Posted on October 15, 2020

For decades, people have discussed, debated, and attempted to implement the paperless office. In today’s era of digital transformation, there is an abundance of collaboration tools and services that allow the sharing information and data through digital documents. And yet, the need to print documents on paper still exists. Using a printed copy of a document is convenient. A printed document is portable, doesn’t require a digital device or network connection, and won’t lose battery power as you review it. Almost half of businesses responding to one survey said print will continue to be important through 2025.  This means that choosing the print device that’s right for your firm will continue to be a key decision for the foreseeable future. Here are some things to consider as you evaluate your organization’s office print device needs.

Single function or multifunction printer?

If your firm only needs to print or copy documents, a single-function printer or digital copier may be a good decision. However, multifunction printers (MFP) that print, copy, scan, and fax have become the most popular office print devices and for good reason: having all those functions in one device is economical and efficient when compared to acquiring and managing several separate devices. Additionally, device, document, and information security is enhanced by reducing print, copy, scan, and fax security management points to a single device. 

 

An image showing a RICOH IM 430F multi-function printer and a RICOH IM C6000 multi-function printer.

Page volume needs

You probably already have a good idea of the total number of pages your firm prints, copies, and faxes each month. If you don’t, tracking the reams of paper (500 sheets per ream) you use during a month can provide a rough estimate. Using print tracking software to monitor device activity can give a more accurate view of work volume trends and answer questions like:

  1. How many print jobs happen during a month? 
  2. How many pages does the average print job consist of? Are they one to three pages, or hundreds of pages each?
  3. Is there a time of day, week, or month that most of the printing occurs?
  4. How much scanning is happening and when?

Having this information will help determine whether a small compact device used for less than 100 pages a day is a suitable solution, or whether a larger more robust device is required. A larger device can handle thousands of pages per month or can sit idle for several days but then get cranked up to produce a high volume of output over a short period of time. Understanding your page volume needs in this way is also a factor in deciding the speed of the device needed.   

An image of the Sharp MX-5051

Sharp MX-5051.

The need for speed

A high-speed MFP or printer will make printing and copying a high volume of printing each month efficient and productive. Additionally, if you’re an organization with many employees sharing the print device then a speedy MFP can eliminate backlogs and wait times for your workers, letting them get on with other more productive aspects of their jobs. However, if you’re a smaller firm and find your average print job is between one to three pages in length, a less expensive, lower-speed alternative may be the best answer. Each organization’s print speed needs are unique, and a professional solutions provider will help you review your page volume needs, the number of employees that will use the MFP, and other factors to help select the most productive speed range for your decision. 

Document sizes and capacities

Most print and copy output is letter size (8.5″ x 11″) and all office print devices can print on that size of paper. However, depending on your industry, you may find the need to print or copy on different sizes of paper ranging from statement (5.5” x 8.5”) to legal (8.5” x 14”). Today there is a large selection of efficient office print devices designated as A4 that will economically handle that range of print output. However, if you find you also need to print or copy documents larger than legal size, an A3 MFP or printer is what you’ll need. These MFPs can print up to ledger (11” x 17”) sheets (and some will print up to oversize 12” x 18” sheets).

An image of the Sharp MX-8090N

Sharp MX-8090N.

Another consideration is the capacity of the paper/media input trays of the device. Higher capacity means less time spent reloading paper, improving overall worker productivity. Also, multiple paper drawers or cassettes means having the ability to have multiple sizes of paper ready to go, once again improving productivity by eliminating the need to change cassettes or load paper when printing on different sizes of media.

Features and accessories to help you create what you need

Features such as automatic duplexing and “N-up” printing (printing multiple pages on a single sheet of paper) let you conserve paper and make convenient document packets. Automatic document feeders for multi-page packets that scan both sides of a page in a single pass provide fast scanning when copying, faxing, or scanning documents. Almost all MFPs and printers offer such features. Finishing accessories that staple (corner, saddle stitch, or magazine type), fold, bind, and hole punch can be used to create finished packets, booklets, magazines, or pages for notebooks. Knowing what you’d like your final print output to look like will guide the selection of finishing options to add.

An image comparing the HP M477 printer and the HP E57540 printer.

Whether your firm is ready to replace an older print device or is looking at adding a new one, the considerations above are good starting places for coming to a decision.  Other things to consider include:

  • Whether you need a device that prints in color
  • Whether the device supports mobile printing
  • What kind of security features are required and available
  • What kind of software or services the device integrates with (scan to email, scan to cloud, integration with workflow applications, etc.)

The professionals at Centric Business Systems can help you analyze your firm’s specific needs to help understand your office printing needs, and what you can do with the newest MFP and print technologies to assist you in making the best decision possible. We’ll help you configure the product to meet your needs and provide service and support that will exceed your expectations. For more information on how we can serve you visit www.centricbiz.com.