Does your moody old scanner have you mad as hell and reliving the scene from Office Space as you plot its demise? Perhaps you dream of smashing your old copier with a hammer. Whatever the frustration, in this age of multitasking, a new commercial-grade multifunction printer (MFP) makes sense for many organizations.
A business might buy a higher grade of MFP for many reasons, including efficiency, increased productivity, better reliability, competent support and, of course, cost savings. But before you head out with credit card in hand, here are a few things to consider:
1. Understand your needs. Take a good look at the volume and type of printing you're doing. Will consumer-grade equipment (low initial cost, high operating cost) cut it or should you move up to commercial grade? Are you using several small printers around the office? Are you outsourcing any printing? Do you print different types of materials, such as brochures and manuals? The potential for cost savings could be tremendous.
2. Examine your workflow. Is time being wasted by over-handling documents and hopping around between equipment? Could you benefit from an MFP with special organizing software?
3. Ensure you can support a commercial- grade printer. Printing is essential in most offices, but it can be frustrating if things go wrong. Does your business have IT people on hand if there's a hiccup? If not, make sure your supplier has local IT capability and can help if there's a problem.
4. Investigate suppliers. If you have a question, will you be stuck making your way through a phone tree or will you talk to a real, live person? Does the supplier have enough technicians to respond quickly? Do they offer continuous training as your staff changes and your work processes change? Do they regularly perform preventative maintenance to correct problems before they occur?
5. Think about the future. What happens if your needs or the technology changes? Is the supplier willing and able to upgrade your equipment for you? Is the supplier growing in your local market or are they shrinking?
Buying any new piece of equipment takes careful consideration. Both the product and the supplier need to be reliable, so take the time to do your research. Like all new ventures, expect a learning curve; with the proper equipment from the right people, it's some short-term pain for long-term gain.
AGS Business Systems has been providing office technology to Vancouver Island customers since 1976 and prides itself on being 100% locally Island owned and operated.
Don Linder can be reached at (250) 756-5611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.