Are you looking to purchase a new business printer? With so many brands, models and types available, it may be quite daunting to choose one that will meet your business’s requirements. Below, we have highlighted the top 10 factors to consider before making a business printer purchase.
1. Copy Speed
This key statistic tells you at what speed the business printer will produce copies and prints. Expressed as a number or pages per minute, this is normally one of the first requirements discussed when considering the purchase of a new office automation device. The copy speed also correlates to the copy volume with faster business printers generally having a larger copy volume. A typical business printer designed to be shared amongst between 3 to 10 people will normally have a print/copy speed of 25-45 pages per minute (ppm), placing the business printer in the mid-volume category.
2. Copy Volume
This number relates to the number of pages the business printer has been designed to process per month. Generally, business printers with lower copy speeds are designed to process a lower number of prints and copies per month with the copy volume growing in relation to the speed of the office automation device. For ease of understanding, business printers are usually grouped into volume categories rather than dealing with the actual number. The categories include, SOHO (small office, home office) for occasional use, low volume, mid volume, high volume and commercial office automation devices. When considering the purchase of a business printer try to estimate how much the device will be used and select accordingly.
3. Network Capability
When spending what can be a considerable amount of money on office automation, businesses seek to get as many benefits and features from the office automation device as possible. One of the key features of multifunction business printers is the ability to interface with a customers' computer network. Once connected to the network, the humble business printer becomes a powerful, feature rich network printer, scanner, fax server and much more. When looking at network functionality you should consider which operating systems you use as well as how you want the device to sit within the network. Generally, most business printers these days come with full network functionality as standard.
4. Scanning Features
A network connected business printer is generally the ideal platform for use as a feature rich network scanner. With the advent of colour touchscreen interfaces on many office automation devices and internal processing hardware to rival most desktop computers, most photocopiers are now able to scan directly to your desktop, email or even directly into your key business applications such as Sage, Goldmine and many more. When looking at business printers consider how you might want to use the scanning features of the machines and what efficiencies may be found within your business processes.
5. Additional Features & Benefits
Modern office automation devices offer a huge range of features over and above the standard feature set. Most modern business printers include some form of open source programming platform embedded in their usable touchscreens. Software developers have created a whole host of "bolt on" applications specifically designed to enhance your printing, photocopying and scanning experience.
Once you have a good idea of the features, speed and benefits of the office automation device, you may want to start looking at the manufacturer and their reputation as a business and device track record. There are many names within the office automation marketplace including Sharp, Canon, Toshiba, Samsung and Konica Minolta. Many office automation resellers will be brand loyal to one or two manufacturers based on their individual preferences. Generally, you want to purchase equipment from an established manufacturer, with a good market share who will be able to provide longevity of support to you and your chosen reseller. Other considerations can be the manufacture’s Environmental Policies and views on Corporate Social Responsibility of which information is normally found on their respective websites.
7. Purchasing Options
At a time where capital expenditure is controlled and closely managed, the modern purchaser is looking for more flexible ways to source the funding for office automation devices. When choosing your prospective supplier, it is worth investigating the payment options they have available above and beyond outright purchase. Most businesses now look to lease their office printers to provide a tax efficient method for obtaining their business printers and more. Leasing additionally offers an excellent upgrade path to ensure the equipment purchased is kept up to date and at the forefront of current technology.
8. Aftersales Support Options
When purchasing a business printer that will form an integral part of a digital document workflow, it is important that you consider what will happen if the device develops a fault. Modern business printers have a large amount of mechanical parts within them and as such are almost certain to suffer from some form of mechanical failure at some point. Key office automation resellers will have some form of aftersales support infrastructure in place normally in the form of a full service agreement. A typical service agreement will cover the cost for all labour and parts required to service the machine and are normally charged at a cost per print or cost per development rate. When choosing a supplier, it would be a good tip to understand what aftersales support options they have available, at what cost and whether they service the equipment themselves, or through a 3rd party.
Business networks are complicated systems comprised of many varying technologies so when considering the addition of a network capable office automation device, it is vital to ensure the hardware will be compatible with your existing systems. Leading office automation suppliers should be able to perform pre-installation surveys to ensure the multifunction business printer is compatible with your network and the software applications you use. However most modern business printers will work with leading software and network hardware. You can normally find more information about the compatibility of a device from its product brochure.
Always a key factor in the purchase of any item however market analysis has shown that price is not always the key focus for many consumers when making office automation purchases. There are many business printer websites so don't be afraid to shop around and get ball park pricing for the type of business printer you are interested in. Do remember however, when weighing up the price of a potential solution that with the advances in modern office automation devices, it is not just the value of the hardware you will be paying for but also the advanced features and workflow capabilities inherent within the machines in question.
Once you have decided on the above factors, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of the business printer models you are considering for your purchase. If would you like to get more advice from one of our expert solutions consultants, contact us and they will be able to recommend the perfect printing solution to suit your needs.