Selecting the best office equipment technology for your business can be a tedious process, like picking the right person for your team. Your options may seem endless and their features may confuse any prospective buyer. But, the first step toward selecting the right machine for your office is to determine if a single-function printer or multi-function printer (MFP) best suits your needs, similar to picking the right person on your team to win.
When weighing your options, the following factors are most helpful in deciding what’s best for you.
Features – The most obvious difference between printers and MFP are the extended features of the latter. In addition to printing, MFPs typically offer scanning, copying, and faxing functionalities. If your office already has reliable scanning, copying, and faxing devices, a printer may suffice for your next purchase. Conversely, an MFP is a great all-in-one to cover your office technology needs.
Initial vs. Recurring Cost – The initial price of a printer is generally more cost-effective than the purchase of an MFP. However, MFPs usually have a much lower cost per printed page than a traditional desktop printer. Another cost to consider is that of equipment, service and maintenance. Note that an MFP is more economical than having several separate machines to service. Also, consider the cost of any continuing consumables like rollers, toner, and even energy usage. This cost may be best compared on a case-by-case basis, depending on the machines recommended for your specific office needs.
Office Space – Another factor to consider when choosing between an MFP and printer is your office space. If you can downsize by combining your scanner, fax machine, and copier by purchasing an MFP, you will save a significant amount of room in your office. If you’re short on space, some MFPs are actually comparable to the size of a regular desktop printer.
Digitizing and Networking – MFPs specifically provide distinctive digitizing and networking features that can completely change the way your office works. Their operating systems allow for the digitizing of workflows, whereby paper documents are converted into computer files. These files then can be sent to your computer directly or even emailed to clients, customers, or partners straight from the device. Networking is available on both MFPs and printers, allowing for the sharing and wireless hookup of your office equipment.
Security – Desktop printers are typically allotted to one sole user, making anything that is printed from that connected machine much more secure than a networked printer or MFP. Moreover, any networked device has the potential to be hacked, leaving your sensitive company data vulnerable. MFPs have increased the security features designed into their systems to try to combat any potential breaches, like access codes and pull printing, but these features are not standard across all MFPs, so be sure to select the device with the right security features for your business.
While the additional features of an MFP are appealing and incredibly useful for most companies, the value of stand-alone printers should be strongly considered as you make your next office equipment selection. Weighing the features, cost, digitizing and networking capabilities, and security against your specific company’s needs should help you make the best choice for your next printer or MFP purchase.
Want some help making your next office equipment choice? Contact Document Systems today for a free assessment of your office’s printing needs, and a recommendation for your next Ultimate Team Player.