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August 3, 2020

Common Office Copier Problems: Why They Happen?

copier in office lobby

Nothing can create more immediate anxiety while bringing down the morale of everyone nearby than office copier problems. The frustration is almost palpable when someone sees an error code they don’t understand, or a project is held because of the copier. Office copiers should be an effortless member of the technology team that keeps things moving forward and makes the rest of the team more efficient. They should not be the source of exacerbation and delayed project timelines.

Everyday Struggles Of An Office Copier

In fast-paced offices, the office copier can make or break productivity. That same fast pace can be the source of day-to-day office copier problems. Cartridge and toner issues, lack of functions, high print volumes, supplies shortages, and more can all cause errors and malfunctions. Let’s take a look at them one at a time. 

Cartridge or toner issues 

Fast-paced offices will often drain ink and toner cartridges faster than one would think. A malfunctioning cartridge can be just as frustrating and even more commonly understood. 

Getting either of these errors may not be a big deal when your team member is printing a few internal documents. If, however, your team has just started a major project or a customer-facing job, getting the low ink or cartridge error message can be a major frustration and can even mean a huge delay. 

The best, most immediate solution is to simply replace the cartridge. To avoid anyone getting frustrated with this task or having to waste time asking someone else how to do it, train everyone when the office copier arrives. Then add it to the onboarding tour. Don’t just show new hires where the copy room is. Make sure they learn how to use the copier. It’ll save valuable time and keep the entire team that much more productive and efficient.

If adding a new cartridge doesn’t solve the problem, there may be a malfunction. This means you’ll need to empower the entire team to be able to call the tech and ask them to troubleshoot. Leaving this kind of error to a single designated person will only slow down repairs and the entire office. Leave the number and directions on who to ask for or how to identify your company and the copier so that everyone in the office can take part in keeping things running smoothly. 

Lack of Functions

Most fast-paced and larger offices will have what’s called a multifunction printer (MFP). These are high-tech printers that can do more than just make copies. When purchasing an MFP, office procurement or whoever is in charge of making the final decision tries to choose the MFP that will best suit the team and the types of projects that need to be regularly completed.

Sometimes, an office just can’t anticipate all their present and future needs and will end up with an MFP that doesn’t have all the functionality they need. If it’s just for a one-off project, try heading to a nearby printing specialist to do the job. It may cost a bit to complete the project, but it may be better than shopping for a whole new unit. 

If there is a consistent need for some functionality that just isn’t being met, the best solution is to upgrade the MFP. This is one reason leasing a printer can be a strategic move. Purchasing can be more costly, but leasing can mean the office trades in the old and seamlessly upgrades to a new unit that’s a better overall match. 

Too High of Print Volumes

Copiers and multifunction printers are designed to be workhorses. Even so, they can get run down, especially if they aren’t maintained properly and have to work with constant high-volume. 

Working the machine to its limits means it’s vital that the team always stay on top of maintenance schedules. More volume one month or over the course of a quarter may mean the maintenance visit needs to bumped up a bit. 

For those offices with multiple printers, it can actually be helpful to the life of the machines to block each one completely off one day a week to alternate, giving each machine a day off. Many people are surprised to find out that a little rest can do machines just as much good as making an overworked team member take a vacation.  

Shortage of Supplies or Resources

A supplies shortage is probably one of the biggest problems with the easiest solution. It’s one thing to occasionally run out of everyone’s favorite shiny bright white, heavy-stock paper, making the team resort to the slightly brown, lightweight recycled paper. It’s another thing entirely to run out of paper completely - or worse, to run out of ink cartridges. Don’t forget how important staples are if the team is used to relying on their multifunction printer collating and stapling. 

To avoid the worst, create a schedule for reorders and designate at least one person to track orders and inventory. Designating a second person to check on supplies and double-check orders were placed is worth the duplication if it avoids a missed replenishment order. 

It’s also recommended that every office post the reorder schedule in the copy room. That way, nobody gets stressed if they see things running low. They can double-check the schedule for replenishment orders and see that there is one coming up. 

It’s also worth it to place the name and contact information of the two designated people in charge of reordering. Empower the entire team, including when new hires are trained, to reach out if they notice supplies may run out before the next order arrives. All it takes one heavy-duty week, even an extra busy day, to throw supplies off just enough that running out becomes a real possibility.

Final Thoughts: Best Solutions

Publish supplies reorder schedules and the names of those who place those orders so team members can request re-supply orders if things look like they are running low a bit fast. Give machines the occasional day off, especially if they are often working at high-volume. Don’t put off regular printer maintenance. Lease MFPs, rather than purchase them, so the office can upgrade when they need better functionality. Make sure the entire team is trained on how to solve simple problems like paper jams and to changing out old cartridges. This includes ensuring the training is part of every new hire experience during onboarding to save time and efficiency in the future. 

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