Guest post by Bruce Grandchamp, Director of Field Engineering at Lewan Technology.
A “copier” is certainly more than a copier these days. Today’s copier is a multi-function device (MFD) that does a lot more than just make copies. Printing, scanning and faxing to name a few. An MFD is truly an on-ramp to a business’ workflow, so not having the right technology in place can be more than just a frustration—it can affect your core business practices and your bottom line.
I’ve been in the office technology business for over 23 years and in that time I’ve noticed some common denominators factoring into misplaced machines. Here are my tips to help guide you into your next copier lease MFD lease:
1. Printing Volume
Know your volume including what type of material you run through the machine. MFD models are designed for specific usage levels. You don’t want to be running 5,000 pages to a machine spec’d for 50,000 pages/month as much as you don’t want to be running 20,000 on a machine spec’d for 5,000 pages/month. Both can affect the performance and life of the machine adversely.
Figure out about how much you’re printing now and target a machine recommended for that Average Monthly Page Volume (AMPV). The right MFD is generally the one where your monthly volume is right in the middle of the manufacturer’s recommended volume ranges. These ratings are based on 8.5” x 11” (letter) page size, so count any larger paper sizes as two pages in your calculation. Heavier stocks also wear components faster. If you run large media and heavy stock, you might want to be in the lower third of the recommended volume.
2. Monthly Duty Cycle vs. Recommended Average Monthly Print Volume
Duty Cycle is not indicative of the monthly volume a machine was designed to run. It’s an indication of the production capability of the MFP. Duty Cycle is a formula telling you how many pieces of paper the machine would be capable of printing if it was running 24/7 with limited breaks to add paper and clear the occasional jam. You don’t want your print volume anywhere near the duty cycle volume, it’s not expected to be sustained on a regular basis.
3. Faster Isn’t Always Better
It’s easy to assume a faster machine can handle more volume. But, there are many fast machines (45–55 pages/minute) that are designed to run under 10,000 pages/month. These are usually referred to as “A4” machines, because they don’t support 11” x 17” paper sizes. They have their niche, but if you’re looking for a machine that handles larger paper sizes and comes with advanced finishing options, this machine—albeit faster—isn’t for you.
4. Color Output
If you need color matching or the ability to run heavy paper stocks, you probably need a light production machine and not a business color device.
Business color devices can produce a very impressive color image, but they do have limitations. And just adding a Fiery to a business color machine doesn’t make it perform like a light production MFD. Light production is a different line of machines specifically designed for collateral, print shop, high volume, specialty paper, advanced finishing options and more.
If you aren’t sure what you need, bring paper and job samples to run in your provider’s showroom before buying. By the same token, don’t overspend on a light production machine if you all you print is internal documents, or color images that don’t need a color match.
5. Leasing Terms
When thinking about a longer lease term to lower your monthly payment, consider where the machine will be living.
In multi-user or dirty (dusty) environments, I recommend a 39 months term or 48 at the most. After 48 months, you will likely see an increase is service needs as the machine is pushed to or past its limit.
If you stick to a print volume in the mid-range of the machines AMPV (see #1) and the machine is in a controlled environment (like a traditional office environment), you can feel more comfortable leasing for 60 months.
6. Solutions Compatibility
A “copier” isn’t a copier anymore, as we said earlier. An MFD can integrate with endless document workflow applications to improve your processes. Do you want print governance, departmental cost tracking, intelligent scanning or other document solutions integrated with your machine? Think about your current or future plans for document workflow applications, and make sure that your new MFD is compatible.
Spending a little time up front when you're ready to lease a copier to make sure you and your new device are the right match will save you money, increase productivity and lessen the need for service calls down the road.
Still not sure what MFD is right for your business? No problem! and one of our business analysts can perform a free print assessment. You’ll receive a complimentary report with recommendations for print volume and cost reduction, efficiency and paperless opportunities.