Office Document Strategies Blog

15 Myths About Your Photocopier | Burlington ON

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 @ 08:01 AM

Myths About Photocopiers  Photocopiers have been around for over fifty years now and are seen as a staple of most offices.  Over the years there are many things which have come to be believed about these devices and which have led to many users  having a love hate relationship with them.  Here's some of the myths that have arisen and why they exist.  How does your photocopier perception stack up?

  1. Photocopiers are unreliable.  This myth reflects a perception that many offices experience largely driven by the paper jams and other factors which photocopiers and multifunction printers experience.  In the book Advanced Design Concepts for Engineers the analysis of mean failure rates for copiers indicates it is actually as low as 0.0002 failures per running hour which is a very low rate.

  2. Photocopiers are expensive.  While it is possible to spend many thousands of dollars for a photocopier over the past ten years the average cost of a photocopier has declined by as much as fifty percent while the capabilities have increased substantially.  Much of this decline is because of the increased use of digital components in photocopiers.

  3. The photocopier is a single function device which can simply reproduce paper copies easily.  Of course this is what the original devices did but over the years many new capabilities have been added: double sided production, expansion and reduction, printing from a computer network, scanning, faxing, file storage, direct communication to the internet and many more advanced capabilities have become part of the mix.

  4. Photocopiers are difficult to learn to use.  Many users become frustrated by the menuing systems and the many features of a photocopier.  For modern systems the feature sets have been grouped and the menuing structures changed to make it much easier for users to access the device.  Many brands including the Kyocera brand include an info button which offers context sensitive help to users.

  5. Photocopiers are difficult to assess and to buy.  While this may have been a case in the past it is no longer the norm.  With some consultation with your vendor it is easier to determine what might fit your needs than in the past.  Online information can also assist in your determination.

  6. All models and brands are the same so I should just buy the cheapest I can find.  This is definately not the case.  Matching your needs to the devices which reflect the level of use and the number of users is an important part of the buying decision.  Doing some basic homework will pay dividends in the long run.

  7. An inkjet photocopier will be the easiest and cheapest.  Most inkjet photocopiers are designed exclusively for home or very small office use.  They are not very fast (although faster than in the past) and the operating costs on a per page basis will be high.  If your need is for a daily use of only a few pages then inkjet can work but otherwise look for a laser based product.

  8. I might as well buy the fastest device I can afford after all speed is important.  Photocopiers have definately increased in speed with many fairly low priced and small footprint devices offering thirty plus page per minute output.  With this said it does not make much sense to run and operate a device capable of fifty or sixty pages per minute if your daily output will only be a hundred or so pages per day.  The higher speed device will cost more in consumables and maintenance as well as capital cost for no gain in output, given low volumes.  Matching your volume to the speed needed is an important buying criteria.

  9. The best place to get a photocopier is direct from the manufacturer.  Traditionally most photocopiers have been sold and supported through a dealer network associated with various brands.  In North America over the past fifteen years more manufacturers have attempted to sell their product directly, especially in large centres.  Dealerships represent a major piece of the market however as they offer a more customer focussed and service based approach to the market.  Several manufacturers embrace a dealer only approach (Kyocera and Samsung are two) with the dealer being the ultimate delivery agent and the end user support resource for more personalized attention.  Prices are generally market driven not driven by the channel used.

  10. Bigger is better.  In the early days of photocopying you had to buy a big device to get the advanced features of the day.  In todays market you can get most of the advanced features in much smaller packages designed to support workgroups or smaller offices.  Matching the features and needs is one of the key pieces that the knowledgeable dealer brings to the copier acquisition process.

  11. North American or Japanese manufactured products are best.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the name brand on a device does not any longer indicate the true location of manufacturing.  Photocopiers are built all over the world, although most are built in China or Korea.  Components can come from many other jurisdictions as well.  There is little manufacturing, although some assembly, done in North America or Europe these days.

  12. Photocopiers only make monochrome copies.   This was largely true up until the past decade.  Today even a small office can afford to have the ability to have photocopying and printing in colour if it is needed.

  13. Photocopiers are still used primarily to make copies of previously printed materials.  This is no longer true.  Most copiers spend less than twenty percent of their operating time making photocopies.  They spend much more of their time in producing original prints or in scanning mode.

  14. Faxing using a photocopier is more costly than a stand alone fax machine.  In many offices fax activity has been replaced by email, however in most offices it is still necessary to have a fax machine available.  The majority of fax devices sold today are actually done so as part of a multifunction print device with photocopy capability.  Purely stand alone faxes are few and far between in the modern office market.

  15. Photocopiers take a lot of service.  A solid support plan for a photocopier is a good idea for any office.  The reason, however, is not that the device needs a lot of service.  The reason is much more focussed on the criticality of the functions the device serves in the office.  With it being a primary print, communication and storage device supporting multiple users through the computer network, ensuring the photocopier is functioning well and always available is an important part of the office system infrastructure and having users waiting for access is very counterproductive.

The fifteen myths referenced cover most of the primary perceptions that people carry about photocopiers.  The modern copier is now part of the IT network of the office and by becoming so many of the long standing myths about the device have disappeared.  My experience has been that for many IT managers they are seen primarily as printers not photocopiers at all and the copy functions they offer are of little consequence in the overall operating strategy.

What myths do you see around copiers in your office?  How is the device seen?  Can you add any myths?

Lee K

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Topics: MFP, Multifunction Printer, photocopier