If you need to kit out a small branch office with computer equipment and are stuck on what printer, scanner or fax to choose, then consider these tips:
Mono Laser Printing
It is an accepted fact that good quality, fit for purpose mono laser printers are the cheapest to run per page. Colour inkjets are the most expensive printer type to run and so we only recommend them where clients require large format (A3 or larger) or photo quality colour output. A colour laser offers better price per page than colour inkjet, but there is a higher purchase cost and so most clients prefer a mono laser printer to be installed at branch level.
"...most clients prefer a mono laser printer to be installed at branch level."
Sheet Feed Scanning
Many branches have to get their paperwork back to head office pronto - and in some trades this can be a challenge because hand completed paperwork is still the norm. Some clients will fax or even post their paperwork back to head office but actually the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly way of getting these documents back to a central location is by use of professional grade sheet feed scanner.
We know that there is no such thing as a paperless office. It's not surprising, and there are many valid reasons why some clients still need to send or receive faxes. If you need branch level faxing then you'll need to consider a fax machine too.
Multifunction Printer / Scanner / Fax
One route you can take at branch level is to buy a multifunction device that will print, perform sheet feed scanning, and also act as a fax machine. Multifunction ("All In One")devices offer good value for money, reduce support overhead (only one device to install), reduce consumable cost (only one toner to buy rather than a separate one for the fax) and also can save desk space when compared with a separate scanner, printer and fax machine. Most multifunction printers also work as a photocopier – this might be useful.
"Most multifunction printers also work as a photocopier – this might be useful."
The key disadvantage is that an out of warranty failure of one device (e.g. the scanner) could make the equipment a white elephant. A multifunction device is therefore a good starting point for your branch office, but you may like to consider an extended warranty.
Separate Mono Laser Printer
If you prefer to go the separates route then you’ll usually get a faster, better, more reliable printer, but will lose some of the benefits of a multifunction printer. Separates are always easier to repair and failure does not affect your business quite as much.
At branch level we recommend workgroup class HP LaserJet printers; we find them so reliable that we do not usually quote for an extended warranty. We have such a good HP LaserJet repair team that we can usually repair your HP LaserJet cheaper than you can buy the warranty for.
Seperate Sheet Feed Scanner
If your branch office has to get hand-filled paperwork back to HQ for processing, a fast, high quality sheet feed scanner is your best bet. They are designed to scan many documents at once (no lifting your scanner lid here!) and will usually convert scans to PDF or low resolution file for efficient tarnsfer to head office by email or VPN.