Multifunction printers have become widely popular with small and home businesses and for good reason; MFPs reduce energy, saves up space and increases productivity by integrating traditional office duties such as printing, faxing, copying and scanning into one single device. Even if you don’t fax, scan or copy on a regular basis an MFP has the flexibility to do so if required. But do all MFP devices offer the same features? Well the simple answer is no but the features you want on your MFP is up to you.
Choosing Your MFP
Choosing an MFP starts with one essential question: What will it need to do? Beyond printing, copying, and scanning, what additional functions will be necessary on a regular basis? High-volume MFPs can produce color prints as fast as 65 pages per minute, but if those services aren’t useful within the business, they may not be worth the extra cost. Instead, an honest assessment of office requirements will help determine the most pressing needs for an MFP, and guide purchasing decisions.
If printing is your primary use of an MFP then it would be important to look into an MFP to match your needs to the printer capabilities. More expensive models are typically designed for higher print speeds and heavier use. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of available MFPs that are based on both inkjet and laser printing engines. There are even MFPs that excel in color photo printing.
When it come to faxing, some MFP devices no longer include fax modems, which is fine for businesses that have no need to exchange faxes with customers or vendors. Faxing is still handy for sending/receiving documents that require signatures, but setting up your own fax service requires connection to a phone line. A normal phone line can be shared with a fax machine if tying up the phone line while sending/receiving faxes is not a concern. Otherwise, a separate phone line is needed. If you need fax capability but don’t want the hassle and expense of setting up your own fax, there are several online services that allow you to send and receive faxes via email, web, or smartphone.
Most MFPs come with a low to medium resolution scanning unit designed for document scanning. If you need high-resolution scanning of photos or other media-like slides or negatives you will want either a separate standalone scanner or an MFP that specializes in photo scanning/printing such as the Canon Pixma line of MFPs.
When considering which MFP to add to the office environment, there are many factors to take into consideration. Most importantly, keep in mind the guiding question: What will it need to do? As with all other essential office infrastructure, an MFP is an investment. However, if chosen correctly and in line with the business’s needs, an MFP can streamline workflow, facilitate a more productive work environment, and keep up with all the business’s demands, no matter the volume or intensity of the job at hand.