Most everyone who uses a multifunction device is familiar with scanning. Scanning allows us to distribute information more effectively than a traditional copier. It is typically sent to another email address, your email address, and/or a folder.
While scanning is effective, there are some limitations to the scan-to-folder and scan-to-email process. First thing that comes to mind is the email typically is from an odd name, as in the name of the multifunction device’s email address. While this can be changed, it tends to be cumbersome. Secondly, the name of the file is usually the time and date of the scan. Not exactly made to be easily found. In addition, the format of the document, which is PDF, cannot be edited or changed without desktop software to change the format. And finally, the sender doesn’t have a record of the email he or she sent out from the device.
We have several tools that can essentially be bolted on our multifunction devices to help solve these challenges.
Imagine authenticating at the device so it knows who you are. This could be through a username and password or perhaps a badge. Since the device knows who you are, you can have access to your address book, not what was listed on the device. We can send an email with your name on it and you would have record of it in your email. Also, we now have the ability to name our documents in a more user-friendly name such as “Invoice number 123” vs the time and date stamp. Lastly, we can enable users to change the format of the document from PDF to Microsoft Word allowing recipients the ability to make changes.
Ask your RJ Young rep more about these features. If you aren’t a current customer feel free to give us a call. We would be happy to analyze your business needs.
Mark Turner, Director of Software Sales
Mark is responsible for the software sales and implementation teams. He has worked for RJ Young since 2013. Combined he has over 16 years of experience in the industry where 9 years were in IT and 7 years were in software. Mark works out of our Nashville, TN office and is originally from Montgomery, Alabama. In his spare time he volunteers for the United Way and enjoys kayaking, photography and craft beer.
The advent of the digital age created a complete change for the office equipment industry. Up until the digital era it was not uncommon to find an office work area that included multiple analog devices that worked independent of the network. As the roll out of digital products became available companies began to acquire separate copiers, facsimiles, scanners, and printers. This transition of new digital products began to open up the opportunity for the network to become the hub for all devices.
Products could now be connected to the network and all devices became integrated and were no longer just single function. At the same time this transition was taking place, manufacturers began to produce devices that were termed all-in-one or Multi-Functional Devices (MFD). These MFDs allow the office user to have one machine that would copy, print, scan, and fax. This increased efficiency, reduced costs, and most importantly took less space.
Since the network was considered the hub, it was easy to see how with these devices now connected, other efficiencies became possible. These MFDs now became more than just an output device but also became the on ramp for the network. The end user in addition to copying and printing could now began to scan hardcopy files and transmit them through the network. This ability also increased the need for digital information management and a system to file, sort, and locate these digital documents.
With the total integration of products, the ability to move documents around the network, and software to manage the digital documents, we have seen business processes and workflow become very efficient. Today’s office is experiencing less of a need to rely on hard copy output but more on digital output. There has also been a shift to move documents to the Cloud which provides increased security and the ability to collaborate on projects. All of this would not be possible if it were not for digital. Evaluate the use of the MFDs in your office. Are these MFDs being used as ramps to productivity and efficiency in the digital age or still only output devices.
Hunter McCarty – COO
As the technology available in the office equipment industry evolves and ties much closer to the networks that serve our business functions, it becomes more obvious that there are multiple decisions to be made. As a very interested observer of what trends I see that are taking place within our customer base, I feel compelled to provide a few of these options for today’s buyer to consider when making a buying decision. More often than not I see the customer becoming shortsighted and only buying the technology for today’s immediate needs.
When offered a choice between two alternatives, most people tend to select the least expensive choice or the option that fits the bill for today. The problem with this method is that most of today’s office equipment will be in place from three to five years of useful life and our needs will change much faster than that. So in essence we are making a technology decision today that we may have to live with for several years and not fit the future of the business, which is rapidly changing.
One of the first decisions that customers must make is “Do you want a color enabled device or just a monochrome device?” The cost of color-enabled devices has dropped dramatically as well as the price of color output per page. Most companies will set a black and white monthly minimum contract for service and supplies at a very competitive rate per page and allow a customer to pay for color pages only as they are made. In this situation you do not pay for color unless you are making color copies. I believe having the color-enabled capability is very important and the trend shows about 40% of the products that we place are colored enabled. This number is moving very quickly to a 50/50 split. Color output is on the increase and adding it makes perfectly good business sense.
The next decision involves facsimiles and whether to put a fax board on the newly acquired equipment or continue to use a stand-alone facsimile device. Again the relative investment in a fax board is very low and the advantage of having the facsimile pages deliver through your Multiple Function Product (MFP) not only lowers operating cost but also reduce the carbon footprint. Again we see the trend toward more fax boards and fewer and fewer facsimiles being placed. In addition, our study shows that facsimile pages in general are being reduced quickly by electronic delivery of documents to the desktop or even via facsimile software. In many cases the end user never has to print out the document but only reviews it for information and content. The decision to add a fax board to a MFP device almost becomes a no brainer when configuring your new equipment.
A third decision is what I like to say, ” to scan or not to scan”. As we have fully moved into the digital age, I see more and more need for documents to be in digital format or transmitted in digital format and attached to emails. The ability to transfer documents in this manner has obviously led to the demise of the facsimile machine, but also allows the documents to be retained in a format that can be stored and retrieved as needed. I see more equipment being requested with the scan feature as customers realize the value in document movement and storage. It is not unusual to see customers not purchasing the scan feature and then within several months they are contacting us to see if we can add the option since their business processes have changed. I caution customers to not be short sighted when making the scanner decision.
The last decision is often based on whether or not the customer wants to print to the MFP device or send documents to a separate network printer. This is one area where the printer has often won over the end user because of convenience or proximity to the workstation. I believe if given a choice, every employee within a company would want a separate printer on their desk. The disadvantage to these separate printers is the higher cost of the page output and the increased number of devices in the office. With the current economic conditions, I have see companies taking a closer look at expenses and making a genuine attempt to reduce the fleet of printers and move more prints to MFP devices. In one case we have a healthcare facility that has mandated that the fleet be reduced by 50 printers per year over a five-year period. Think about that reduction of a total of 250 printers and the related cost reduction. This is a trend I see but only when the company is willing to make the sacrifice of cost over convenience. When the decision is made in favor of cost reduction we see better utilization of device management.
These are just a few of the many decisions and options that we have with today’s office technology products. On a personal note as I get older somehow I seem to get a little wiser. I find that it often pays to pay for a little more than you need today because tomorrow will come faster than you think and you will regret the price of tomorrow.