For many years Office Automation Companies have been sprouting the virtues of the centralization of printing functions within a company to large multi-functional devices (MFDs)
The primary reasoning being that the respective company would enjoy significant cost reductions by comparison to the costs of printing to stand alone printers and to a lesser extent increased control over print volumes.
When clients are asked if this is the ideal solution they almost always say no but if it will save money they are prepared to compromise on what would be a more efficient.
The very real problems of reduced convenience, compromised confidentiality and increased bottle necking when using these MFDs almost immediately follows a company’s roll out with this type of solution. The result being that desk top printers slowly but surely creep back into the environment, that is if they were successfully removed in the first place. Then of course the fewer MFDs installed the greater the possibility that when they go down that an entire department can’t function or alternatively their print volume gets transferred to another department’s device
Why does this happen ? Simply put although a centralized solution can work in certain open plan office environments but there are just as many environments within which it is just not practical. The amount of productivity lost by staff constantly walking up and down to collect print jobs is significant by comparison to them simply printing at their desks. Although most MFDs do have lock printing facilities with pin code release (the MFD’s answer to confidentiality) in truth this is just another compromise on what would be the perfect operating environment.
So what is the solution? Simple get the desktop printers to print at a comparable cost per page to the MFDs. If one can achieve that then a properly planned “Hybrid” environment consisting of strategically placed MFDs and desktop printers offers a convenient, efficient and confidential working environment that a purely centralized solution simply can’t match. It will also reduce the inevitable unmanaged fleet of desktop printers from creeping back in at exorbitant cost per pages.
What about the primary benefits of the centralized solution namely reduced costs and increased control? The good news is that these printers do in fact exist and with the available print management software that is available today a company can enjoy the exact same controls over print volumes as they do with MFDs.
The difference is that a properly structured solution like this actually saves a company significantly more money than a standard MFD solution because the capital outlay for printers is only a fraction of what an MFD costs!
So in summary with a properly planned and structured Hybrid combination of MFDs and desktop printers your company can save more money whilst not reducing any of your operating efficiency whilst still maintaining control of print volumes.