Is a printer copier right for you?
Most businesses have avoided purchasing a printer copier because of the idea that all in one devices are not reliable and don't provide quality performance in all of their functions. This may have been true when multifunction printers first appeared on the market but technological advances have meant that the modern printer copier may be quite a good option for small or medium-sized businesses.
Generally there are two main types of multifunction devices (MFDs) on the market: copier-based and printer-based. There is no significant difference between the two types in terms of quality or what other functions can be added.
A copier-based printer copier is a digital photocopy machine that has additional functions built-in, some of which are optional. A printer-based multifunctional device is basically just a printer with extra built-in functions. Any number of combinations can be included into one printer copier such as a scanner, fax machine, electronic storage, networked printing and photocopying.
Saving space and money are the two main selling points for multifunction printers which is why they have proven particularly popular with individual consumers looking to save space in their home office. However, larger companies and corporations are beginning to come round to the advantages too.
The pros and cons of all in one digital machines
A quick glance at the list below will show that the advantages outnumber the disadvantages but this doesn't necessarily mean that a printer copier is right for your needs:
• It is now cheaper to buy an all in one printer copier than it is to purchase separate machines for each function.
• All in one machines don't take up as much space as three or four separate machines would, not to mention fewer cables to sort through.
• It is much quicker and easier to connect one printer copier to a network as opposed to four different devices. This makes the IT manager's job easier as there is less cabling and only one driver software package to install.
• Buying a printer copier means your purchase will be made through a single vendor which means there is just one service warranty to deal with and technical support and supplies will all come from a single source.
• Most multifunction printers come with finishing options (stapling, hole punching, booklet-making and stacking) and the entire process can be controlled from the user's desktop in networked systems.
• The biggest problem with any multifunction device is that if one component breaks then all the other functions will be hindered or out of service. This is reasonable worry but it can be argued that modern printer copiers are extremely durable and don't seem to be affected by such problems very often. However, it may be a risk that many larger companies are not willing to take.
• Another problem for larger companies is the inconvenience to employees who may have to search through mountains of printed documents to find their own.
• Shared printer copiers can also be a problem for printing sensitive documents.
• Scanner and faxing capabilities won't be as good as those on individual machines.