A little while ago I was talking to one of our clients in Hamilton ON and he described looking for a multifunction copier (MFP) as like looking for a furnace, "Something you have to do not something you want to do". His premise was this was a necessary evil not a necessity.
I want to differ with his assessment. Now don't get me wrong. I fully understand that the average purchaser of a multifunction print device is not going to be as excited about their search as the manufacturers who build them or the dealers who sell them might be. On the other hand the functionality that they provide is much greater than a furnace!
Another colleague described these devices as a "document workflow station". Nice jargon I think, but his assessment is more true than the furnace analogy. These devices provide multiple means to scan documents, a function which is now used by over 85% of the organizations who buy an MFP. The types of scanning available are wide with scan to folder, network share, e-mail, ftp, and twain pull being common on most devices. We have clients who use the scanning to feed document management systems, both in house and cloud based.
They also have replaced the fax machine in most offices. Either by providing easy conversion of paper to scanned images available for e-mail or by incorporating the fax into the MFP device, stand alone faxes have largely been replaced by the MFP. Using specialized software it is possible to take the place of the fax by using the scan capability and then routing the image to a secondary process for delivery as a fax. This type of install can save the cost of the fax option as well as the dedicated phone line a fax would require. There is potential for significant savings with this arrangement.
Of course MFP devices still can make a photocopy just as copiers always have, but with much better quality and much more flexibility.
Finally, MFP devices are largely printers. Most of my clients refer to them as printers, not copiers, reflecting the dominate use they make of the devices. As printers they offer many productivity enhancements that laser printers seldom provide including advanced finishing options, multiple paper sources, and colour output options.
When a client looks at these devices I understand it is not as sexy as looking for diamonds or a nice new boat, or even a new set of golf clubs. But a furnace? Not on your life.
The potential benefit that a multifunction copier can provide is much higher, more impactful on the productivity and efficiency in an office any day. Working with the right supplier who takes the time to talk about your workflow and the other software tools which new machines can integrate really does make the MFP a document workflow station...one which can work wonders in reducing stress, effort and cost in your office.
What is your favourite function on your MFP? How has a new feature on an MFP made your work easier? What else might you like it to do?