Bernice Hynard, General Manager, Print Solutions at Tarsus Distribution
Few businesses are paperless – and many will never be. Smart MFPs are accelerating digital strategies and helping companies in every industry make the journey toward transformation.
Print has come under fire for decades despite being an important part of our lives. Organisations everywhere have been seeking ways to reduce paper usage and cut down on print costs.
More recently, with the coming of the digital revolution, many believed that print was dead. But the reality is that content is more important than ever, and there is more of it generated every day.
Organisations need a digital transformation strategy for the myriad documents they produce as part of their operations. The ongoing shift from paper to digital documents and the growing need for automation across the organisation is bringing about a new era of smart multifunction printers (MFPs), with functionality that is enhanced by increasingly sophisticated software solutions.
Typical MFPs combine several office requirements, including a photocopier, printer and scanner. As such, they are the cornerstone of every organisation’s transformation into a digital environment. We view them as the on- and off-ramps to the digital highway.
MFPs enable automation, with document management systems eliminating inefficient business processes and replacing them with automated digital workflows. These include digital workflows that incorporate document repositories, databases, cloud services, email and electronic content management systems.
With MFPs’ scanning functionality, users can scan, index, process, share, and route documents to the right destination. MFPs that come with content management systems can automatically allocate documentation and ensure strict access requirements and tracking, giving businesses better control over access to documents with secure print management preventing misuse.
According to an IDC study, half of all back-office workflow processes still have significant printing requirements. At Tarsus Distribution, for example, picking, packing and dispatching rely on ensuring that documentation is provided to everyone in the warehouse and along the entire supply chain.
At the same time, digitising content and moving from paper to digital is a key building block for any digital transformation strategy. In the modern workplace, MFPs are also a necessary component of computing at the edge.
Many printers utilise cloud connectivity, along with improved document processing capabilities and intelligence. With IoT sensors and networking technologies, businesses can gain valuable real-time insight into print usage. This also means that the devices become increasingly intelligent and may be connected, monitored and managed remotely.
By moving the printing infrastructure to the cloud and implementing content management solutions, organisations can better allocate resources, improve business efficiency, and reduce operating and maintenance costs.
"Managed MFPs with powerful, intelligent software and document management systems that enhance digital workflows remain key for business efficiency, because paper will be around for many years to come."
Businesses will benefit from MFPs when they view them less as printers and copiers, and more as devices with digital capabilities – and along with IoT, MFPs offer the promise of greater business value.