Contrary to many predictions in recent decades, we haven’t become a paperless society. In fact, paper consumption has grown 400% in the last 40 years. Granted, not all that paper is being used in typical offices, but some reports suggest that many offices use more paper than ever. It’s safe to say that business printers aren’t going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon.
Most businesses are still interested in green initiatives and improving efficiencies — both in the amount of paper they use and in regards to time and money. Choosing the right office printer can go a long way in accomplishing these goals. If you think it's time to replace that old printer or are considering a Managed Print service to meet your print needs, it's important to first understand the different types of office printers and which ones may be best suited for your type of business.
Desktop Inkjet Printers
Inkjet printers remain popular in office settings, mostly because of their low cost. A desktop inkjet printer can cost as little as a couple hundred dollars — enticing for many smaller businesses trying to make their dollars stretch as far as possible. Inkjet devices also are easy to use and require very little maintenance.
If your business has a lot of printing needs, however, it likely isn’t the most economical choice. The cost of ink cartridges for these devices is exorbitant, and they require frequent replacements in high use settings. Inkjet printers can produce color and monochrome documents, but they print slowly — something to consider if you have a need for speed.
There are some instances where an inkjet printer is appropriate. Do you have individuals who print checks, highly confidential documents, need photo-quality images or only print a few copies a week? If that’s the case, an inkjet may meet your needs. If you have several people relying on a single inkjet for their printing needs, however, you’re likely better off going a different route.
Desktop Laser Printers
The use of desktop laser printers used to be synonymous with high cost. The prices have come down in recent years, however, making it a more viable option for some businesses. Compared to an inkjet printer, the cost will generally be less over the long run, even though the initial investment is higher. Laser printers use less toner, which is what accounts for the greatest expense of desktop printers, and you can choose a device that prints in black and white, color or both. You can print a large number of documents at one time on a laser printer, and the print speed is far superior to inkjets, although you may sacrifice some image quality.
If the bulk of your printing is in plain text — letters, spreadsheets, etc. — with an occasional logo or graphic, a laser printer may suffice. It’s still important to consider the most appropriate uses and whether a high number of individuals will need to rely on it as their main printer. Its capabilities are limited for many modern offices that require collating, secure print and multiple users from across departments.
As its name suggests, multifunction printers — sometimes called all-in-one printers — perform multiple tasks including copying, printing, scanning, faxing, emailing and more. It can replace the use of several devices and is the best option for offices with multiple users across a network. With more capabilities comes a learning curve for some, but the interface has become much more intuitive and user friendly over time. Multifunction printers also are friendlier on the environment, usually resulting in less paper usage and lower energy bills. If you’re concerned with your organization’s impact on the environment, this should be a major consideration.
Most businesses are hyper-aware of security risks, and multifunction printers should be a consideration for this reason alone. Multifunction printers can require entering a PIN or using swipe-to-print technology to reduce the possibility of a data breach and the likelihood of the wrong person walking away with confidential documents. Properly configured printers can stop internal and external security threats in their tracks.
If you’re concerned about data security — and you should be — implementing the use of a multifunction printer can help your organization make great strides in security and compliance, especially considering that some analysts estimate 70% of businesses have suffered a print-related data breach.
A Combination Approach
If you’re like most businesses, you may have a combination of all of the above. That’s not unusual. Ensuring that the various types of devices work well together, are properly connected to the network, have updated security measures in place and are operating at peak performance is a time-consuming and involved process. Most IT departments already face several demands for their time and need to remain focused on ensuring their systems and servers are secure and functioning properly. Troubleshooting printer issues can distract from these critical functions.
To properly align all your printer needs, consider the benefits of Managed Print. With this type of service, a print technology expert analyzes your unique situation and makes recommendations for creating efficiencies, improving security and saving money in the long run. Surprising to most, many organizations end up consolidating their printer fleet and reducing the number of devices in their office after implementing Managed Print. If you’d like to see if this service is a fit for your organization, reach out to the Gordon Flesch Company for a free, no-obligation assessment.