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.
Most meetings, whether they’re a budget or project review, a brainstorming session or a training course, rely on visual tools like a white board, a PowerPoint presentation or a flip chart.
Imagine being able to project a project plan, an engineering drawing or your PowerPoint presentation on a wall in any office and write down all of the ideas generated by the team on the wall with "digital ink."
Imagine being able to use a pen to capture all the notes on the whiteboard or flipchart and save them to computer file that can be shared.
Imagine enabling remote team members or long-distance clients to participate in meetings by viewing and writing on the whiteboard.
Think of the benefits. Participation, interest and productivity would all increase.
An innovative projection system called an ultrashort throw projector can make this happen. We demonstrated this projector recently at the Chamber of Commerce Showcase at Crown Isle and people couldn’t stop talking about it.
Similar to the "Smartboard" technology that is used in many classrooms, the projector transforms a whiteboard or an office wall into an interactive surface. Unlike a Smartboard, however, ultra-short throw projectors are compact, lightweight and mobile. (Not to mention less expensive-about a third of the price!)
One of its main advantages is that the lightweight projector fits virtually anywhere, thereby turning any place into a meeting space. Due to its free-form mirror technology, the system can project a high-quality, high-definition 48-inch image onto any flat surface, such as a window or wall, from as close as five inches away.
This means presenters needn’t worry about casting shadows or being blinded like the proverbial deer in the headlights.
Using interactive software, presenters have the option to share screens remotely, use “digital pens” so they can add notes directly to presentations and tailor every presentation, even when presenting to multiple audiences in multiple locations.
Various app and software options allow for remote control, pointer tools and interconnectivity with smartphones and tablets. And once the meeting is over, everyone can have his or her own personalized file of the presentation. Try to do THAT with a flip chart!
Your boring meetings and presentations just got a whole lot more interesting!
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 250.871.0116 or email@example.com.
AGS Business Systems Inc. has a new home in Nanaimo
The business system sales and service company, which is now in its 38th year, recently moved into its new location at 1850 Northfield Road. Owners Bill and Jackie Millar and Peter Moss had been searching for a building to purchase for years, and the new site, on one of the busiest streets in Nanaimo, is equally visible as their former office on Bowen Road, where they'd been for the past seven years.
"We're dedicated to Vancouver Island and we're always looking for other opportunities to expand the business into other locations on the Island," said Millar, president of the company which also has locations in Parksville, on Stanford Avenue, and Courtenay, on Cliffe Avenue.
"We've worked hard to make the business what it is today." AGS offers sales and service for Ricoh copiers, printers, faxes, computers and business machines, and covers the Island from the Cowichan Valley to Port Hardy with 20 staff members.
"Our sales and service teams are on the road constantly, meeting with existing and potentially new customers and introducing them to the newest ways of printing, scanning, copying and other office requirements that are currently available in a field where technological advances move quickly," Millar said.
"When customers call us requiring service, they usually need assistance right away in a busy office environment, so we'd be nowhere without our service teams and their hard work." The Millars welcomed Moss as a partner four years ago, and the arrangement has worked wonderfully for the company.
Bill Millar, as President, oversees the office; Jackie looks after several key accounts, and Moss, who joined AGS after a lengthy and successful tenure as a dealer-owner, then Ricoh branch sales manager in Edmonton, is the company's Vice President of Sales Vancouver Island.
"We've been able to grow a solid business on the Island, and we're very glad to have Peter join us and help us keep the momentum going," said Millar, who bought the business on January 1, 1993 with his wife and partner Jackie from Allen Smallenberg, who founded the business.
Jackie first met Peter when they golfed together at a Ricoh golf tournament, and Moss has family on the Island. "I planned to come here anyway," said Moss. "Our plan was to come here, but talking to Bill and Jackie accelerated our plans. We found we had a very similar ideology of doing business, in the way we treat employees and our customer-comes-first attitude."
Joining the Millars at AGS was a perfect fit for Moss. "This is more what I feel comfortable with. I understand how small, medium and large businesses operate, and I know what they need. I understand their cost and cash flow efficiencies - that's what I like to do," Moss said. "That's what we want AGS to market. AGS offers total document management solutions through the implementation of electronic work flows to help reduce our customers' pay per usage, and ultimately reduce their costs. That's the strategy we share when we walk into a customers' office."
Being owner-operators is an advantage, and Millar believes that gives AGS an extra level of understanding that helps them understand their clients.
"We're at the same level of understanding as our customers because we're in business ourselves," he said. "There's a big difference between which side of the cheque you sign. That makes all the difference."
Moss added: "We understand the realities of business, as we've gone through what other business owners have. We're in the trenches, too."
Prior to coming to the Island to buy AGS, Millar had a lengthy, distinguished career in sales and management with 3M in Toronto and Edmonton. The Millars have worked hard and made several key advancements over the years. The first was in 1999, when they moved from Hirst Avenue in Parksville to a location across from the Coastal Community Credit Union next to the Island Highway, which gave them more visibility.
Coastal Community also became one of their best clients, solidifying their customer base, and injecting added confidence into the company.
"That gave us a new lease on life," Millar recalled. "We felt good about ourselves, and we hit $1million in sales for the first time. That was a very big year for us, and it's been all uphill from there." Adding Moss as a partner has enabled AGS to climb to a new level.
"Every day, he's out there with sales people making calls, and he's a first class person. There's not a day goes by that we're not thankful for having Peter come and join us."
Moss added: "I never have to wake up in the morning and say 'I have to go to work', because I love what I do. I like being out there in front of the customers."
Millar believes "the difference between AGS and the multinationals is we're here to stay, and we deal with all the changes in the marketplace. We're a part of Vancouver Island. Working for ourselves, we sign the front of the cheques. But we've also had the experience of working for the corporations where we signed the back of the cheque.
"We'll continue to plough the field we've always ploughed, concentrating 100 per cent on Vancouver Island. There's not an area on the Island that we've not found, or have in our sight," said Millar. "We say that AGS stands for A Great Store, and Always Great Service," stated Millar. "We've outlasted a lot of companies’ in this business that have come and gone, and we'll continue to concentrate 100 per cent on Vancouver Island."
Originally Published in the Vancouver Island Business Examiner