How and why to buy a printer

New Update

Top 5 things to consider when buying a printer:


It wasn't long ago when a printer was just another printer - it did what it was supposed to do - Print! Fast-forward to today, there has been a near 180-degree shift. As business demands increase, the printer is morphing beyond its core functions, offering customers more value for money - and is rapidly evolving. Like large enterprises, small and medium enterprises, need to print for variety of business activities. A small office also needs a fast, reliable, and cost-effective printer capable of professional output. While large enterprises have better infrastructure, systems and processes in place to streamline their various IT requirements including printing, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to be careful in their choice as they are faced with limited resources and expertise. And though printing is often discounted as a cost overhead by many SMEs, they cannot afford to turn a blind eye to printing costs in the long run and thus should deal with and manage their printing requirements from the very first step - choosing the right printer(s) for their business.

Consumers and organizations today have various options to choose from but selecting a printer for your workplace is not just about going to a store and buying the cheapest or the most expensive printer. The choice should be an outcome of rational consideration of various factors such as printing requirements, budget allocation, minimum print wastage, environment friendliness, etc. SMEs should also ensure that printing becomes an effective tool for them in achieving their business objective rather than they being burdened by printing costs. Apart from obvious factors such as printing requirements, number of people per printer (a minimum of 10 users to 1 printer is considered ideal), choosing between single-function or multi-function, SMEs should also consider:

1. Duty cycle of printer: Duty cycle is a printer related specification that is generally used to define the printing workload that a printer can handle. Laser printer duty cycles range from 5,000 pages per month for an entry-level printer; and go up to 300,000 pages per month for departmental workhorses; with many other options in between to choose from. Before selecting a printer for your office, consider the duty cycle of the printer depending on your printing requirements. You would not want a printer that breaks down in between because its duty cycle does not match with the number of pages you need to print. A related consideration is pages per minute (PPM); laser printers can print as fast as 62 ppm, while the entry-level ones generally manage 15-18 ppm mark.


2. Smart Printers: Much the same way that the personal computer runs software that can be upgraded, and is also able to run applications that let you achieve specific tasks, today's enterprise-class printers and multi-function devices come equipped with FutureSmart, a new firmware technology that can be upgraded to support new features in the future. For businesses, it means investment protection since their printer will never become obsolete with every change in technology.

3. Controlling access to color printing: Gone are the days when you would have to worry about color printers being used for employees' personal use. Today's enterprise-class printers come with a solution that allow you to manage printing cost by assigning color usage to the relevant department and by deciding exactly when and who should use color in your office. Using this feature you can maximize the potential of color printing in the office without worrying about the color printing misuse.

4. Safety from security risks: Every day, employees print, fax, copy and scan confidential company information to share it with others. Data breaches from your imaging and printing devices is a big concern and can cost an organization dearly. Printing and imaging systems and data that passes through them can be compromised in a variety of ways. By assessing your fleet and determining what types of devices you have, how they are used and by whom, you can implement security features and solutions that greatly reduce the chance of a breach. If data security is a concern for you, choose a printer, which provides security of document, device and network protection.

5. Environment-friendly: It is always better if you can contribute your bit towards keeping the environment ‘green' while pursuing your business operations. Many printers today come with advanced features like duplex printing and auto-on/auto-off; while innovations like Smart Web Printing can dramatically reduce paper and toner wastage. A printer that cares for environment translates into real business value by letting you print intelligently and reducing paper, toner and electricity consumption.

Once you're armed with the knowledge you've gathered by keeping these factors in consideration, you'll be prepared to make the right decision for your business.