Every business relies on certain tools to complete daily tasks. One often overshadowed tool that most companies require is an imaging fleet. From printing, copying, faxing, and scanning, modern workflows remain dependent on multifunction copiers to get the job done, as they provide all of these functions in one powerhouse device. This article is meant as a guide to uncover the key features of multifunction copiers and to provide direction for your next multifunction copier purchase.
Multifunction Copiers: What Key Features Are Available?
No matter what industry your business serves or what your daily business processes entail, multifunction copiers can provide you with the functionality you need to get the job done. Inherently, these devices come with the ability to copy, print, scan, and fax documents. However, there are other features to consider when it comes to evaluating a multifunction copier for your office. Consider the following:
- Connectivity: Typically, multifunction copiers serve—and must be accessed by—multiple employees in your office. Network connectivity via an Ethernet network interface ensures multiple users can scan, copy, fax, and print from the same device without being tethered to the device itself. Wireless connectivity and cloud printing are also available connectivity options many modern multifunction copiers offer, allowing easy access to your device.
- Intuitive Touchscreen Interfaces: Users must be able to quickly and easily access the appropriate function required to complete tasks and maintain productivity. Multifunction copiers offer intuitive touchscreens whereby users can select their required function (typically scanning, faxing, or copying when physically standing at the device) and complete the job at hand quickly.
- Security: Because of the connectivity options these devices offer as well as their storage and memory capacities, they can be vulnerable to attack. However, advanced security measures, such as encryption, are built-in to protect your data. You can take security a step further and set permissions controls, whereby confidential data is only accessible by predetermined users.
- Automatic Document Feeding (ADF): Gone are the days of having to make copies one document at a time. Instead, ADF allows you to leverage a tray to “feed” multiple documents into the device automatically, rather than doing this process by hand.
- Modern Scanning Capabilities: Multifunction copiers offer an array of scanning options to streamline workflows, including scan-to-email, scan-to-desktop, and scan-to-copy functionalities. These options ensure data is instantly available where you need it.
- Software Integrations: Lastly, a multifunction copier can be used in conjunction with an electronic document management system. With the help of document management software, you can store, route, convert, manage, and retrieve documents with ease.
Multifunction Copiers: Should You Buy or Lease?
Once you see the value in how this modern technology can streamline your workflows, the next step is to work with an office equipment vendor to acquire the right multifunction copier for your business (more on that later). Oftentimes, the first question that arises is whether your business should purchase or lease your new device. There are pros and cons of each of these options, which you should consider before moving forward.
Purchasing a multifunction copier outright has specific pros and cons. Consider the following:
- Straightforward Transaction: One benefit of purchasing your multifunction copier is that it is a straightforward transaction. You pay a one-time fee and walk away with your device, as you would with any typical purchase.
- Tax Deductible: If you own your copier outright and it is solely used for office use, it is a tax-deductible expense.
- Free to Sell: If you purchase your multifunction copier, you are free to sell it later in order to recoup some of the device’s expenses with no strings attached.
- Large Upfront Costs: The cost of purchasing a multifunction copier can be cost-prohibitive, particularly for SMBs, as it requires a considerable upfront investment.
- Outdated Technology: Technology changes so rapidly, and your multifunction copier is just as vulnerable to obsolescence as your smartphone. Your device may lose value as newer models and technology becomes available, making it more difficult to recoup your fees when it’s time to sell or upgrade.
- Service & Repairs: When purchasing your next multifunction copier outright, a service agreement is a separate transaction. Ultimately, these devices are machines that must be maintained and serviced regularly to ensure functionality. It’s easy to let service slip if you chose not to sign up for a service agreement, and, if your device is not managed properly, the cost of repairs on neglected machines can be cost-prohibitive.
Conversely, if you are considering leasing your copier, the pros and cons are as follows:
- Manageable Payments: Leasing your multifunction copier ensures you will be able to make much smaller payments over time as compared to the large fees associated with purchasing it outright.
- Access to Technology: Given that the newest technology is t