Your copiers have seen better days. You've become best friends with your copier dealer's service staff because they visit so often. Your copier is down more time than it's up. If you're looking to purchase or lease a new copier in 2022, here are our top 10 copier features that all companies need to consider when refreshing their fleet.
- Secure Print Release. Multifunction copiers dot the landscape of the standard business office. It is less expensive to print to a multifunction copier than a desktop printer in most cases. But with many people sharing one print device, documents can get lost in the shuffle. With secure print release, users send their jobs to the multifunction copier. Still, the device will not print the document until the user authenticates at the device. Users can use existing ID cards or pin codes to verify identity at their machines. Whichever method you choose, the copier will not produce the document until the user confirms their identity with the device.
Without secure print, staff often print documents and leave them lying in the output tray on the copier for anyone to see or, worse, take. This practice is especially problematic for staff handling personally identifiable information (PII), such as HR or accounting. Those documents stay in the copier with secure print until the user authenticates and allows their release, keeping data safe and secure.
- Built-in Security Solutions. Not that long ago, copiers were hardly a security thought to IT departments. Today, copiers and printers are a high target for cybercriminals looking to infiltrate networks and steal data. Because of the rise in data breaches and cyber attacks involving networked printers and copiers, manufacturers have begun to build technology directly into the copier to keep your data safe. Security features include firmware attack prevention and self-recovery that helps identify a malicious intrusion. The copier will automatically restore the device's firmware to its original, out-of-the-box state. Safelisting features detect access attempts to the device's file system and deny access if the source data isn't on the safe list. Essential security solutions, such as data overwriting on device hard drives and end-of-lease hard drive erasure, remain helpful in keeping data secure.
- Automatic Toner Replenishment. Do you recall the last time your copier ran out of toner, and there wasn't a spare one lying around waiting for you? When you run out of toner, your copier is essentially useless for any printing or copying function. With automatic toner replenishment, your networked copiers and printers can run a simple data collection agent (DCA) that sends information to your copier service provider. They will monitor toner levels in your device via this DCA. When toner levels reach a specified threshold, toner automatically ships to you at the location you need it, without you having to call and order it. Imagine never running out of toner again.
- Scan to Email and Scan to File. Putting documents into a digital format that are easily transferrable from one employee to another is something every office uses every day. Today's multifunction copiers can scan to various places in various file formats. Scanning used to involve scanning the document to an external storage medium, like a memory stick or thumb drive. Today, you can easily scan documents and email them to other users quickly directly from the copier. You can also scan documents and save them into file folders regulated with access controls. This feature ensures document sharing only occurs with those who have permission to view them. Scan to email and scan to file save your staff time because they can scan and save or email in just one easy step.
- Mobile Printing. What was once just a telephone and text device, smartphones and tablets are now an everyday piece of our work technology. With today's work-anywhere mindset that has grown since the COVID pandemic, printing from your mobile device is now critical for many employees. Having a mobile print solution helps employees stay productive even when they aren't physically in the office.
- Auto Duplex. Remember the days when double-sided printing meant you had to print one side, reload your paper and print the other side? Those days are long gone thanks to the auto duplex functionality that comes standard on many copiers. Auto duplex saves time, paper and toner due to mistakes made by reloading paper to make double-sided documents. If you have this feature on your device, set it to the default and take advantage.
- Collate and Staple. When we printed large documents in the past, we would rely on an intern or assistant to put these documents together into usable packets. With collate and staple, you no longer need to waste staff time putting together these documents. The collate function on your copier will print 20 copies of a large document in page order, rather than printing 20 copies of page 1, then 20 copies of page 2 and so on. When your copy job finishes, you have 20 copies of your document ready to go. To staple your documents, use the staple function built into your copier to have professional handouts at the ready.
- Automatic Finishing Functions. With collate and staple, you can easily copy large documents into paginated packets without sorting through pages. But copiers offer several great finishing options that can save you even more time and create professional output. Copiers can feature hole-punching options that allow you to easily create documents that you can place into three-ring binders. Copiers can also include folding options. Folding will enable you to print something like a brochure quickly on your copier, and the device will fold the brochure exactly where the fold should be. Cutting and trimming functionality allows for custom paper sizes without purchasing reams of the custom paper. You can even use the booklet finisher and bind your document with a spiral or other binding to make your documents look professional and polished.
- Walkup Sensor. Most of our copiers "go to sleep" after being idle for a certain amount of time. This feature helps companies save energy by not having a large piece of equipment sucking energy all day and night. Sharp copiers have a walkup sensor. Located on the device's front, the sensor detects when someone is in front of the copier. It automatically powers back on to save users time and their sanity in not searching for the power button to get the device back on.
- Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Copiers can "read" printed characters on documents that you scan and turn them into digital text. You can scan a document and convert it into a format that allows you to edit it. If you're using document management software, OCR is critical in making documents searchable in your document database.
Many of the copier features outlined here are in place for two reasons - to save you time and keep your data secure. We are all looking for a few more minutes in our workdays to accomplish tasks, and devices like our copiers are there to help us do that. If you're looking to upgrade your copier fleet in 2022, keep this list handy and note features that can propel your business. Our job at Fraser is to work with you to find the best devices with all of the functionality you need to grow your business at the best value.