Yes, you read that right. Our roots as a Document Management organization has made us avid advocates of reducing (or completely eliminating) paper for our clients, and 24 years later, that’s still a key mission for us. But throughout our 2 decades of talking with different organizations about how and why they need paper, it has become increasingly clear that by using the right devices organizations can create a harmonious environment using both digital and manual document processes. So, how can copiers play a role in your paperless strategy? 

It’s relatively simple, and it happens by making conscientious decisions about how, why, and what you’re going to automate, you can build a process for your business that works well and is sustainable. 

At PiF we consider workflow automation through software and advanced office hardware to go hand in hand. But what’s important to consider about both types of solutions is that they need to be effective in order to be beneficial to your business. Simply having an automation solution implemented or a copier installed isn’t enough to transform the processes you have that currently don’t work. In order to have a successful automation strategy for your entire organization, there are a few things to consider. 

Being smart about what you automate

A common issue with many other automation implementation organizations is that they force their customers to automate too much, too soon. While this may seem like a good thing, completely flipping everything on its head can be too much for organizations to handle and lead to non-adoption and the system completely failing shortly after implementation. In best case scenarios, this can start off as a successful sprint but quickly fade out because it isn’t built to be sustainable and employees aren’t adjusting to the complete 180 degree switch. 

Simply tossing out your old tech isn’t a smart move either, in order to successfully move towards automation, you need to fully understand how your existing software and hardware can work effectively with the new. PiF is acutely aware of this and a crucial part of our process is integrating with your existing processes, whether that’s your current Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software or your existing hardware and processes in-office. 

Choosing the right copier

These days, a copier isn’t just a copier. It’s expected to connect seamlessly to any device wirelessly, print the highest quality, and work quickly and effectively. Fortunately, in 2020 there are few discrepancies between the major copier manufacturers, but it’s still important to select a copier and a copier dealer who has your best interests in mind. 

Many manufacturers are focused on your dollars more than your business’ needs and require you to invest additional time, money, and resources in order to use it to its full abilities, meaning seemingly simple tasks can become unintentionally more difficult.  

Determining what features would make completing daily tasks simpler can make it easier to find a copier that works better for your business. For example, if you regularly rely on smart phones to receive information, Ricoh’s smart device connector app can enhance the print from your phone experience, allowing for easy customization. 

Finding a partner that works for you 

As more copier providers begin to pivot towards digital offerings, it’s important to find a copier partner that has a deep understanding of the technical aspects of copier installation, service, and use. Often organizations are enticed by competitive pricing and showmanship but wind up with a copier dealer who doesn’t have their best interests in mind. The ideal partner your organization should look for is someone who has dual knowledge of both software and hardware to best assess how both can work well for your organization. 

A common problem we run up against is copier technicians who are not familiar with software and cloud applications and have limited IT experience. By quickly shifting from hardware based repair and service to software, copier partners are unequipped to fully serve your organization and create a cohesive environment where paper and software can thrive. These copier providers tend to also lack the knowledge to deploy solutions in a secure environment to keep your business protected, which can be absolutely detrimental to your organization in the case of a security breach, emergency, or other situation where your network needs to be protected. 

A solution to this issue is working with a partner who has a team comprised of software experts capable of configuring workflows, touch panel integration, and training end-users, IT and networking experts who can install network connected, secure devices without 3rd party help, as well as technical professionals who know how to quickly and efficiently repair your device. By pivoting your organization’s focus from finding the dealer with the lowest prices and newest tech, to thinking long term and working with someone who is experienced and can provide a long term solution, you can set your organization up for success.