It’s wild to think that a copy machine might be the hidden gem investment that helps your business grow exponentially. But in today’s business landscape, that’s just part of the status quo. Modern business is all about streamlining efficiency, and figuring out how to get more work done in the same amount of time. Cutting-edge software products, optimized workflows, and a well-structured chain of communication can all help you take off.
With all the hype surrounding these flashy new-age tools and concepts, your copy machine might be an afterthought. Business owners and employees alike generally see it as a one-trick pony rather than the mechanical swiss army knife it really is.
That’s a costly mistake, considering the noteworthy impact that modern copy machine features can have on your office’s productivity. Whether you want to know what to look for in a new copy machine, or help your team make the most of one you already have, here are 9 nifty features you need to know about, in order of importance.
Automatic Toner Ordering
When you get busy, reordering toner is one of the easiest things to put on the back burner. Unfortunately, that story inevitably ends with you trying to read a document in the world’s lightest shade of gray while your entire office is unable to print for days.
Even if you’re responsible and think ahead, who on earth remembers their toner’s ridiculous number and letter combination off the top of their head? Looking that figure up and ordering it online is a pesky task you don’t have time for. Automatic toner ordering is a swift, simple life raft that saves you a headache every month or so.
Adding "The Trimmings"
Copying documents is easy enough, but scanning and editing in order to reprint those documents with some small changes can seem like an inordinate amount of work for so little payoff.
To make life easier, many copy machines nowadays have a function that allows you to add simple things like page numbers and dates to your copies automatically. Some can even store your watermark on their hard drive.
Most copiers give businesses the option to restrict access to their machine by providing each user with his or her own unique PIN. It’s a useful security measure, but there’s not much to prevent users from sharing their PINs as freely as their favorite Facebook meme.
Fortunately, biometric technology is rapidly seeping into new applications, and copy machines are no exception. Some copiers will recognize a user’s fingerprints, and some might even use voice or facial recognition. You can forget a PIN, but you’re far less likely to forget your finger.
Auto duplexing simply means printing on both sides of the page (as opposed to turning the paper over manually), Honestly, you probably already knew this existed.
Still, there’s always that one old-fashioned person in your office who’s done things the same way since the 90’s, and you can easily cut back on time and printing costs by taking 30 seconds to show them where to find the “Print on Both Sides” box.
Copy Part of a Page
Sometimes there’s simply no need to waste toner by copying text and images you don’t need, and other times a page might contain personal or sensitive information that you’d rather not share with two dozen coworkers and the building contractors who can see over their shoulders.
Again, scanning and editing is a process with too many annoying steps. That’s why the bulk of today’s copy machines allow you to select a specific section of your document before you make copies or scan to email. Speaking of which…
Scan to Email & Scan to File
In case you hadn’t noticed yet, the vast majority of these features are designed to help you skip steps in an everyday process. Scan to email and scan to file (typically .pdf or .docx) functions are part of that pattern.
The benefit is that you can essentially do right from the copier what you used to need your computer for. Even if that only saves a minute of time, it’s one minute for every time that kind of task needs done each day, times the number of employees doing it.
The ability to log every word you copy into a searchable database presents opportunities for both convenience and analytics. Character recognition technology makes that possible for all but those select few eccentric folks who choose to write exclusively in wingdings and emojis.
This capability is quickly becoming a staple for copy machines. Most will store that data onto their internal hard drive, but some have the technology to upload it to a cloud database that can be shared across multiple office locations.
Collate & Staple
In past decades, people used to spend hours every month putting together printed handbooks, or packets for presentations. And no matter how sure-handed they were with a stapler, one or two would always come out looking too sloppy to use.
To be blunt, if your copy machine doesn’t let you collate and staple printed packets, it’s time to get a new one. Having a machine that can print booklets as opposed to just documents is a massive time saver. Some can even do binding or hole-punching.
Print from Mobile
Let’s be real: the act of emailing something to yourself has always felt kind of silly. That’s why the ability to print from your phone or tablet is hands-down the best modern copy machine feature.
As an added bonus, mobile printing allows you to print from anywhere in the office without first having to walk back to your desk. In addition to saving you time, that also offers you the safety net of being able to do it before you forget (which is a true gift from the heavens if you get distracted easily).
Do you copy?
Like telephones and automobiles, copy machines have evolved markedly over the past few decades. Getting the most out of the one in your office can stretch your margins, give you the power to scale faster, and help you get everyone home on time.