Decisive Factors for MFP4 May, 2006 By: Tetsuo Kubo imageSource
Decisive Factors for MFP
Over the past few years many
copiers have begun to evolve into MFPs that combine printer and fax
functionalities. Most recently, OEMs are incorporating color scanner functions
into MFPs that enable them to convert paper documents into electronic forms that
can be sent or filed for later use. These MFPs are now playing an important role
as a point of contact between paper documents and electronic documents in
information workflow throughout office networks.
MFPs have come a long way from small and home offices. There are many benefits
to the use of MFPs that dealerships can capitalize on to create a total solution
for customers. It’s all in the SETUP:
S = Solutions
Since April 2005, when the Act on the Protection of Personal Information
(similar to HIPPA) was enforced in Japan, more companies in the East have become
sensitive about information leakage and security issues. This had led to a rapid
increase in security management of network connected MFPs. OEMs have come out
with new functions and controls for securing information in addition to office
entry/exit controls and network management connecting PC and servers.
The use of passwords or ID entry cards is becoming commonplace in many
businesses. Functionalities to prevent the copying of documents have also been
developed including printing invisible dotted patterns on paper, logs, warnings
on the output, printing no images or, in some cases, refusal to output. It is
also becoming the standard for firewall setup between MFPs that share file
servers with machines at other companies to prevent information flow beyond
Beyond security issues, the most basic functionality is document handling
related to the efficient use of paper documents electronically. The use of
dedicated scanners in large paper environments such as law firms, and MFPs with
scanning capabilities for businesses of all different sizes, has become a large
growth opportunity for dealers.
New applications have been developed for large manufacturers integrating
operations with other businesses, headquartered offices with many chain stores,
and logistics companies with integrated operations to improve workflow between
companies or offices integrated for business. Learning about solutions will
allow dealers to tout the benefits of MFP integration and meet customer needs.
E = ECOLOGY
Protecting the global environment has become an increasingly important social
mission. Increased awareness has led to efforts by OEMs to reduce CO2 discharge
volume associated with manufacturing by recycling used equipment and reducing
power consumption on MFP operations. There are even products coming out that
recycle paper by using specially developed toner that repeatedly prints and
erases on the same paper.
T = TCO Reduction
The total cost of operation not only applies to product or supplies prices but
to efficiencies of MFP usage: preventing waste printouts, appropriating supply
inventory management, business process efficiency improvements through workflow
based applications, and communication expense reduction, all to improve workflow
and reduce total costs of MFP use.
U = Universal Functions
MFPs are incorporating the latest design concepts for all users including those
with handicaps. Innovations over the past several years include voice activation
software, larger type, easy-to-see screens, touch screens and easy-to-operate
panels that make selection and changing orders convenient.
P = Partners
In order for users to get an MFP that fits their workflow, is easy to use and
will improve operational efficiencies, also enabling TCO reduction, it is
essential to have superior third party system engineer partners to develop
applications, and aggressive and reliable sales partners who are capable of
proposing appropriate systems besides distinguished product development by
manufacturers. It is required that MFPs go along with workflow in customer IT.
From here on, it will become more and more important that sales, systems
engineers and customer engineers are well-versed in customer workflow in each
area in order to make attractive proposals.