At first glance, the idea of a multifunction printer is brilliant. Why not have the ability to combine several different machines into one? But while many Multifunction Printers (or MFPs) certainly have their advantages, there are also some distinct disadvantages with them as well.
What are the Advantages?
Saving Space – Modern-day office spaces normally have so much equipment laying around, that the idea of combining several units into one package is very appealing. If you can have one unit that acts as a scanner, fax, printer, and a few other devices, you have a cleaner and more efficient workspace.
Saving Money – One of the downsides to owning several different machines is buying the parts and paying for maintenance on all the different machines as well. Toner is a big expenditure as well. Having one larger machine that does several different jobs allows you to invest in bulk toner cartridges that save money and reduce your overall costs.
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Saving Time – Instead of buying several mediocre machines, investing in one multifunction device that does several different jobs allows you to spend your money on a superior product, such as an a3 printer. With superior products, you can expect faster print speeds, faster send times, and clearer images.
What are the Disadvantages?
Increased Congestion – If you work in a large office, and rely on an MFP to perform most of the functions in the office, then it could create a line of people that need it for different purposes. A person waiting to use the scanning function will be behind someone making copies, who is also behind someone trying to fax something. Dedicated machines eliminate this problem.
Increased Initial Costs – One of the ways you can alleviate this problem is by purchasing multiple MFPs for your office space; the downside is that they are generally more expensive, so procuring one at the outset may come with significantly higher costs, even though the overall maintenance costs may be lower.
Increased Service Inconveniences – If you work in an office that relies on an MFP instead of dedicated devices, what happens when the machine needs to be serviced or is out of commission for a while? The time between the machine going down initially and when the service technician arrives could be hours or even days, resulting in a substantial loss of work and possibly revenue.
Which type of machine is right for your office? The answer is different for everyone, but with the quality and functionality of MFPs increasing every day, it’s hard to make a case against them.
At the same time, the possible downsides that can result from relying on a single device could be costly, so it’s imperative to have fail-safes in case of such an event. Ultimately, it comes down to understanding the individual needs of your office and planning accordingly.