The switch from chalkboards to whiteboards at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley campus seemed to be a good move for instructors and students. But the benefits proved to be short-lived due to the low quality of the whiteboards — dozens of whiteboards that were acquired on a bidding system that favored low purchase price rather than lowest cost of use.
“We did a mass purchase in a competitive bidding process and selected a product based on low cost,” said David Staerkel, facilities manager for the two-year campus of the University of Wisconsin System in the northeastern part of the state. The new boards had a porcelain face and seemed to be what the college and its instructors were looking for to improve classroom presentations.
But it wasn’t long before problems literally started to surface, according to Staerkel. Instructors and maintenance staff had an increasingly difficult time cleaning the boards, which were installed in the front and sides of classrooms throughout the campus. The boards became a challenge to clean and had ghosting and staining.
Then things got worse. “It seemed like something was wrong with the porcelain,” Staerkel said. “The porcelain face started delaminating; it was coming off the backing of the boards. The structural integrity isn’t any good.”
Maintenance costs were eating away at the savings UW-Fox Valley thought it realized by purchasing from the low bidder, and instructors were regularly complaining about the problems with the boards.
But there were boards on campus that were not prompting complaints nor requiring ongoing maintenance. They were EVERWhite boards – installed after the initial mass installation for an addition to the university’s science building.
“We were getting a lot of complaints, so I went to look further into the situation and determined that there were no complaints coming from instructors who were using the EverProduct whiteboards,” Staerkel said.
Not only was the quality of the EverWhite boards superior, the maintenance was also much simpler, Staerkel added. “The boards can be cleared very easily and stay white,” he said. “We don’t need any caustic chemicals like we did for the other boards.” Those chemicals can reduce indoor air quality.
Since then, Staerkel has been purchasing EVERWhite boards to replace the low-quality boards from the other manufacturer that were originally installed.
By purchasing in smaller quantities, he can avoid the complex bidding process and save UW-Fox Valley money.
“Other boards might cost less initially, but in the long run the whiteboards from EVERWhite are, by far, less costly,” he said. Staerkel has found additional benefits from EVERWhite aside from their high quality. He now orders resurfacing whiteboards than can be applied right over existing surfaces with an exclusive, factory-applied pressure-sensitive adhesive backing. “With the EverProducts resurfacing panels, we don’t need to replace perfectly good mounting frames. We can apply the skins right over what we have.”
That’s a great solution for UW-Fox Valley, and it’s a “green” solution, Staerkel said. “You can keep a lot of material out of the landfill by using the EVERWhite resurfacing panels,” he said.
With whiteboards from EVERWhite, UW-Fox Valley has lower maintenance costs and lower long-term costs because, with the EVERWhite lifetime guaranty, he won’t need to regularly replace boards.
Jim Muth is general manager of EVERWhite, a US manufacturer and seller of whiteboards and tack boards used for teaching, coaching, planning, collaboration and tracking. Along with his expertise in the use of whiteboards, Jim excels in leadership, new product development, business operations, lean manufacturing, continuous improvement and product marketing. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Industrial Technology, with a focus on Product Development and Design, from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.