A multifunction printer, or MFP, is an all-in-one technology that copies, scans, and prints documents; sends emails and faxes; print straight from the internet; and even perform tasks such as hole punching, folding, stapling and booklet making.
The multifunctional capabilities of an MFP, also referred to as a “mopier” or an “all-in-one” (AIO), allow businesses to streamline a wide variety of office tasks and save money and office space through a combination of equipment upgrading and downsizing. Read more to find out why a multifunction printer is a worthwhile business investment.
Benefits of Multifunction Printers
Why get 3 or 5 different office equipment when you can have all their functions combined in one technology? Here are the benefits of multifunction printers.
- Office Space Efficiency
The office “copy room” doesn’t have to be a cramped space. A single, multifunction printer — which is about the size of a standard copier or smaller — can replace the copier, fax machine, and multiple printers in the office to free up more space for other purposes. If an MFP has built-in networking, it can serve the extensive document management needs of different department and numerous teams.
- Workplace Efficiency
Having the combined functions of different technologies, a multifunction printer can help streamline various office tasks and optimize business operations. In addition to printing quickly and producing good-quality prints, an MFP may also allow:
- Remote printing
- Copying and scanning
- Sending and receiving fax
- Stapling and folding documents
A multifunction printer that’s ideal for the Small Office and Home Office (SOHO) market may have built-in networking capability which allows access to multiple computers in the local network. An MFP may also come with a large hard drive to serve as the business’ permanent document storage space. With an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, an MFP can automatically convert scanned documents into computer files.
- Energy Efficiency
In addition to having an automatic energy-saving mode feature, the combined functionality of an MFP significantly reduces an office’s energy consumption by scaling down the number of equipment being used.
- Cost Efficiency
An MFP’s energy efficiency and extensive document management capabilities translate to lots of money saved for the company. Having a single piece of equipment to perform multiple functions also means maintenance and service costs are greatly reduced. With a multifunction printer that can also digitize documents, a business can go further with its paperless communication and save money from reduced print jobs.
What to Look for in a Multifunction Printer?
To fully take advantage of the benefits of a multifunction printer, a business must select a make and model that perfectly suits its needs. Here are some pointers to keep in mind when shopping for a multifunction printer.
- Does the MFP have a flatbed scanner for books and photos?
- Is it capable of scanning transparencies and slides? What size of transparencies can it scan?
- Does the MFP have network capability or can you only scan through a USB connection?
- Does it have OCR technology or can you upgrade it with an OCR software? OCR technology will allow your MFP convert scanned documents, including handwritten ones, into viewable electronic files. You should consider getting OCR software if you want to digitize your business operations.
Fax capability is not a standard feature on most MFP models, but you can still find MFPs that offer this functionality. Find out from your vendor if you still have to print a document to fax it or if you can fax directly from the computer. You should also ask if you will need to install a fax utility or driver to your multifunction printer to enable faxing.
Find out from your vendor if the multifunction printer needs to connect to a computer to copy a document or if it can function as a stand-alone copier. Does it have wireless capability or does it need a USB connection? What other finishing capabilities does it have, if any?
Having an emailing function is a great way to further streamline business communications. If you want this functionality in your multifunction printer, find out if the device can scan to your in-house email or through an internet service provider. If it’s the latter, make sure the direct email feature will work with your specific ISP.
- Automatic Document Feeder
An automatic document feeder (ADF) eliminates the need for any manual input when using the multifunction printer — aside from selecting the function/s you need to use. Find out if:
- The ADF can be used for copying, scanning, and faxing
- The ADF is capable of scanning legal-size pages
- The ADF is capable of scanning double-sided documents
What is an MFP is the right question to ask for any business looking to upgrade their efficiency and productivity. Upgrading your office equipment to a multifunction printer will give your office extensive and more efficient document management capabilities. You’ll also save a lot of office space when you replace multiple devices with a single MFP. Document management tasks will be streamlined across all departments and overall productivity and efficiency will be improved. Add an MFP’s energy and cost efficiency benefits and your investment will definitely pay for itself in no time.