If you're in the market for a new office printer, you have a lot of choices. A multifunction printer, or MFP, combines the functions of a printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine into one. You can help significantly improve workflow and reduce costs by purchasing one that matches your needs.
Not all printers do the same tasks, so it's important to carefully weigh your options. The following 10 considerations will help you choose the right printer for your office.
1. Assess Your Needs
Your workflow and the number of users who will share the printer play a big part in deciding which multipurpose printer to purchase. Aside from the standard uses of printing and copying, what other functions might you need? Many MFPs can help manage documents, reduce waste, and streamline processes. Think about your daily printer demands. How many copy, print, scan, and fax jobs do you run every day? Do you need the ability to print in full color?
Before choosing a multifunction printer, make sure you understand the capabilities of each and if the one you're considering will meet all of your daily needs.
2. How Much Will it Cost to Operate?
The cost of owning a multifunction printer goes beyond the upfront cost of purchasing the device. How much will the supplies cost? How much will it cost to repair? Multifunction inkjet printers can cost less initially, but breakdowns can be more costly to repair than with laser and solid ink MFPs. An MFP can actually help you manage costs for printing and imaging, so take into consideration the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) before committing.
3. Read Reviews
Do your homework. Read reviews from industry experts and other businesses that have used the device. Compare manufacturer spec sheets with independent testing agencies.
4. How Well Will the MFP Work with Existing Networks?
Before you invest in a major piece of office equipment, it's a good idea to find out how well it plays with your existing systems. Other considerations include how easy it is to set up. Does it come with tutorials or wizards to guide you through installation? Will any training be required? Will you have to install anything on office computers? Will the new system render other systems obsolete?
5. How Easy is it to Use?
The last thing you want is a fancy new printer that no one knows how to use. Choose a printer with an intuitive operating system that requires minimal training. Look for easy-to-access online help and documentation. It's also a good idea to choose a printer that comes with manufacturer technical support.
6. But What Does it Really Do?
Some MFPs claim multifunctionality but may not deliver all the capabilities you want. Some MFPs, like All-in-Ones (AiOs), offer multiple functions in one device but can't multitask with more than one function. This can lead to workflow bottlenecks. Depending on your office needs, this could pose a problem.
7. Communication is Key
As with all things, communication is paramount when choosing the most efficient multifunctional printer. Does the printer display jobs, queues, and problems at the device and across the network? Can users and IT administrators easily view and edit the status of jobs in the pipeline? If not, you and your staff could spend more time troubleshooting than supporting your core business.
8. Does it Come with Support?
Choose a printer that comes with ongoing support to help keep your printer running efficiently now and in the future. Does the manufacturer have a good reputation for fast response times? Do a little research to get an idea of the relationship you're getting in to when you buy one printer brand over another.
9. Does it Meet Your Security Needs?
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need a higher level of security. Make sure the printer you purchase offers the security you need and is scalable in the event your security needs change.
10. What About Software?
Find out about any compatible software and solutions that come with the printer you want to buy as well as what software from other vendors will work with your new printer. There's a lot of great software that can make a big impact on your everyday workflow. Some multifunction printers can help you streamline redundant and time-consuming document processes or electronically organize, edit, and archive paper documents, cutting down on waste.
For example, with an MFP and a software application, you can convert paper documents into electronic format and send to multiple destinations-including email, servers, network folders, and remote printers-all with a single scan.
Now that you know what questions to consider before purchasing a printer, you're ready to shop. If you need help along the way, Coordinated Business Systems is just a phone call away.
Once you're armed with the knowledge you've gathered by asking these questions, you'll be prepared to make the right decision for your business.
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