As companies move to digitize more records, they are relying more heavily on multifunction printers (MFPs) for these tasks. Also known as MFPs, these devices are capable of printing, copying, scanning, and in some cases faxing. Furthermore, higher-end MFPs can integrate with business software to connect paper documents with digital workflows. This insight piece will explore this trend.

MFP use considered a top business workflow improvement initiative

When asked if their organization has various initiatives in place to improve business workflows, 46% of office workers indicated that they are using MFPs to scan paper documents—making it the top two initiative out of nine possible choices. The only effort that is more common is implementation of electronic forms.

Figure 1: Does your organization have any of the following initiatives to improve business workflows?Please select the top three.

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Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research

Reason for popularity of MFPs

MFPs are growing in popularity as they pack multiple functions into one device. While businesses may increasingly need the scan function for digitization efforts, they also likely require print and copy capabilities at times. By having all these functions in one device (and often fax as well), they can perform all of these tasks without needing to purchase multiple devices.

This saves companies money as well as cuts down on the amount of space needed for the technology (i.e., separate printers, single-function copiers, single-function scanners, and fax machines are not required). Furthermore, should they need to perform two or more functions consecutively they don’t need to walk to separate devices.

Scan capabilities of MFPs

Most MFPs have a control panel or touchscreen that lets users initiate a scan job directly from the device. Users select the scan icon, and then choose the appropriate type of scanning. This may be scan to email, scan to desktop, scan to network folder, scan to USB drive, scan to cloud service, scan to workflow, or scan to another destination.

Furthermore, individuals can select their preferred scan resolution, format, and color mode (i.e., color, grayscale, or black and white).

Many MFPs also feature an automatic document feeder that feeds paper one page at a time into the device, allowing users to scan multi-page documents without having to manually replace each page. The most robust of these feeders can hold hundreds of pages, scan both sides of a sheet simultaneously, and reach speeds of over 100 images per minute.

Another potential scan feature of an MFP is inclusion of optical character recognition (OCR) software. This software works with an MFP to convert printed characters into digital text, allowing users to search for or edit their document in a word processing program.

Security of MFP scanning

Higher-end MFPs often have hard drives that can save information that passes through an MFP, such as a scanned image. To help ensure these images do not get into the wrong hands, there are a number of steps a company can take. They can, for instance, require users to authenticate themselves before using the MFP. They can also configure the MFP to delete files stored on the hard drive after a specific amount of time, or password-protect the MFP hard drive—among other security options. Contact our experts to help you choose the right multi-function printer for your organization.

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