02 Feb It’s time for IT managers to reassess the role of desktop printers in the office
Desktop printers can be an IT manager’s secret weapon in 2016, helping to create cost-effective and flexible print management strategies that enhance employee productivity.
In my opinion, the role of the desktop printer in the office can sometimes be underestimated. I believe that in light of recent advances in the technologies used in such printers and the business-focused features available, it’s a good time for some of the traditional assumptions about their role and use in the office to be re-evaluated.
Using desktop printers in the workplace, particularly as part of a multi-device print and document management strategy that combines large multi-function devices with smaller ones, should, in my view, be on the 2016 ‘to-do’ list of any manager who is responsible for their organisation’s printing activities.
As a starting point, I have listed below some of the general assumptions that I have come across about the perceived limitations of desktop printers in the office and have set out my arguments against them:
- The functionality I want only comes with large departmental machines – That’s simply not the case anymore. High-quality desktop printers are designed to handle multiple jobs and print, scan, and copy more quickly than ever before. They can also offer scan to email & folder & PC, OCR (optical character recognition), web browsing and security options, just like multi-function printers. For some personal printer models functionality such as Wi-Fi connectivity, Postscript support, ARDF (automatic reverse document feeder) come as standard.
- Large multi-function devices are a must-have in today’s office environment – That is certainly true, if they are what your organisation need. Departmental printers can be an excellent choice when it comes to handling large printing volumes, accommodating many simultaneous office users in a busy department, and providing very advanced scanning and document solutions. However, such capabilities may not always be needed, particularly among smaller businesses.
- There is less accountability in terms of how a desktop printer is used – This is also no longer the case. Modern business desktop printers can be supplied with the same device management tools as large multi-function devices, i.e. Ricoh @Remote or Ricoh Document Manager NX. They allow an administrator to set up printer/copy/fax functions, troubleshoot, set up user codes and monitor the fleet of devices remotely. Any printer can have default settings such as mono or economy colour set up. In addition, desktop printers; such as the recently launched SP 4520DN are equipped with a touch panel, and works with print-release software to enable secure printing.
- I will be constantly ordering office supplies, and employees can lose time fiddling with desktop printers, instead of allowing a central office printer to be quickly fixed by technicians – This is not necessarily the case. Desktop printers are not used for the same purposes as large departmental ones. When conducting a print audit, you may well discover that your annual print volume in those areas of the business that need desktop printers are in fact quite low. Moreover, if you choose for desktop printers to be part of a mixed fleet of devices, and for your fleet to be managed by a managed document solution provider such as Ricoh or any authorised partner, the process for ordering supplies is designed to be efficient and simple. You will only receive toners when they are needed, and you will have access to fast technical support and a team of engineers.
- Desktop printers are not as secure as departmental devices – This issue may vary from vendor to vendor. However, at Ricoh, business desktop printers have a hard drive option that allows for locked print, hold print and stored print functions. This means that even if there is a no-print release software installed, the print-out won’t appear unless a special pin code is put in by the user. Ricoh also offers data protection, network protection and user authentication features to make printing even more secure.