If you’re able to hire someone who can perform the duties of four people, saving on space and costs, then you would most likely jump at the chance. The multifunction printer is the office equipment equivalent – one device that has the functionality of a printer, copier, scanner and fax all in one beautiful machine.
There are so many multifunction printers on the market, so here are 9 things to consider before buying this game-changing device.
9 Things Consider When Buying a Multifunction Printer
1. What do you want out of your multifunction printer?
The capabilities of multifunction printers differ from make to make and model to model, so it’s important to discern exactly what you want from your device. Try to get an average of how many copy, print, scan and fax jobs are performed in a day and how many people will be using the device. The multifunction printer is in place to ease workflow and increase production so you need to analyse exactly how this can be done.
2. Network compatibility
Multifunction printers are able to operate from computers connected to a central server, USB connections or wirelessly so you need to decide which system will suit your needs best. If employees will be operating from various devices, then a wireless (WiFi) option is probably your best bet – it also means fewer cords. If you have outsiders coming into the office with documents to print then you might need to consider a multifunction printer with USB capabilities.
3. To fax or not to fax?
While fax operations are fast becoming a thing of the past, there are still institutions – such as the South African government – that require signed documents to be faxed through. Certain multifunction printers do not have fax services, so this is something worth considering. However, there are online services that allow for fax-to-email which means you don’t necessarily need a fax.
4. Ease of use
The more modern multifunction printers are designed with ease of user operations in mind. There are new-generation multifunction printers that work off tablets and smartphones, allowing for remote access. Ensure the setup and running of the multifunction printer is not too complicated and – if so – what support is offered.
5. Will it fit?
The multifunction printer comes in a range of sizes, from those that can sit on a desk to stand-up printers. Obviously, the bigger the printer the bigger the operational capacity, but if you have limited office space then this will need to be considered before purchase.
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6. Network security
Multifunction printers, as with all electronic devices with internet connectivity, are susceptible to outside interference. They can store valuable data, and for companies that operate in sensitive material, network security is imperative. Check with the supplier about enhanced intrusion prevention standards including data encryption.
7. Scanning requirements
Document scanning is often a primary function for businesses investing in multifunction printers, which is why considering the scanning resolution is important. Most multifunction printers are available in low-to-medium resolution scanning, but for organisations requiring high resolution scanning then you will need to invest in a multifunction printer with this capability.
8. Automatic feeders and duplexing
For bulk copy, fax and scan requirements, you will need to invest in a multifunction printer that has an automatic document feeder holding 50 sheets or more. There is also the paper-saving option of printing two-sided documents. For this, you will need an automatic duplexing multifunction printer, otherwise you will manually have to flip pages which allows for print errors.
9. Is there support?
Regardless of what multifunction printer you choose, there will always be a need for some form of support. Cartridge replacement, network capabilities, device malfunctions…will there be somebody at your beck and call to help? Check with the supplier about their ongoing support services.
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Investing in a multifunction printer can substantially improve workflow, however, you will need to match the right multifunction printer with your needs and budget. Research the various types available and make sure you work with a reputable supplier to make this a truly worthwhile purchase.