If you have a company looking into a multifunction printer, you have given some thought to what you will need. Back in the ’90s when many of us were just getting into the business, fax was one of the more important parts of the office copier.
Now, when talking about a multifunction printer, print, copy and scan are the three features that matter the most, often with print and scan being the two most important. Many people have abandoned the copy feature as their office has migrated to a more electronic records-based system (like Square 9 for document management)
We want to cover how the multifunction printer is most commonly used in today’s managed office and help give you ideas how to use your next copier to make your business more efficient.
How the Fax Became Less Useful to Modern Businesses
Fax used to be how we would get orders from companies. Every office had a fax machine sitting in the middle of the office, usually not even connected to the copier. Then, copier companies started offering fax cards to go into their multifunction printers. These were expensive, often $1,000 or so for this, but it was far more convenient than having multiple devices.
Plus getting away from thermal paper saved a ton of costs on paper.
Then email started to gain traction for most businesses by the very late ’90’s. Once this happened, it was a slow death for the fax machine.
Instead of faxing an order, it could be emailed. The order wasn’t lost in the shuffle of papers at the fax machine.
Email Makes Scanning More Important
Now that we were emailing one another, rather than faxing or calling as much, scanning became more necessary. This would take the paper we were still printing and make it electronic so it could be shared. Who hasn’t sent a huge set of scanned files to a co-worker or an accountant?
The smaller footprint of a multifunction printer allowed people to print and scan without having to go to the central copier hub. It could be done more in the local area where they were working and done rather cheaply.
Where Do People Need Print, Copy and Scan Functions?
Most people in the company will use and need these three functions. They could be sitting on the main floor or the warehouse. The need will still be there. Communication requires scanning, and many processes require printing (or people simply like to look at the output on printed sheets.)
What Is the Future? Trends in Multifunction Printers
We cannot fully predict the future, but by selling copiers we do pay attention to trends in the marketplace. Here are some trends we are seeing with multifunction printers.
- 11″ x 17″ paper is going down year over year.
- A3 copiers are shrinking and A4 copiers (multifunction letter/legal) are going up in terms of number of units.
- Print management, document management and managed IT support have helped companies print less.
- Print manufacturers are making maintenance more end user-centric, requiring less technical intervention.
- Copier companies have shifted to a just-in-time method of fulfillment, and stocking has generally moved from the local dealer to a manufacturer’s warehouse.
- Software packages like Square 9 are helping companies with automation, which makes paper less necessary.
- HIPAA and other regulations have also impacted how copiers are used. These regulations have made printing and scanning with EHR support massively critical in the healthcare space.
- Wireless printing and color printing are becoming much more important than copying and scanning.
- Faxes have become more of a niche-based product.
- A good scanner is critical for most clients.
We Can Help!
If you have been looking at getting a copier for your business that can print, copy and scan, we can help. We have been working with copiers for decades and are authorized by Canon, Konica Minolta, Xerox, HP and Sharp to help you find the perfect multifunction printer.