it.”
The college invariably has to place a big order at the same time as many other education institutions and according to Amesbury, Stone has always been able to meet their requirements, on time and at the right price.
Amesbury also appreciates the lengths to which Stone will go to provide a complete service: “They have bought products for us and held them in stock so we can benefit from the price break and draw on the supply as and when we need them. For us, these are the value add services Stone provides and differentiates them from other suppliers.”
“We have to come to expect a first class service every time from Stone, they do not let us down. We receive competitive pricing, a very responsive service, excellent account management and a rapid response to any issues. Stone has become the college’s best supplier and are now considered one of our strategic partners.”