Questions to Ask When Choosing an Office Printer or Copier

Having the right printer or copier can greatly boost the efficiency of your business processes. Some offices still have their printers and copiers as separate devices while others have these devices consolidated in one device: the multifunction printer or MFP.
Multifunction printers consolidate copying, printing, scanning, and sometimes even faxing into one device which not only makes usage more convenient but also helps in cutting down costs.

This comprehensive guide focuses on how to choose a printer/copier, featuring the key questions that you need to ask. Here at Integr8, we’ve worked with businesses big and small and we always recommend consolidating printing and copying (along with other functions) through the use of an MFP – but still, this is a decision for business owners to make. So here is the first question you need to ask.

Closeup shot of an employee using an MFP

1. Is it better for me to have my printer and copier as separate devices or consolidated in an MFP? What’s the difference?

If you’re already set on getting a multifunction printer, please feel free to skip this part. Otherwise, here are some points to think about:

Convenience & Versatility

MFPs tend to have a more compact design, thereby occupying less space compared to if you have separate devices. Moreover, MFPs can be placed in any area of the office where there is better accessibility for the departments that need to use it. This makes MFPs far more convenient to use.

Multifunction printers are connected to computers via a wired or wireless connection – but they can also be operated directly from their control panel like how standalone copiers are used. This versatility makes multifunction printers able to adapt to different kinds of workplace setups and business needs.

Costs

Many businesses that opt to get separate devices (a desktop printer and a copier) often do so because of immediate cost considerations – especially for small to medium-sized businesses. If the office already has a copier in place and only needs to replace a damaged printer, then oftentimes, a desktop printer is chosen to fill the need – and vice versa.

But in this above scenario, the savings only involve initial costs. What about recurring or long-term costs? You see, having separate devices typically means that there is a greater electric consumption. Moreover, the devices need to be maintained separately which equates to even more additional costs.

Future Needs

And here’s another consideration. What about the future needs of your business? As your business grows, greater efficiency will be expected from it. There won’t be room for the lag and extra long-term costs that a fragmented device system entails.

Moreover, MFP’s are capable of far more than just the consolidation of functions like printing, copying and the like. Here are some additional functions that can be very helpful to a growing business:

  • MFPs of today are intelligent network devices that are better equipped to allow for Digital Document Management.
  • With MFPs, you can setup Pull printing or FollowMe printing which mainly prevents sensitive documents from sitting on output trays where they can get lost or stolen – among other extra security measures.
  • Some MFPs also allow for the usage of passwords to further secure the printing process.

So yes, multifunction printers offer plenty of benefits for most businesses of today. But with all the options available, how do you figure out which one is for you? Here are more questions to help you narrow down your options.

2. What is my business’s needs in terms of printing volume?

How often do employees need to print within the course of the day? How many rims of paper does your business go through every month? By answering these questions about your business, you will be better able to assess which printers have the appropriate monthly duty cycle.

The monthly duty cycle is the number of pages that the MFP can print every month at the rated print quality of the machine without any errors or jams. This number is based on the results of stress testing done on a printer model. All printers have this limit. It’s important to match this feature with your needs because going beyond the monthly duty cycle of the printer can cause the machine to break down.

3. What kind of paper do I need to print on?

Take note of the types of paper that you use. You’ll be able to check if the MFP can print on these by looking at the media types supported.

When it comes to MFP specs, media types will tell you what kind of paper products that the MFP can print on. These can be the following: plain, recycled, coloured, tracing, bond, transparency, pre-punched, letterhead, envelope, and so on.

Closeup shot of an employee using an MFP

4. What is the printer technology or machine type?

This one is simple. Make sure that you are getting an MFP that utilizes laser or laser colour technology. There are also inkjet MFPs available in the market but these are typically good for home-use only as they are not suitable for the high-demands of office printing.

5. What “dpi” or resolution do I need, exactly?

When it comes to printer specifications, dpi (or dots per inch) is usually used to express any kind of resolution – whether it’s for printing, copying, scanning, or faxing. As you might already know, the higher the resolution, the clearer and crisper the image or file output. The standard dpi that you can look for, to ensure the clarity of printed and copied files, is 300dpi. In some cases, 150dpi might be acceptable but it’s not advisable to go any lower than this.

6. What speed do I need for printing or copying?

PPM or pages per minute is another important MFP specification to look at. If you are printing or copying more than 40,000 pages per month or more than 1000 pages a day, then a speed of 60ppm is the standard number to look for. But if your print or copy demand is lower than this, such as with small to medium-sized businesses, the range of around 25ppm – 50ppm would typically be sufficient.

7. What copy features do I need to look at?

Copy speed or dpi may not be enough for your business needs. There are additional copy features in some MFP’s that could make your copying jobs a whole lot easier and faster. Here are some examples:

  • Reduce/enlarge
  • Lighter/darker
  • Book to two pages
  • Page numbering, date
  • Secure watermark
  • Skip blank pages

8. Should I get an MFP that can print from mobile?

With mobile printing, your employees can easily print from virtually any device. Since society is becoming increasingly mobile, this could be a good way to boost productivity as well as employee morale. There are some MFP’s out there that have this built-in capacity. It’s definitely a specification that’s worth looking at.

9. What security features should I look for?

There is a wide range of security features that come with your MFP. These, of course, differ from device to device. The more sensitive files you print/copy in your business, the more you should make sure that sufficient printing security is in place. Here are some example features that you can look for:

  • Password for login/transmission
  • Data encryption
  • Data overwrite erase
  • Job log conceal
  • Firewall functionality

10. What if I want to set up FollowMe Printing & Digital Document Management?

We’ve mentioned at the start of this article that MFPs are typically ready to be set up with FollowMe Printing and Digital Document Management. However, these aren’t features that are usually built-in. Though you can confirm if the MFP can be configured to have these functionalities, FollowMe Printing and Digital Document Management are set up by an MPS (Managed Print Services) provider like Integr8.

11. Where will I put the MFP in my office?

Multifunction printers serve the function of a fleet of devices like printers, copiers, scanner, and even fax machines – all rolled into one. This means a decreased device footprint in your office – which is great. However, dimensions matter a lot especially if your space is limited. You’d want to put the MFP at a central, accessible location to maximize productivity. So look at the dimensions of the printer and see if it can fit where you intend to put it.

12. Is there any way I can get professional help with my printer purchase and set up?

Absolutely! Integr8 is the leading provider of Managed Print Services in Canada and the United States. Not only can we help you select the best possible MFP/s to fit your needs, but we can also assist with the needed set up so that your business can operate with increased ease and productivity.

So why wait? Contact us today! Simply leave your contact details with us and we will give you a call – so we can get started.

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