In Today's World, Multi Function Laser Printers Still Hold A Place As One Of The Most Important Pieces Of Office Equipment.
It’s not like we’re shy on copy and print solutions around the office. Our copiers are more centrally located which means people walk farther to make copies. However, being a HP printer parts supplier means we have more HP printers around the office than most companies do. Yet, we hear from our staff members that MFPs were the “in” thing to have. This began to bring home the benefits of having MFPs in the office.
Being able to make quick copies on the HP printer is a nice benefit. Metrofuser employees definitely took pages that would have been printed on the copier and put them on the MFP unit. However, there are other more valuable benefits we find in the office for the MFP units. We’ve had an old HP M9050 which is a essentially a LaserJet 9000 with a duplex unit, multi-bin mailbox and document scanner.
This unit acts as a printer and copier for our admin folks. If the machine breaks down, it’s easy for us to service ourselves; we have a great warehouse of HP printer parts for it.
In using it as a printer/copier, we’ve also activated the scan to e-mail function. This allows someone to scan a document and e-mail directly to themselves. That person can then e-mail the scanned document, often in Acrobat format, to a customer.
When we tell students about this feature in our HP printer service classes, people often ask why don’t they just e-mail a soft copy of the documents in the first place rather than print a document only to scan it? The reason is that not all documents are originally in soft copy. The form someone sends to us to fill out and fax back can become a scan to e-mail document.
We’ve all seen a fax of a fax of a fax that can’t be read anymore. By scanning the document, it retains its resolution. Not only that, it also becomes a soft copy version the customer can easily send on to others such as their accounting department, or simply read and delete as needed instead of printing.
It took a while to get our office people to use the scan to e-mail function, but once they starting getting feedback from customers about how “high tech” this made them seem they wanted to use it all the time.
While the copy and print function is necessary for the account reps, if there’s a problem with the unit, guess when we hear about it? Yes, when they can’t scan to e-mail. The reps have become so accustom to scanning documents and then e-mailing them to their customers it becomes a huge inconvenience when they can’t do it.
Noting earlier that people can scan a document and e-mail it directly to themselves, you may be asking yourself why aren’t they e-mailing it to a customer directly from the MFP unit? Can’t it be set up that way?
Yes, it can. However, there are safety reasons for not doing this. By setting up the MFP unit to be able to e-mail directly out of the company from the unit a sender can type in any name they want when sending a document. Instead of using my e-mail address, I could type in Joe@ABC.com and send the document to whomever I please.
A disgruntled employee could have a field day with such capability sending secure company documents to competitors, customers or whoever with no way to track back who sent them. By sending documents to them self first, it creates a paper trail when they e-mail the document from their own e-mail address. Also, it allows them to keep track of what they sent to someone as the e-mail documents are in their “sent” folder.
The scanner on the 4345 was decent for its time but today’s faster and higher resolution color units are making copying and scanning easier to use and common place in today’s offices. HP and Lexmark both have a wide selection of MFP units ranging from low end inkjet and laser units to higher production units that compete with copiers.
Both companies seem to be focused more on desktop printing/copy/scan to e-mail, not to forget scan to fax and LAN fax. The fax function allows you to use the MFP to scan a document and send it out directly via a modem in the MFP or via the network using a LAN fax, and also to receive them. However, more often people are saying, “If I can scan to e-mail, why fax?” To which I respond, good question.
There are downsides to using an MFP unit for everything from printing and scanning to e-mailing out documents and faxing. If the unit goes down, everything stops. That’s been one of the greatest arguments I’ve heard about centralized printing where one large copier printer scanner fax machine does it all.
The one large unit, which tends to cost much more than a desktop MFP, can really create a bottleneck should it ever stop working. Then as they age over the next three to four years, the reliability also goes down.
This challenge is pointed out to the owner who then needs to weigh the cost of replacement vs. the increased potential down time or higher expense of maintenance. Some have found their way around this problem by purchasing multiple desktop MFPs. If one goes down, the office continues to function. Also, as the desktop unit ages, the cost of replacement is not nearly as difficult to deal with.
Some would argue that by choosing a desktop MFP unit you loose a lot of features you find in a larger copier unit. Features such as a 3-hole punch, multiple position stapler and wide format paper sizes of 11 x 17 are not typical on a lower end desktop MFP.
While this is true, most people who use the standard central copier don’t use those features. For those who do, it makes sense to have at least one of these units in an office.
However, having only one larger unit and offsetting the office equipment with a couple of MFP units blended in can balance out the demand. Luckily, this also reduces the
amount of prints and copies produced on the larger copier which extends the life of the
more expensive unit.