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 typically expensive, leasing your copier will allow you to access the latest technology at an affordable monthly cost.
- No Maintenance Fees: When leasing your device, maintenance and service fees are covered in your lease agreement. Your technology vendor will take the onus of regular service on them, ensuring your copier is in top-notch shape and always functions properly.
- Upgrades: Since you don’t own the copier, you will be able to trade it in and upgrade to keep up with the most modern applications and functionality available at an affordable rate.
- Leasing Terms: In terms of the leasing agreement, you typically can choose to finance your multifunction copier for 24, 36, 48, or 63 months. It can be challenging to decide which length of time works best for your professional needs. Working with a trustworthy vendor will lessen this burden.
- No Ownership: If you lease your copier, you will never own it outright. This means that you will be required to pay monthly installments for the use of your multifunction copier for the duration of the time it is part of your imaging fleet.
Multifunction Copiers: Who Should I Pick As My Vendor?
No matter what type of multifunction copier you may be looking for, not all vendors are created equal. For instance, while some vendors sell multiple brands, others push one manufacturer. Some vendors are open and honest about the pros and cons of each device, going above and beyond to make sure they are transparent about the various features of a copier. Others focus on the sale of a specific multifunction copier that may be overkill for your particular needs. Selecting a trustworthy vendor that understands your unique workflows, provides multiple options, and listens to your needs is critical.
Selecting a reputable vendor can be a daunting task, but it is possible. Working with a local provider that can provide quick service to ensure you are up and running is the first factor to consider. Asking for references and searching for reviews online is another way to vet your potential vendor. Once you contact your vendor to discuss your options, make sure your sales representative asks you about your needs, discusses the features available that will benefit your workflows, and presents you with options that align with your budget. Much like with most large purchases, if you feel pressured, unheard, or rushed to make a decision, do not feel obligated to sign with that vendor, as these are all signs to walk away. Ultimately, whether you purchase or lease, you are building a relationship with your office equipment vendor, so it’s essential to make sure they are a good fit.
Your multifunction copier is a tool that can provide your company with a wide array of features that drive productivity and can be a boon to your business. After reviewing the features available and making a choice if purchasing or leasing is right for your business, pick a vendor that will work with you. At DTS, we are proud to serve the Minneapolis area and promise to provide you with exceptional customer service experience, from sales to service. Please contact us for more information and assistance on your next multifunction copier purchase or lease.