Are you in the market for a new business printer? With so many brands, models, and types available, it can be difficult to select one that will meet your company’s needs. The top ten factors to consider before purchasing a business printer are listed below.
1. Copy Speed
This important metric indicates how quickly the business printer will make copies and prints. This is usually one of the first requirements discussed when considering the purchase of a new office automation device, expressed as a number or pages per minute. The copy speed also correlates to the copy volume with faster business printers generally having a larger copy volume. A typical business printer designed to be shared by 3 to 10 people has a print/copy speed of 25-45 pages per minute (ppm), putting the printer in the mid-volume category.
2. Copy Volume
This figure represents the number of pages that the business printer is designed to process per month. In general, slower copy speeds are intended to process fewer prints and copies per month, with the copy volume increasing in proportion to the speed of the office automation device. Rather than dealing with the actual number, business printers are usually grouped into volume categories for ease of understanding. SOHO (small office, home office) for occasional use, low volume, mid volume, high volume, and commercial office automation devices are among the categories. When purchasing a business printer, try to estimate how much the device will be used and choose accordingly.
3. Network Capability
When spending what can be a significant amount of money on office automation, businesses want to get as many benefits and features as possible from the office automation device. The ability to interface with a customer’s computer network is a key feature of multifunction business printers. When a business printer is connected to a network, it transforms into a powerful, feature-rich network printer, scanner, fax server, and much more. When considering network functionality, think about which operating systems you use and how you want the device to fit into the network. Most business printers nowadays include full network functionality as standard.
4. Scanning Features
In most cases, a network-connected business printer is the best platform for use as a feature-rich network scanner. With the introduction of colour touchscreen interfaces on many office automation devices and internal processing hardware capable of rivalling most desktop computers, most photocopiers can now scan directly to your desktop, email, or even key business applications such as Sage, Goldmine, and others. Consider how you might want to use the scanning features of the machines and what efficiencies may be found within your business processes when looking at business printers.
5. Additional Features & Benefits
Modern office automation devices provide a plethora of features in addition to the standard feature set. Most modern business printers include some form of open source programming platform embedded in their usable touchscreens. A plethora of “add-on” applications have been created by software developers to improve your printing, photocopying, and scanning experience.
Once you’ve determined the features, speed, and benefits of the office automation device, you should consider the manufacturer and their business and device track record. Sharp, Canon, Ricoh,Toshiba, Samsung, and Konica Minolta are among the many names in the office automation market. Based on their personal preferences, many office automation resellers will be brand loyal to one or two manufacturers. In general, you want to buy equipment from a well-established manufacturer with a large market share who can provide long-term support to you and your chosen reseller. Other factors to consider include the manufacturer’s environmental policies and views on corporate social responsibility, which are typically available on their respective websites.
7. Purchasing Options
In an era when capital expenditure is tightly controlled and closely managed, the modern purchaser is looking for more adaptable ways to fund office automation devices. When selecting a prospective supplier, it is worthwhile to investigate the payment options available in addition to outright purchase. Most businesses now look to lease their office printers as a tax-efficient way to obtain their business printers and more. Leasing additionally offers an excellent upgrade path to ensure the equipment purchased is kept up to date and at the forefront of current technology.
8. Aftersales Support Options
When purchasing a business printer that will form an integral part of a digital document workflow, it is important that you consider what will happen if the device develops a fault. Modern business printers have a large amount of mechanical parts within them and as such are almost certain to suffer from some form of mechanical failure at some point. Key office automation resellers will have some form of aftersales support infrastructure in place normally in the form of a full service agreement. A typical service agreement will cover the cost for all labour and parts required to service the machine and are normally charged at a cost per print or cost per development rate. When choosing a supplier, it would be a good tip to understand what aftersales support options they have available, at what cost and whether they service the equipment themselves, or through a 3rd party.
Business networks are complicated systems comprised of many varying technologies so when considering the addition of a network capable office automation device, it is vital to ensure the hardware will be compatible with your existing systems. Leading office automation suppliers should be able to perform pre-installation surveys to ensure the multifunction business printer is compatible with your network and the software applications you use. However most modern business printers will work with leading software and network hardware. You can normally find more information about the compatibility of a device from its product brochure.
Always a key factor in the purchase of any item however market analysis has shown that price is not always the key focus for many consumers when making office automation purchases. There are many business printer websites so don’t be afraid to shop around and get ball park pricing for the type of business printer you are interested in. Do remember however, when weighing up the price of a potential solution that with the advances in modern office automation devices, it is not just the value of the hardware you will be paying for but also the advanced features and workflow capabilities inherent within the machines in question.