Although the digital age has made electronic communication much more prevalent, there is still a need for physical documents. In many offices, the printer remains a vital component of workflows, responsible for ensuring smooth business processes. So, having the right printer in place matters.
Fortunately, as technology has advanced, so have these machines. Gone are the days when a printer only made documents. Now, multifunction printers (MFPs) have a wide range of features and benefits that can make your office far more productive and efficient. This blog post will outline the fundamentals of multifunction printers and illustrate why they can be so valuable.
What Multifunction Printers Have to Offer
Depending on the size and scope of your office environment, it is vital to have a multifunction printer that can handle as many tasks as possible. While some units will have tons of features, other MFPs will only have a few. Here is a breakdown of the most common elements included with an MFP beyond printing:
- Scanning – Since we live in the digital age, it is far more efficient to store documents digitally and share them electronically. Scanners allow you to digitize any paperwork, with the best models delivering pristine picture quality. Scanners are excellent tools for offices where physical copies have to be signed then uploaded into a digital database.
- Copying – Making copies is a fundamental component of an office printer. The best copiers will be able to capture fine details from the source image and replicate them. High-end MFPs can collate multiple pages to save time and energy when creating booklets or packets.
- Faxing – While email is the fastest communication method, sensitive documents may need to be faxed instead. With the right multifunction printer, you could print a form, sign it, then securely fax it to the recipient, all without leaving the workstation.
- Email – As MFPs become more productive, some of them will even come with a proprietary email account. In this case, you can send and receive messages directly from the printer. This feature streamlines the communication process, as you can print attachments without having to transfer them to a secondary device. Even if the email wasn’t delivered to the printer itself, you could forward messages from a personal account.
- Document Preparation – While collating can help organize multiple pages, some high-end multifunction printers can go even further and staple pages together, punch holes in them, or even fold individual pieces. These functions are perfect for offices where making booklets and packets are the norm.
Buy or Lease: How to Acquire a Multifunction Printer
Depending on your office size, you may need a large and expensive MFP. Because these models can be costly, you will have to decide whether to buy or lease. There are pros and cons to both options, as outlined below.
Pros of Buying a Multifunction Printer
- Equipment is proprietary, and you can either pay it off upfront or in installments
- You can use the printer however you like
Cons of Buying a Multifunction Printer
- You are responsible for upkeep and maintenance
- Upfront costs can be relatively high
- If the printer dies or you need an upgrade, you have to buy a new model
Pros of Leasing a Multifunction Printer
- Lower upfront costs since you are paying monthly
- It is easier to upgrade units in the future, so you always have access to the latest technology and features
- You are not responsible for maintenance, your lessor is
Cons of Leasing a Multifunction Printer
- Your lease agreement may prohibit specific uses or activities
- Your costs will be ongoing, rather than a single investment
Overall, if your office needs a high-end multifunction printer and generates a lot of paperwork, leasing one of these models is often the better choice. Not only can you save money upfront, but you can get repairs and upgrades with your lease. Since your machine will likely experience a lot of wear and tear, this peace of mind can be invaluable.
Another advantage of leasing is that you can have access to machinery that would otherwise be too expensive to purchase. For example, if you have had to make do with a less capable MFP, you can upgrade without incurring a substantial bill. Conversely, if you don’t print or scan documents that often, it may be better to purchase a smaller unit since you don’t want to pay monthly for a product that doesn’t get used as much.
Can You Get a Multifunction Printer from Anyone?
Once you’ve decided to lease or buy, you need to find the right vendor. If you lease, you want to make sure that you’re getting an excellent deal with favorable advantages. Here are some ways to choose the best multifunction printer vendor for your office.
Know Which Features You Need
While having an MFP that can create booklets and packets can be nice, there is no reason to pay for those features if you won’t use them. Before meeting with a salesperson, have a list of features ready so that you know which machine will work best for your workflows. This way, you can get information on the printers that focus on your specific needs.
Request a Demonstration
Typically, multifunction printers are easy to use, but some of them come with a learning curve. You don’t want to get a machine in the office and have your employees struggle to use it because it’s too complicated. Not only can a demonstration make onboarding faster, but you can make sure that everyone utilizes the machine more efficiently.
Ask for References
This step is necessary when leasing equipment, as you have to ensure that the company is reputable. Ask the references about their experience with the vendor, including repair options, upgrades, and renewals.
Usually, you never want to sign with the first company you meet. Even if the deal sounds fantastic, you want to compare options before making a final decision to ensure you find the right provider.
If your Wisconsin business is ready to see how a multifunction printer can transform your office’s productivity, contact Wisconsin Document Imaging today. The right machine can make a world of difference to your bottom line.