When is it Time to Update Your Printer Fleet

Printers play a huge role in most businesses and are considered a staple of the modern office. Nonetheless, just like other machinery, they need to be repaired and even replaced. Although the modern printer life expectancy has increased, other technological advances make periodical upgrades important.

However, since printers – especially high-end ones – represent a significant investment for most companies, an office might be inclined to hang on to a printer for as long as possible, squeezing utility out of a device long past its natural lifespan. Sure, a new printer is expensive. However, using ancient devices to perform modern tasks is just asking to throttle office productivity which eats into costs in the long run.

Here are some insights into how to plan for a new printer when the moment comes. It’s not as scary as it might seem at first.

Planning for a New Printer

The average lifespan of an office printer is about four to five years. In a world of rapid technological advancement, that’s quite a little while. To put it into perspective, it’s only been 5 years since Microsoft unveiled Windows 8, the short-lived Flappy Bird was a global phenomenon, and the iPhone 6 was the latest version.

Likewise, five years is a lot of time for businesses to change and evolve, transforming their printing needs. Therefore, when planning for a new printer, consider the following:

  • How has the workflow in the office changed since this printer was first deployed?
  • What features do modern printers have which might augment office workflow?
  • Is the security up to date, or does this device lack critical patches and technology to make it secure?
  • Can the print environment footprint be reduced to make space for other high-impact tasks in the space? For example, would a multifunction printer make more sense than four separate devices to print, scan, copy, and fax?

What’s in a Budget?

Buying a new printer can certainly be expensive but hanging onto an old one can drive up print-related costs dramatically. In addition to the cost of the printer itself, organizations also need to account for the costs of:

  • Paper
  • Ink and toner cartridges
  • Maintenance, repairs, and spare parts
  • Outsourced print jobs
  • Software
  • Personnel time
  • Utility usage

Like with considering the way an organization’s printing needs change over the lifespan of the printer, it’s also important to consider the way the auxiliary costs of owning and operating a printer will change as well.

How a Managed Print Provider Can Help

Managed print services can greatly reduce stress when it comes time to update the printer. Not only are such services experts in the manufacturer lines they carry, but they can help identify needs which a business has but doesn’t realize. This foresight represents a tremendous advantage for a company in the long run. However, a managed print provider can also:

  • Conduct an initial assessment to help narrow the printer selection.
  • Help reduce auxiliary costs overall with print tracking and policy.
  • Provide financing options to lease or make payments on printing equipment.
  • Include maintenance specialists in a contract to keep the in-house IT staff free.
  • Monitor a fleet for security on an ongoing basis.

5 Signs the Printer Life Expectancy Is Past

Beyond simply a feeling in the gut that the printer’s life is over, here are five salient signs that a printer needs to be replaced.

1. Constant mechanical problems.

If the printer is spending more time down than running, it’s time to replace it. Broken printers drive up repair costs, cause employees to lose work time, and produce poor print quality.

2. Difficulty finding supplies or spare parts.

It’s a very bad sign if eBay is the first choice for supplies or spare parts which fit a model because no other more reputable source exists. If it’s hard to find consumables or spare parts, it’s time to update.

3. Skyrocketing maintenance costs.

Modern printers, especially multifunction printers, are easy to work on because printer manufacturers understand the need to get a printer up and running as quickly as possible. If the office has to call a specialist who charges absorbent rates because he’s the only guy in town who knows how to work on that model, it’s time to update.

4. Frequent print outsourcing.

Are employees constantly running to the local print shop to print jobs because the printer simply cannot handle it, or because doing so would tie it up for hours and inconvenience everyone else? Then the office printer is not able to keep up with the company’s printing demands and needs to go.

5. Noticeable technological shortcomings.

Modern printers have sleek touchscreens, WiFi connectivity, and automatic duplex printing. Does the office printer look like it’s from the 1970s? It’s definitely time to update.


Choosing a New Printer with a Smile

It’s important to update the printer – printing equipment needs to be periodically refreshed. Buying a new printer can be stressful, but with the guidance of an imaging expert, it isn’t.

Smile provides purchasing insight and managed print services to companies in California and western Nevada. Contact us today to get started.