As the pandemic continues in this country, so does working from home for many Americans. In fact, one study shows that roughly 42% still work from home. For business owners, it presents multiple problems and required adjustments, but what many don’t think about is what does that mean for your office technology, just sitting there collecting dust? For computers, it mostly means turning them on from to time and uploading any necessary updates, but what about printers? If you don’t keep up with them, multiple issues can arise and your whole business could suffer. To keep your printer working smoothly during these unprecedented times, we’ve got some easy maintenance tips so that when regular office hours resume, your printer is functioning properly and ready for work!
Weekly: Update and Run it
First off, since you or someone is most likely going into the office to at least collect mail, make it a regular item on your to-do list to check the office printer once a week. You’ll want to turn it on (or wake it up from sleep mode depending on your preference), give it time to warm up and then print something. This will help to keep the ink from drying out and keeping the nozzles free from clogs. Just remember to also check your network connections when you do this—connectivity problems from lack of regular activity could cause a printing delay.
At the same time, you’ll also want to check to see if the printer driver requires any software updates. If it does, make sure to then notify the staff that they will most likely need to update their printer software on their computers when they return to coincide with that update.
Monthly: Clean It
Cleaning your printer is also a great thing you can do to help your printer live a long and happy life. And we’re not just talking about the dust and debris that can collect on the outside (though that is important to remove, either with a small vacuum or a lint-free dust cloth—no cleaning sprays!). It’s important to clean inside of it. When dust collects on the inside, it can cause paper jams and the ink to streak. Your printer manual can provide specific guidance, but you’ll want to specifically clean the printer heads regularly. Most office printers include a self-cleaning feature for this, so you’ll just want to run it. But if not, following the manual, you’ll want to remove the printer heads and clean them with warm water (let them dry before returning them).
Monthly: Check the Cartridges
When it comes to ink cartridges, besides keeping them clean, it’s also important to keep them moving. If you print something once a week, as we previously suggested, that will help. But it’s also a good idea to take them out every month and give them a good shake (and clean the printer heads after you shake). This will help the toner from drying out and keep the pigment from settling. When the cartridge is dry, it can damage your printer head (resulting in costly repairs or having to purchase a new one all together).
In addition, you’ll also want to check for any low ink warnings (it’s a good idea to replace them relatively soon if they do appear), as well as check their expiration dates. Many office printers will not operate if the cartridge is past its due date. (And please, we know ink cartridges can run pricey, but it’s better to buy good quality ink, than the cheap stuff which can damage the heads and produce poor prints.)
Other Good Practices
Some other helpful suggestions include:
- Room Temperature: It’s tempting to want to save money while the office is empty and turn off the air/heat, but it’s a bad idea for your technology. It’s important to keep it away from heat, as well as moisture, at a comfortable temperature. Air generally gets in the nozzles and if it’s hot, the ink could dry up in a matter of weeks.
- Cover It If Possible: Some office printers are too large for this, but if you have a smaller one, try to cover your printer if you can. It will help keep the dust out.
Having Printer Problems?
If you find you are having regular issues with your printer—such as frequent paper jams and slow processing—remember, your manual is your friend. It could also be something simple, like you purchased the wrong ink cartridge or your paper tray is overfilled. But if you find that doesn’t help and your printer is malfunctioning, before you run out and a buy new technology, give us a call.
When you have existing printers you’ve already bought and paid for, it’s tempting to think that maintaining your existing fleet will cost less than purchasing new printers or signing up with a managed print services (MPS) provider. Why replace them if it’s not absolutely necessary?
The costs of an aging fleet stack up, and in the long term, managed print services are able to save you more than just money. Here are five benefits MPS could bring to your business.
The consequences of sticking with an old printer are sometimes hidden, and can work at various levels, from running out of toner when you want to print an essential document, to the device breaking and your IT department being too busy to fix it. These consequences cost money, and the benefit of using managed print services is that you have the maximum availability of print when you need it most.
An MPS provider will look for ways to rationalize and consolidate your printers, replacing many old, large laser printers with a smaller number of newer, better distributed, faster devices or multi-function printers with all the necessary functions built in. Costs are visible and predictable, and you never have to worry about the expense of replacing ink and toners at different times across the business.
Maintaining your old printers might seem to help you keep costs low in the short term, but in the long term you’ll miss out on cost-saving opportunities, while facing expenses and uncertainties that MPS providers are there to alleviate.
Old printers waste valuable time, which always has an impact on the bottom line. Not only does the time spent waiting for a slower printer really add up over a business year, but every paper jam and malfunction means more wasted time that could be used more productively.
An MPS provider will come in and analyze your business, printers and requirements in terms of printing, scanning and copying. This doesn’t mean pushing expensive hardware into every corner of the business, but instead they will look at where teams need specific capabilities, then will find the printer/s that will match those needs.
A really good provider will go further and look at ways that the business overall can print more efficiently, and save money by reducing the everyday print costs.
In many organisations, employees can end up spending excessive amounts of time dealing with printers – not just waiting for old, slow devices to print, but dealing with malfunctions, changing cartridges, adding paper or waiting for someone from IT to fix a problem.
A good MPS provider will help reduce support costs and minimize downtime. Because it’s their job to maintain your printers and keep them running with a steady stream of supplies, your own IT team frees up its time to work on other projects.
Newer printers have better tools for maintenance, management and most importantly, security. This has never been more important, with every old and outdated device now a potential security risk. Options like pull-printing, cloud printing and printing from mobile devices have gone from being expensive extras to standard features, while NFC and ID card-based authentication are no longer the preserve of larger businesses.
MPS providers are there to sort out things like security updates or rapid changes to firmware. With more threats out there and greater penalties for data breaches, that’s good news for businesses of every size.
Do your existing printers have effective, high-performance duplex printing enabled? If not, you could be missing out on features that could save you up to 40% of your paper costs, according to some studies.
MPS providers look for ways to reduce waste, helping businesses make more effective use of more advanced printers and functions. Such printers have management features that prevent or discourage wastage, can restrict the use of color, make duplex printing the default, or switch on pull printing, so that print jobs only print when actively requested from the printer. This can see drastic reductions in the number of printed pages left abandoned in the output tray.
Meanwhile, more modern, high-quality draft and eco-printing settings could use up to 50% less ink than standard modes, while producing output that’s easily good enough for both internal and external usage.
Great Lakes Computer Is a Trusted Managed Print Services Provider
Great Lakes Computer Corporation is a managed print provider. We offer a free print cost assessment to help you identify what your current print function looks like in terms of productivity and wasted resources. We can tell you if our Managed Print Program is the right fit for you and what you could potentially save. Contact us today to try it out.
Article written by ITPRO.CO.UK