When deciding to buy a new printer for your business, it’s important to weigh the benefits of a multifunction device that not only prints but scans, faxes, and copies documents compared to the stand-alone variety. The multifunction printer (MFP) has changed document output in the office.  MFPs have changed workflows, productivity, efficiency and user satisfaction. But despite the advanced technology of an MFP, there are still many single-function desktop printers in today’s office.

The management of document output is complex and there is no cookie-cutter, one size fits all solution.  Every office needs its own print strategy and that may very well include, single-function printers, multifunction printers, copiers, and color devices… all strategically placed in the best location.  Obviously, there are pros and cons to each and every strategy and needs versus features versus budget have to be carefully analyzed. 

Five major considerations when deciding which document output device/s are best for you:


You first need to decide if a single function or multi-function device is needed… and whether that device is sufficient for now and in the future.  Do you regularly send and receive faxes, make copies, and scan documents? A multifunction device can meet those needs, but if your office already has a separate fax machine, copier or scanner then a desktop printer may be sufficient. Again, needs and print solutions vary from office to office.  Verity Group offers a FREE assessment to help you in choosing the best devices and planning the right document output environment.


Desktop printers are generally less expensive to purchase, requiring a smaller initial capital outlay. This is a consideration for some offices, especially the small-to-midsized business (SMB). However, unless your organization has a very, very low print volume, MFPs generally have a much lower cost per page than desktop printers in the long run. Printer based MFP’s generally have less moving parts and require less labor than copiers. The initial purchase price of each device must be compared to ongoing consumable expenses such as toner and roller replacements and energy usage.


Even though MFPs are larger than single function printers… they can save space overall.  This is due to the space that was required for the individual devices it will replace… such as a printer, scanner, and fax machine. The newer MFPs can actually be comparable in size to a printer.  However, a printer offers the convenience of not leaving your desktop work area.  That is the main reason why some organizations maintain desktop printers, especially for key executives, Human Relations and Payroll departments and others who print extremely sensitive documents.


Today’s MFPs are much like computers… they are intelligent devices with operating systems and advanced firmware that allow for both the digitizing of paper documents that can also be routed and delivered across an enterprise intranet, network folders and as a part of other workflows.  They also offer networking capabilities that allow for better tracking and cost control than desktops, along with better integration with solutions for cost recovery, mobile printing, scan-to-cloud and more.


Print and document security have never been more important.  Your network is only as strong as its weakest link. Unsecured printers leave your network vulnerable. Vulnerabilities across device, data, and document need to be managed. Advanced security features such as secure pull printing, which prevents printed documents from sitting in output trays, is available on MFPs. The use of individual access codes is another feature of MFPs designed to both secure the print process and track usage. Some devices, from HP, even offer self-healing with the industry’s only self-healing BIOS. If the BIOS is compromised, HP Sure Start forces a reboot to reload with a “golden copy” that can automatically recover the device to maximize uptime while minimizing IT interventions.


As mentioned earlier the first, and probably the most critical phase of an MPS engagement is an accurate and comprehensive assessment of the current status of your organization’s print, document infrastructure and workflows, and the formulation of a detailed design for the future, optimized state. Before we can help you manage and optimize your imaging and printing environment, we must first understand your current needs, resources and processes.  In simple terms, we first focus on the due diligence by deploying our analysis software, completing physical walkthroughs, locating and mapping print devices and interviewing end users.  We will then conduct a high-level data-driven assessment to measure the current state of your print environment… to provide a dynamic visualization into document-intensive processes to help you understand who, where and why documents are used.

A robust assessment and design methodology is a primary component of MPS service delivery excellence. In fact, this assessment process may be repeated as organizations progress to higher levels of print and document management maturity. Print and document management maturity refers to a progression from optimizing devices; to optimizing documents (how they are created, managed, and used); to optimizing document-intensive workflows – which may mean not printing at all.