Sharp OSA


October 14th, 2011

As office automation technology improves, more functions are being added to machines used in
the office. Printers have come a long way in this progression. Today Multi-Function Printers can
print, scan, send faxes, and e-mail from the machine instantly; this saves organizations work time,
office space, and money.

While MFPs streamline document management within an organization, some manufacturers such
as Sharp use an Open System Architecture to make this process simple. Sharp’s Open Systems
Architecture, or OSA technology, enables you to add custom application modules that fit your
organization’s needs. Sharp MFPs with the OSA advantages enable you to extract and access key
document information, manage usage costs, and improve the work flow of your enterprise. One
popular MFP application is the OSA e-mail Connector.

The e-mail/fax connector module on the Sharp MFP perfectly integrates with most e-mail servers
by using industry-standard protocols and selected fax server products. This ability to act as a
universal database connector is a big benefit of the OSA platform. In addition, streamlining
internal document management, being able to track scanned/faxed documents for security, and
accessing documents from anywhere in a connected organization are other capabilities that can be
added to the OSA platform on Sharp MPFs.

Advantages of Sharp OSA e-mail Connector at a glance:

  • Seamless, deep integration with most e-mail servers, including Microsoft™ Exchange.
  • Can be configured to require user authentication.
  • Automatically places a copy of sent e-mail in “Sent” box for confirmation.
  • Can be used in conjunction with Scanner Power Tools.
  • Access global and personal address books, or limit access to keep recipient lists secure.
  • Supports multiple To, CC, and BCC addresses.
  • The Universal Database Connector pulls e-mail addresses from the CRM software, then sends selected e-mail via the SMTP server.
  • Connect to e-mail servers via LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and ODBC (Open Database Connectivity).
  • Standard SMTP protocol, including authentication.
  • E-mail and archive a document in one step.

With the ability to customize in such detail on a growing variety of Sharp MFPs, the OSA platform isgaining popularity in organizations of all sizes. As new product lines are introduced, Offix updates
its portfolio to keep up with your growing needs. For more information on this product or to see if
it is right for your organization, contact an Offix representative.

 

  Flexible end-of-term options


September 16th, 2011

Leasing a printer is a business investment. In order to receive the full benefits of your investment when making the decision to lease a print/copy machine, it is important to find a leasing company that can be relied upon to respond to your needs, is cooperative and easy to work with, and offers flexible leasing options.

At the end of a lease term, there are generally three end-of-lease options to choose from. You’ll be able to return the printing equipment, renew your lease, or purchase the equipment you’ve been using. Flexible vendors may also offer a thirty day lease option to give you time to go over your choices so you can make a well-informed decision that best suits your business.

In addition to flexible end-of-lease terms, a trusted leasing company will offer to wipe data off the machine’s hard drive, thereby preserving your business’s privacy. A knowledgeable and cooperative leasing vendor will also go over such options at the beginning and end of the leasing term.

Since leasing a print/copy machine is a business investment, leasing decision-makers should read and discuss the leasing agreement in detail with the leasing vendor. This will help the decision-makers to understand important items in the leasing agreement.

For example, an important end-of-lease term might state that, if not notified of the leaser’s intentions in a predetermined amount of time, the equipment lease will be renewed by default. Additionally, lease agreements that use subjective criteria to determine the equipment’s fair-market value should be avoided, particularly if the leaser is interested in purchasing the equipment at the end of the lease term. Finally, lease terms longer than the intended use of the equipment should not be made; this will afford flexibility as well as help prevent leasing contingencies.

A fair and trustworthy leasing vendor is up-front about such items on the leasing term, and notifies you of an approaching end-of-lease period. This allows you an opportunity go over the options you have, so you can make the best business decision for your organization.

 

  Determining Copier/Printer Volume


August 17th, 2011

It is important to know the volume of print and copy jobs you have per month so you can choose the printer-copier that is right for your business. For example, if you have 500 print and copy jobs per month, an industrial printer-copier is too much – a small or mid-sized MFP will be more efficient.

There are three ways to know your print/copy output:

  1. If you are outsourcing your print/copy jobs, review your printer/copier bills.
  2. If you are printing/copying in-house, check to see if your printers/copiers have a meter that records the number of jobs processed.
  3. If none of the above applies to you, work with your printing vendor to establish the best starting output.

Inflate your estimated print/copy volume by 15% – 20% when choosing a machine that will serve you efficiently.  This is important because most document imaging device vendors specify a monthly duty cycle for their products.  The monthly duty cycle number, which can usually be found on the product spec sheet, represents the maximum number of pages a product can produce in a month.

The monthly duty cycle is not the volume at which the product should be used on a regular basis – consistently running machines at their duty cycle would result in the need for frequent service visits, and could cause the machines to not last their projected term of lease.  For example, if your current output is 1500 sheets per month, and you lease/buy a machine with an output of 1500 sheets per month, you will be using the machine to its maximum capacity and may be increasing the risk of frequent service visits or meltdowns; you also risk leaving yourself no space to meet an increased output demand. To maintain your printer-copier and not run the chances of frequent breakdowns or service visits, it is best to go for a printer with a maximum output of 2500 – 3000 sheets per month. In this case, even if your output increases to 2000 sheets per month, you are still within an optimum duty cycle.

Thus, before deciding on a particular brand or model, it is important to speak with your leasing/sales vendor about the machine usage volume as well as discuss a service schedule that will help maintain your business economy and keep your machines functioning smoothly.

  Consider these tips before switching back to black and white printing


July 18th, 2011

With increased global crises, the current recession and the rising costs of maintaining technology printers and copiers seem like a small but good place to start being frugal. As more and more businesses are trying to save money, many are switching back to black and white printing. But before you decide to say goodbye to color printing forever, consider the following:

There are Many Shades in Black and White

Before deciding whether to switch to black and white printing as default, make sure your color photocopier or printer is capable of economic black and white printing. Some color network printers print in black and white by using all the colors together; if this is the case, then switching to black and white output would not be more cost effective and could instead increase the amount of color toner used.

Pennywise – Pound Foolish

Switching from color to black and white printing may require the replacement of all network printers. Before you decide to make the switch, compare the long-term costs of replacing your entire print fleet with your current expenditure verses the price of keeping what you already have.

Outsourcing Costs More

Studies have shown that when you incorporate the cost of outsourcing color prints, it often works out more cost efficiently to conduct all printing in-house, and to maintain photocopiers and printers for promotional and sale materials, or any other materials that need to capturing attention and deliver extra impact.

Uncover the Hidden Costs

Document expenditures average 6% of overall revenues across all industries,and developing a strict print strategy is one of the quickest and simplest ways to save money. On a basic level, this could mean only using the photocopiers for color output when absolutely necessary. Most organizations would benefit more from a holistic approach that simplifies complex workflows, maximizes efficiency, and addresses all out of control printing and copying costs. If done correctly, it is possible for companies of all sizes to become more efficient and increase productivity, while reducing long-term costs even while keeping color devices.

  Preventative Maintenance


June 20th, 2011

The most important element in equipment uptime is preventative maintenance.

In a September 2008 blog post we discussed the benefits of choosing an authorized dealer.  We mentioned that it is important to have your printer checked and tuned up on a regular schedule to help enhance the value of having an authorized dealer. While an authorized dealer will ensure that you are receiving the best technical expertise, customer service, and original manufacturer equipment, without ongoing maintenance no dealer – authorized or not – can guarantee reliable and consistent equipment uptime. Regular maintenance will save you money by maintaining optimum productivity levels of your machine and by avoiding issues that can cause costly office equipment repair bills.

Regularly scheduled preventive maintenance is required for the MFP to consistently provide high quality prints, extend the life of the equipment, keep items maintained and working efficiently, and nearly eliminates equipment down-time.  Good maintenance programs will guarantee at least 95% uptime of your regular business hours over the course of an entire year.

Additionally, a comprehensive program will also include technology that will diagnose problems before they occur, stop unnecessary spending by identifying overworked or under-used devices, and eliminate printer chaos. In some cases, maintenance plans also save you money on supplies such as paper and toner. Some plans even include free shipping and free meter readings.

Basic plans may be included as a part of your printer lease or buying package, while other plans with added features come at an additional monthly cost, but ensure your printers’ long and hassle free work life. To help you choose the plan that is right for you, your vendor should analyze the number of needed printers for your organization network, the different printer brands, and the projected workload in addition to other factors that are unique to your organization.

When choosing a maintenance provider, be sure to consider the providers’ authorization to work with different brands, their experience, the completeness of the program, and included guarantees in addition to the costs.

 

 

 

  Multifunction Printers: Are They Really Secure?


May 16th, 2011

Large numbers of Multi-Function Printers (MFP) have hard drives that store images of all scanned, copied, printed and e-mailed documents. Many people are unaware that, even after the plug is pulled on these machines, the hard drives in the machines continue to carry images of previous documents and are a potential threat to personal and organizational security.

A recent CBS news coverage on the topic of MFP hard drive security revealed that the MFP manufacturing industry has not been very proactive about letting people know of the potential dangers due to the lack of copier hard drive security. The news coverage may be seen here. Several manufacturers do offer security kits, but they are not a part of the standard printer package, and can often be expensive. President of Sharp Imaging Solutions, Ed McLaughlin spoke on CBS about technologies available to ensure data protection on MFPs.

Data overwrite systems and data cleaning systems are two popular programs that most mainstream brands offer to help protect against data theft from MFP hard drives. At Offix, we care about the electronic identity security of our clients, so we carry brands that offer the high standards of digital security. Ricoh, Canon, and Sharp offer data overwrite and hard drive erasing systems that fit the privacy needs of each business.

Ricoh offers MFPs with features that destroy data on hard drive if someone tries to remove the hard drive or illegally access data on it. Another line of Ricoh products offers clients the flexibility of removing the hard drive from the printer before discarding the printer, so that data can remain with the client. Yet another option is to buy the Ricoh line of MFPs that do not have hard drives that store data, but instead have Random Access Memory (RAM) that uses memory for ongoing projects only. This means that the printer will only have images from current jobs such as scanning, printing, or copying. Once the job is completed, the data will cease to exist in the printer’s memory.

Similar to Ricoh, Sharp products offer data protection packages and options specific to each line of MFP. In fact, Sharp Imaging Solutions has been offering data security kits for the last 10 years. Data encryption and overwrite has been made standard in their MX Color line of MFPs. In addition, Sharp is also offering a password lock option and an end of lease option to ensure total data security for their some of their product lines

Canon’s popular imageRUNNER line of printers offers a unique data protection kit. Because of its architecture, the vast majority of jobs processed by imageRUNNER systems result in images being written to the Image Server hard disk drive and RAM. To address this condition, Canon has developed an optional imageRUNNER Security Kit.  This kit allows security conscious customers to configure their imageRUNNER systems with the internal software necessary to randomly overwrite internal Image Server disks, which erases previous data stored during part of routine job-processing tasks.

It is important to understand the data protection needs of your organization while considering a network printer or a stand alone printer, so that when the lease on your current MFP is up, when the machine breaks down and needs replacement, or if you simple want to replace the scanner, printer, copier machine you currently have, your data can be erased from the machine’s hard drive before it leaves your premises.

  So Many Options; How Do I Choose?


April 17th, 2011

A Guide to Selecting the Right Copier/Printer for You

Photocopiers, which these days are almost exclusively digital multifunction printers & devices, can be a major purchase for a business, with pricing ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on requirements. There are several different types of printing technology to choose from, each suited for different needs. Printers come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny travel companions to workgroup workhorses; some are geared toward photographers, while others are for multi-taskers. How do you know which one to choose? A good vendor will help you analyze your specific situation and recommend a variety of solutions that will meet your needs. The following guidelines will help you take the first step in finding the best printer for your company.

1. Define your requirements
Before you talk to a vendor, decide how you would like to use the machine and know which features you really need for your business. This will allow your vendor to narrow down the selection and provide you with the best machine that suits your needs. A good vendor should also help you prioritize the features and requirements, and provide you with the best solutions for you budget.

2. When selecting a vendor be sure that they carry more than one brand.
The copier companies want you to think that their copiers are worlds apart from the next brand’s copiers, but really, the top brands are comparable. A good vendor will carry multiple brand lines and help you choose the best one for your needs. They will help you compare copier prices from different brands so you know you are getting a good value. One brand’s black and white laser printer might cost twice as much as another’s — just because of the brand name. You can also research online before you shop at a store to read product reviews, and so you can make sure you’re getting a good deal. Some popular copier brands you can look up online are listed below.

  • Canon
  • Sharp
  • HP
  • KIP
  • Konica Minolta
  • Kyocera
  • Lexmark
  • Oce
  • Panasonic
  • Ricoh
  • Secap
  • Toshiba
  • Xerox

3. Determine the type of device you need.

a. Multifunction Printer (also known as MFP)
The standard in commercial copiers; an MFP combines copying, scanning, printing, and faxing into one machine. Multifunctions are offered by all of the top copier companies, including Sharp, Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, and many more.

b. Workgroup
If you need a workhorse that can keep up with your department or team within a larger organization, a workgroup printer is a good choice. Workgroup features such as network printing, high-capacity toner cartridges, and larger paper input and output trays are designed to juggle multiple print jobs.

c. Laser
Laser printers are more efficient and more common to the workplace than inkjet printers because lasers are faster. Inkjet printers may cost less outright, but each page can cost up to 20 cents to print, due to the high cost of inkjet ink, compared to a laser copy’s 6 cents per page.

d. Wide Format
Wide-format printers are generally accepted to be any printer with a print width between 17″ and 100″. These printers are used to print banners, posters and general signage and in some cases may be more economical than methods such as screenprinting. Wide format printers generally use a roll of print material rather than individual sheets and may incorporate hot-air dryers to prevent prints from sticking to themselves as they are produced.

4. Consider these major features.

a. Black and White vs Color
While black and white copies do offer an incredible amount of clarity in printed material, those printers lack the ability to provide clarity in images; for this purpose color copiers are often a necessity. Color copier prices have reduced over the years with improvements in printer equipment, and the choice between black and white copies and color copies has become a viable option in terms of cost. The color ink/toner costs more than the black ink/toner; however, when the technology is set up properly to meet an office’s printing/copying needs, you can get those color prints down to as low as $.06 per single page.

b. Resolution
The resolution is a critical consideration as it is the key component to producing detailed text and clean images. The resolution refers to the maximum number of dots per inch (dpi) that can be printed. The dpi is measured both horizontally and vertically. For example, a 600x600dpi laser printer lays down a one-inch square composed of 600 dots across by 600 dots down. The higher the resolution, the more detail and accuracy there will be per print.

c. Print speeds
Print speed is simply the number of pages per minute (ppm) that a printer produces. As a guideline, 30ppm = 1 page every 2 seconds. If this is the first copier that your office will be purchasing, you might not need to buy a model that copies/prints faster than 30 ppm. If you’re a busy corporate office, however, or your daily copy jobs are bulky, you might want to think about buying a copier that’s 40 ppm or above.

d. Connectivity
The USB is truly universal–all printers now have a USB 2.0 port, but if you want to go old school, you’ll still find plenty of printers that accept those big, 25-pin parallel cables. Workgroup printers also support printing over a network by using a standard Ethernet cable with an RJ-45 connector. For even better mobility, many models support printing wirelessly, using infrared, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi access points with built-in print servers.

e. Memory
If you have multiple users or you often print large files, then you’ll need a printer with a fast processor and ample onboard memory. While 8 MB of memory may be adequate for small office use, if your printer will be used heavily, you should only consider multifunction printers that have at least 16 MB of memory.

f. Paper Handling
The typical paper-handling specs on a printer include everything from the size and thickness of various types of paper to the standard and optional input- and output-tray capacity. Generally, all printers print on standard paper (letter and legal sizes), accept envelopes, and have input and output trays that hold at least 100 sheets. More advanced printers have additional paper-handling features such as tabloid-size printing, large format printing, duplexing (printing on both sides), auto document feeders for faxing and copying, stapling, and three hole punch.

5. Review the maintenance options
Preventive maintenance on a regular basis is required in order to consistently provide users with high quality prints. Regular maintenance also extends the life of the equipment, and is often required by equipment manufacturers in order to keep warranties valid. Consider programs that offer certified service technicians who are authorized by the manufacture to service your brand. It is economically wise to use authorized service personnel because they will use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) products for your printer. Off market parts and products may be less expensive in the short term, but in the long run affect the machine’s performance and may cause other long-term problems.


  Go Green and Save


March 16th, 2011

Five Tips to Easily and Affordable Go Green

It’s our duty to reduce our impact on the earth with less energy consumption, less waste, and more recycling. Reclaiming materials that can be used again is one way we, at Green Printing, help accomplish the goal of reduced impact. Printing in an environmentally sustainable way, and printing economically, may be seen as the same thing as printing “green,” which also provides businesses significant cost savings.

We take our environmental actions seriously, ensuring they are designed to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever and whenever possible. Here are some tips to help you do the same.

1. Use recycled paper and set your copier for auto-duplex and toner save mode
Paper that is made from 100% post-consumer waste does not come from killing more trees, and tends to be un-coated and free of chlorine, which causes the paper to biodegrade more quickly in landfills than non-recycled paper.

Using automatic two-sided printing and copying can save you up to 50% of your paper supply. But if you want to save even more – up to 75% of your paper supply – make sure to allow users to copy or print multiple pages on one sheet. You can also set your copier to “toner save mode” which allows for 20% more economical toner usage when printing documents.

2. Choose toner plastics wisely
The plastics in toner cartridges are usually petroleum based, but there are now plenty of manufacturers making plant based toner cartridges for printers. If you are unsure that your printer is able to use such cartridges, check with your printer manufacturer or use refilled or refurbished ink cartridges. These refurbished cartridges not only save you up to 50% on your cartridge ink cost, but will also keep empty cartridges from polluting the earth and becoming landfill material. Be sure to enroll in your manufacture’s plastic toner container collection program if available.

3. Shut off computing appliances when not in use
Many businesses often fail to see the benefit of this small tip: turn off your computer and printer at the end of a day, each day. This not only saves you on your electricity but it also protects the environment by using less. Even though settings such as Low Power Mode, Auto Sleep Time, and Energy Saver Modes can improve energy efficiency when the device is idle or not in use, they still take from your dollars and increase your carbon foot-print. So, do the environment and your budget a favor by turning off your electronics when they are not in use.

4. Seek Energy Star and RoHS Complaint products
Energy Star qualified products are 25% more efficient than conventional models. By using less energy, these products reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy as well as money, after the initial purchase. RoHS (EU) complaint products eliminate the use of hazardous materials found in electronic products. This product restricts the use of Cadmium, Mercury, Lead, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB), and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE).

5. Maximize electronic documentation
By converting paper-based documents into electronic data formats for archival purposes, or for distribution to other destinations, you will greatly reduce huge volumes of paper stored in file cabinets, while also reducing the need to distribute hardcopy documents via interoffice, overnight delivery, or regular mail. When scanning, be sure that your device uses white LEDs to lower energy consumption by up to 70%. This also shortens the recovery time from energy-saving mode, when compared to traditional xexon lamp technology.


  Are Managed Print Services Right for Your Business?


February 21st, 2011

When considering overall document expenditures average 6% of overall revenues across all industries (InfoTrends, 2010), there is no doubt that most businesses understand how managed print services can help cut costs and manage print environments effectively.

A thorough managed print services strategy may be exactly what the doctor ordered for most businesses in order to streamline processes, realign resources to core business activities, establish financial controls, and ultimately make the business more competitive.  However, it is also quite easy to convince yourself that your company won’t benefit as much as advertised. If you are trying to determine how your company could benefit from managed print services, consider the following questions:

    1. Are you able to access and print documents from any connected computer or office anytime, anywhere?
    2. How much does downtime cost you?
    3. Do you have the print management knowledge or time necessary to internally handle all of your print solutions?
    4. Can you identify which component of your print fleet is costing you the most? If so, do you know how you can increase efficiencies throughout?
    5. Does your current equipment efficiently deliver what your employees need?
    6. Have you performed a print analysis to determine if your cost and productivity goals are achievable with your current devices?

 If you answered “No” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions then it may be time to consider managed services for your office.  One of the fundamental challenges when assessing printing expenses is determining what is being spent and where. When employees are unable to print effectively and your IT department is constantly bogged down by broken devices, productivity suffers.

At Offix we understand how printing impacts business processes, compliance, privacy, and cost.

For over a decade we have optimized document processes and have developed robust printfleet management programs that reduce printing cost, increased up time and employee productivity. Our comprehensive approach gradually improves office workflow, with every step providing guaranteed protection of investment.

  Helping Your Business Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution with Canon’s UniFlow System


January 8th, 2011

With the 2011 just beginning and your corporate goals of greater efficiency and commitment to running a greener business anew, do you know if you have the tools in place to help you measure and track the information you need to succeed?

All of us at Offix are committed to helping businesses become greener, more informed and more efficient.  By carrying only the most reliable products, we help keep your office running smoothly, encourage responsible printing behaviors, and get your prints exactly as intended and when you need them.

UniFlow by Canon is the latest addition to our line. UniFlow is designed to save you time and money by providing effective control over your entire print fleet. You’ll be able to identify and manage the cost of printing, copying, scanning, and faxing across your enterprise. With UniFlow, you can identify users’ printing behaviors and address their needs to improve the overall efficiency of printing and security.

 Product highlights:

With advanced functionality such as card authentication, secure printing and cost center selection you’ll be able to track print and copy costs on networked MFPs, printers as well as locally connected desktop printers.

UniFlow is a system with customizable intelligence to hand your work over to the next available printer without letting print data out to anyone without the authority;  with the ability to be used across various programs and be used across an organization.

Because of its web-based architecture and scalability, UniFlow fits perfectly with any size organization as it allows the software to be run over multiple buildings, locations or sites.