Friday, August 17, 2018
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IBM Insights

Workflow Optimization—what the heck is it?!

Workflow optimization is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the technology world these days. But really how many people even know what a workflow is, let alone why they need to optimize it?! In plain, non-techy speak, a workflow is how you do an everyday task. In the case of my customers, a workflow would simply be how they scan and file their documents, or how they distribute papers to employees in their organization.

So now that we understand what a workflow is here comes the bigger question: why do we need to optimize it?  Most companies already use their copiers to scan their documents into their computers or emails which allows them to rename them and move them to their client folders. Isn't that already efficient? The answer to that is NO! Technology has improved to the point where organizations can scan, name, and place documents directly into their client folders right from their machines without all the extra steps. This is called optimizing your workflow! It's all about allowing the technology to work for you so that you have more time to do your important tasks!

By simplifying your workflows you can save quite a bit of valuable time while also insuring that your documents are filed away correctly for easy retrieval. In today's work environment, time is a valuable resource. What would you do if you found yourself with an extra hour each week because you simplified your everyday tasks?

 

Simplifying your Work with Kyocera Applications

One of the biggest struggles in many offices today is how to convert their paper filing system in to an easy, effective digital filing system. This is not only time-consuming, but also very tedious. Recently, we had the opportunity to help one of our property management clients develop an easy system to help them convert 20 years of paper files into a simple, searchable, digital filing system. How did we go about doing this? By utilizing the power of Kyocera's Business Applications! Kyocera's business application PinPoint Scan loads directly on the copier and allows for an easy solution to a difficult problem.

This application allowed us to provide our customer with the ability to create searchable PDF's, name their files directly from the copier, and place them in the appropriate filing system on the computer.  We created a simple workflow that allowed one person to convert over 20 filing cabinets into digital files in just 2 months! 

PinPoint Scan offers business the ability to quickly index the documents they need in a clean and precise manner. Not only can you scan and place files in multiple destinations on your PC but you can also directly link to your Google Drive and Dropbox accounts. Another great feature PinPoint Scan offers business is the ability to link with both Mac users as well as PC users. 

If your office needs a more complex system than PinPoint Scan, Kyocera’s DMConnect has the answers. DMConnect allows users to scan to multiple locations at one times, do complex bate stamping, remove blank pages from files as well as convert paper documents into editable Microsoft Word and Excel files. 

By utilizing these applications in your work environment you can speed up your workflow, reduce the amount of time spent on current tasks, and create a clean and simple file structure, all from your Kyocera MFP. If you would like to see how these applications can work within your current environment, call and set up a trial! It’s cost effective, simple to use, and an important tool in today’s work environment.  

 

 

What is this MPS?

In the office solutions industry we love to use acronyms! We have MFP's (Multi-Function Products) , CPC's (Cost-per-Copy) as well TCO's (Total Cost of Ownership), and now the latest acronym to hit our market is MPS. But what exactly is MPS? MPS, or rather Managed Print Services, is not only a cost saving program, but also a time saving program designed to help companies reduce their total printing costs.

Many companies are not even aware of how much money they are spending each month on their printers. In most cases, they have a designated person who is responsible for making sure that all the toners are stocked as well as either going online and ordering the toners, or going to the store and purchasing them. When a printer breaks, they run out and purchase whatever they can find. Over time, these offices end up with a number of different printer models and manufacturers that they are having to purchase toner for. So, when looking at the total cost you are spending each month for your printers and devices, are you factoring in the time you are paying this individual or yourself to make sure you always have toner on hand, order the toner when needed, and provide backup printers or devices when they go down? The answer is most likely, no!  This is where Managed Print Services comes to save the day! 

Most people are familiar with the basic service plan model that many office solutions companies use today. Most plans cover you for an allowed number of pages, and include all your parts, toner, and supplies as well as service when the machine has a problem. Managed Print follows this same basic concept, except that it actually takes the concept a few steps further. Managed Print programs actually evaluate your office environment and see how you are using your printers and copiers and, if needed, will make recommendations on where to use certain devices. This ensures that you are not using a more costly printer in a high volume area. As we like to say, "it helps to stop the bleeding." Many companies use software called a data collection agent when implementing an MPS program for their customers. What this does is allow your office solutions provider the ability to monitor your printers on your network in real time. These data collection agents notify your provider when your toner is getting low as well as when your devices are having service issues helping to eliminate down time. 

The business world is fast paced and ever changing. With an MPS program in place, you can focus on what matters most in your company while having the peace of mind that your printers and devices are running at their best, you have your costs under control, and that supplies are always on the way. 

To lease or not to lease? That is the question!

Many business owners struggle with the idea of leasing office equipment, mainly because when they hear the term “lease” they think of hidden fees and “gotchas.” This may be true in some industries, however in the office solutions space it's just a simple financing tool! It allows you to obtain the equipment and solutions you need now without breaking the bank!

There are many advantages to leasing your office equipment. One of the biggest is that it allows your company to keep its cost low and stay up-to-date with the latest in cutting-edge technology. Many business owners look at leasing and think “I just don't want a payment each month." Yet, when you really look at what they are spending each month, many businesses are already paying that monthly payment and they just don't realize it. That toner cartridge they purchase each month for $100.00 from the big box stores--well,that's a monthly payment! However, all you are getting for that payment is just a toner cartridge. Leasing your equipment allows you take that same $100.00 you are paying and get so much more bang for your buck.

With the end of the year quickly approaching, many businesses are looking for ways to help relieve their tax burden. With section 179 of the IRS tax code you can do just that! Section 179 allows you to lease your equipment and take the full amount of that lease off your taxes at one time as if you paid cash! There are some limitations to the amount you are allowed to claim, so it's best to ask your accountant before you do anything!

Finally, with as fast as the technology world changes, leasing provides businesses the best opportunities to get the equipment they need in order to compete and flourish. Whether you lease your equipment, or purchase it out right, make sure to partner with a company that will have your best interests at heart. In the end, the leasing company is just a financing tool, but the servicing company is the one who will make sure your equipment operated properly for the entire leasing period.

 

The Inexpensive Printer Pitfall

We have all been there at some point and time in our lives. Your deadline is fast approaching, you finish up the final touches on the report, you hit print. The first page comes out beautiful! The second page, however, is not so lucky. After fighting with your printer for over an hour you wind up at a big box office supply store, shirt stained with toner, and one thought on your mind--buying yet another inexpensive device...

Sadly, this scenario happens on a regular basis in most offices. What most business don't know, though, is that those small printers and multifunction devices are costing them a small fortune! The typical customer's reasoning goes something like this, "It only cost me a couple hundred bucks, if it breaks I'll just buy a new one." Even though this statement is true, they are not looking at the total cost of ownership of the device. They are only looking at the hardware cost. In order to get the true cost of ownership you need to evaluate a number of different things. Let's take the same device that cost a couple hundred dollars. Now factor in the cost of toner or ink, drums or imaging units, and the actual time it took ordering or driving to purchase these items. The same device you once thought was a quick, cheap purchase is now costing you several hundred dollars per month to operate!

For a good example of this let's take a look at some actual data. The Canon MF726CDW is a small, color all-in-one that you can purchase on-sale for around $275.00. At first glance this looks like a great deal! However, when you dig a little deeper, you find out it can be very expensive to run. A full set of toner for this machine will cost you $542.96! And while the box promises that you will get 3400 pages per cartridge, it is only based on you using 5% coverage. Some of you might be wondering exactly what that means right about now. Your page "coverage" is the amount of toner or ink that is placed on the page. 5% coverage on a page is about the size of a business card. So every time you use more toner or ink than a business card would require on a page, your total number of pages decreases. I am not saying that there is not a place in the workplace for small inexpensive devices. What I am saying is to be careful about what you are purchasing and to take into account all the different factors that go into owning and operating these devices before you purchase it. In many cases you are paying for a much nicer device as well as a maintenance contract where someone will provide toners, parts, and supplies to you for much less than the cost to operate your "inexpensive printer." When it breaks, you don't have to wear the expensive toner or rush off to go buy a new one. Help is only one phone call away.

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