Office Document Strategies Blog

New Tools For MFP Permit Eliminating Fax Module

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 @ 09:07 AM

One of the clear trends in many offices is the decline of fax as a needed tool.  Unfortunately, it has not entirely gone away so businesses find themselves forced to maintain the fax even with limited use.  If you have only one office this may not be as much of an issue but what happens when you have ten or twenty or more offices each needing a smaller amount of fax capability.Early fax machine

The cost of providing a fax comes in a number of forms and oddly the device may actually be the cheapest part.  Since fax technology is essentially an analog operation one of the biggest elements in its cost is the dedicated phone line needed, one for each fax device.  In most Ontario Canada operations this phone line will cost at least $50 per month plus any long distance usage.  The device itself can be from a low of a couple of hundred dollars to aboout seven or eight hundred if part of a high end MFP.  Getting away from fax completely would eliminate these costs but for most businesses this is not an option.

How do you solve the dilemma of declining use but continuing cost?

  • Contract for a fax to email service which permits you to have a fax number but which routes the faxes to an email address.  This works very well for really low volumes but for more frequent fax use it can add up as  these services usually have a per page or per fax rate in their pricing.

  • Put in one centralized fax device and then route the faxes through internal email to needed recipients.  This works pretty well, but t does require manual intervention to determine which branch etc. the fax should get to.  It is even more difficult for outgoing fax as someone would need to be the operator to send the faxes from the central location.

  • For larger organizatons there are software and hardware tools which can be deployed to help solve the problem.  Using products like Rightfax as a centralized fax server, connected to a specific pool of fax lines (the number and ratio of lines to branch is determined by total corporate volume) permits users to have incoming and outgoing fax centralized to their email.  One challenge with this type of solution is maintaining walk up fax capability for users in all offices.

      • Kyocera has come up with a solution to this issue through their Rightfax connector for their HyPAS enabled MFPs.  With this software tool MFPs connected to the corporate network can operate like walk up faxes while routing the fax documents through the network connected Rightfax server. It eliminates the cost for the fax module which is usually required but also reduces the need for a one to one ratio of dedicated telephone lines.  In a multiple branch situation the savings can be significant.

      • There is a cost for the connector based on the number of devices and there is an investment needed to acquire Rightfax but the overall potential for savings especially with declining volumes is worth doing the math.

  • Of course there is also the potential in cases where volumes are really low to just advise clients and suppliers that you no longer support fax and that they will have to use email or regular mail.  Some businesses can do this and not have issues but in other fields it would not be acceptable.  I know of one business that has not supported fax since 1996, so it can be done.

With the growth of email and especially since the advent of widely available scanning fax usage continues to decline.  Looking at your volumes may lead you to realize that spending for devices and phone lines is no longer cost effective.  Figuring out the right strategy for your usage is worth the effort.  If you only get a couple of faxes a day the phone lines alone could mean they are costing you more than the price of a stamp for each document without factoring in device and supplies costs. Investigate your alternatives.  Its worth the effort and may be a situation where internia is costing you dollars with little return for the investment.

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Topics: Multifunction Printer, Scanning, MFP