Andrew Hoyle

Five reasons to use managed print services

Every company, no matter what its size, could benefit from utilising managed print services. By having an approved managed print service provider managing all aspects of your workplace’s printing infrastructure you are able to reduce waste and save time – money and resources that would otherwise be spent trying to get the disparate parts of your existing print system to work as a cohesive unit.

Here are just five of the very real benefits to your business that you come from adopting a managed print service model.

You will save money

managed print services

The key appeal to using a managed print service is that your company will save money. By some estimations, a saving of 30% of your existing printing costs is not uncommon once you switch to a managed print service model. A managed print service is less wasteful and will save you money on supplies, maintenance and repair costs as your paper and toner usage are constantly monitored so that replacement supplies are ordered and delivered as they are required by the business.

Not only does this mean no more reams of printer paper filling up storerooms for months on end, but it also means that anomalies in your printing schedule can easily be spotted. Is a certain worker making more prints or copies that you might reasonably expect? With the data from a managed print service provider, you can pinpoint such discrepancies and deal with them immediately. Moreover, a managed print service can ensure that your printers are always working to the best of their ability and that they are repaired immediately should they develop a fault. Having a single centralised service to handle all your printing needs gives you one less detail to concern yourself with, and makes sound financial sense.

You will take control

managed print services

With a managed print service you can see an overall image of your company’s print output, allowing you to make changes on the fly and see them immediately adopted across your entire print network. Managed print services also grant you more control over document security, allowing you to precisely know who is printing what, when, and where from. This enables you to ensure that all proprietary documentation is being handled appropriately by those authorised to do so. Additionally, this service can show you how much your enterprise is spending on printing in real-time, helping you to have more control over your business’s finances too.

You will set standards

managed print services

Conformity in the workplace is often seen as a negative trait, but not where your printing architecture is concerned. Having all your printers conform to the same (or similar) make and model makes it that much easier to streamline costs both in terms of usage, and the ordering of supplies and consumables. A managed print service not only allows you to set the standard to which all of your printing equipment will be expected to perform, but it can assist you in selecting the best and most effective printing solution to help you meet those standards.

You will adopt a long-term strategy

managed print services
Adopting a managed print service allows you to keep track your company’s long-term goals for its printer fleet. With the day-to-day running of your print infrastructure taken out of your hands, you are able to prepare and plan for its long-term usage, giving you greater scope and flexibility for growth. With the data collated by your managed print service, you can identify patterns in your company’s printer use and use it to predict future usage trends with greater accuracy.

You will see the big picture

managed print services

A major benefit of managed print services is being able to adjust printing equipment and staffing levels to their needs, instead of having to over- or under-estimate usage. As well as reducing costs, being able to view real-time usage statistics offers you a high-level overview of your company’s overall printing structure, allowing you to spot existing or potential bottlenecks in service that might otherwise not have come to light.

These benefits are just the start. To enquire about how ASL Group can make managed print services work for your business, call us on 0333 577 2834, email us at [email protected], or visit our contact page here: http://asl-group.co.uk/contact/

 

Andrew HoyleFive reasons to use managed print services
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How software can improve business efficiency

As the day to day demands of IT become more and more complex, many companies are seeking ways to simplify their network and use software-defined services instead. Such services reduce the demand for overworked IT admins, make it cheaper and faster to deploy services like servers, and make networks more efficient and easier to manage.

However, up until recently, the printer has been left outside the drive towards faster, more efficient cloud computing. The humble printer is often seen as last generation technology that doesn’t have any urgency to increase efficiency by adding cloud management. But all that changed with the introduction of Managed Print Cloud Services from providers such as Kyocera and PaperCut.

How cloud managed printers can increase efficiency



The traditional way of managing printers on a network is to use print servers to manage print requests and network availability. This requires hardware to be installed and drivers to be updated manually, which is both time consuming and results in vital driver updates being forgotten.

By implementing a software-defined cloud or on-premise managed print solution, such as that from PaperCut, such inefficiencies can be reduced significantly. Because your printer estate is managed from a single console, network admins can see at a glance which printers require updates, while allowing new printers to be deployed on the network quickly and easily, without the need for clumsy configuration settings or print servers.

Efficiency gains are not limited to management and configuration, either; ink, toner and paper levels can also be monitored from the dashboard, without having to drill down into individual printer settings. This allows admins to be automatically notified when ink levels reach critical levels, with some systems such as Kyocera’s Kyo Fleet management solution able to order ink directly from the manufacturer.

Automatic backup and encryption provides peace of mind for network admins

Cloud-managed print services also allow configuration changes to be saved, so if the worst happens and the printer stops working due to corrupted print drivers, the original settings can be restored quickly without a technician having to physically visit the machine. This reduces printer downtime and keeps end users happy, which is, of course, the main aim of any network admin.

As with any cloud deployment, there are concerns about security. This is particularly important for companies that handle sensitive documents, such as accountants and law practices. For this reason, all cloud-based printer management solutions provide full data encryption using HTTPS (SSL/TLS), helping keep your data safe from prying eyes. In most cases, a cloud-based management solution is more secure than a traditional network printer installation.

Value-added print applications that drive efficiency



Efficiency gains don’t stop with cloud management of your printer estate. Further efficiency gains can be made using state of the art print application software. Applications like eCopy Paperworks allow users to format documents, delete text and hide confidential information before printing, without affecting the original document. This is useful for companies that need to print documents that contain confidential information.

In enterprise print environments, it is important to carry out regular print audits to ensure your printer estate is being used optimally and efficiently. In most organisations, this is a manual process that is extremely time-consuming, which results in overworked admins prioritising other areas first. By using print audit software like Rapid Assessment Key (RAK) or Print Audit FM, network admins can carry out print audits quickly and efficiently from the comfort of their desk.

Easy to use and quick to deploy print audit software constantly reviews the workload of all printer devices on the network, giving admins real-time usage data that can be used to ascertain true print costs and optimally deploy printers across the network. For example, it makes it easy to identify a colour printer that spends most of its time printing monochrome documents. Such a device would remain under the radar using traditional print management techniques.

As you can see, the world of printer management has fully embraced the cloud. Your printer estate no longer has to be kept in its own domain. Cloud-based print management software brings your printers in from the cold by fully integrating your printer estate with other network devices and software.

So, say goodbye to individual print servers, updating drivers manually and dreaded manual print audits by giving ASL Group a call to see how managed cloud print services can benefit your company.

Andrew HoyleHow software can improve business efficiency
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The benefits of leasing a copier

A photocopier is a key piece of equipment for any business – copying is a simple means to distribute communications to both employees and customers. You can’t do without a copier, but you might not have the budget to purchase one right out. Or you might not have the time to spend searching for the right copier, let alone deal with its upkeep when you have one. If you’re looking to take away the hassle of purchasing and maintaining your office equipment, then you may want to consider leasing a copier instead.


Let the professionals take control



There’s nothing worse than a copier malfunctioning at a pivotal moment. ASL can ensure that such issues will never happen again. Not only are our photocopiers super reliable, we take care of the whole operation from installation to maintenance and repairs. With regular maintenance from the experts it reduces the chance that your copier will break down. Give us the responsibility of looking after your copier and you won’t have to worry any longer. What’s more, we’ll save you a bunch of time that you would have spent trawling the web searching for the right copier for your office.

Get the best technology



In order to get the best results, you’ll need top of the range machines. We can provide top notch copiers with a range of functionalities that ensure quality and efficiency. For instance, our colour copiers offer high-quality, full colour print on every single page. Moreover, they have double sided print functionality and this will, of course, save on paper if you’re concerned about the environment and will save you money if you’re concerned about your bank balance!

 

Save money

copier

One of your premier objectives is, no doubt, to save money wherever possible. You’re running a business after all. ASL offers a range of cost-effective solutions as our copy machines have low running costs. The cost is further reduced as we offer a range of low cost, long-life consumables. Not only is this going to save you money, but it’s also better for the environment. Don’t forget, however, that just because you’re saving money it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice on quality. If you opt to lease a copier with ASL, we can offer you quality at highly reasonable prices.


Work at the optimum level of speed and efficiency

copier

We all know that time is money, so you need a copier that’s quick and works efficiently. At ASL, we have a host of mono copiers that will exceed your expectations in terms of speed. In fact, we can offer you a speed of up to 180 A4 pages per minute. For optimum efficiency, our copiers are also multi-functional, meaning they have print, copy, scan and fax capabilities. Therefore, you can take care of all your printing and copying needs with just one machine.

 

Choose a copier that’s easy to use

copierAnother fantastic benefit of leasing a copier with us, is that our range of machines are easy to use. This is vital as they can be used by a number of people of varying levels of technical proficiency. Our large format printing solutions, which you can use for the copying and scanning of documents up to A0, are particularly easy to get the hang of. Both the operation of the machine and maintenance is simple, meaning a stress-free copying solution for you. They’re compact and run quietly, so there will be no disturbance to your work environment either.

A flexible solution

Copier

Purchasing a copier can be a large investment and one that you’re not necessarily ready to make. The great thing about leasing a copier is that you get flexibility. You won’t have to take out a loan or build the capital you need in order to purchase a photocopier, instead you can arrange a contract for a certain amount of time with us. Furthermore, we’re flexible to your copying needs. If you want to lease just one copier or thousands, we can meet your requirements.

At ASL, we offer high-quality, low cost and efficient solutions for all of your photocopying needs. So, if you’re looking to lease a copier or would like further information, call us on 0845 207 7000 or send us an email at [email protected].

 

Andrew HoyleThe benefits of leasing a copier
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How to tell if your business is inefficient

Inefficiency is a problem that holds back businesses of all sizes. Even if your business is the market leader in the goods or services it provides, with demonstrable technical skill, it can still be held back by systemic problems in the way things are done which can dent profits or strangle growth. In this blog, we at ASL Group take a look at some common reasons for inefficiency, and how you can turn that inefficiency into efficiency.

You manage data poorly

business efficiency

Data can be anything, from where a customer lives to the price of wheat in Bangladesh, and your company probably stores gigabytes of the stuff. Whether it’s digitally contained in spreadsheets or hard drives, or it’s tucked away in filing cabinets, you paid somebody, sometime to collect that data – and you paid for the space it’s taking up. In fact, you’re still paying for it – whether it’s the floor space of your office or the kilobytes on your Cloud solution. So what are you doing with it?

A good business knows where their data is, what it’s for, and why they have it. It might be for marketing, for trend analysis, sales or customer profiling – it’s all there for a reason, and it’s easily accessible. An inefficient business can’t say the same. You can do simple things to change that, however. By conducting a data audit, you can go through everything you store and decide whether it’s useful or not. Old, out of date or incorrect information can be deleted, and relevant information can be stored. What’s important is that you have a concrete strategy for how and why data is collected, where it goes, how it is named, and how often it is cleared out. That way, what you have is useful, reachable and ultimately erasable.

Low agility

business efficiency
Agility is everything in the world of business, and being unable to pivot quickly to match current trends can be a death sentence when technology moves so quickly. An efficient business can quickly identify what needs to happen to match a new trend, while an inefficient business can’t – and that can mean the difference between turning a profit and not.

It’s often said in companies of all sizes that things can’t change because they’ve ‘always been done that way’, and if you’ve heard that said, you’re probably in an inefficient business. But an efficient business makes that a thing of the past. By identifying the potential bottlenecks, pressure points and growth areas ahead of time, the pain caused by having to address or change these areas is much less. It’s hard work now, but in the long run it will make it much easier to ditch the old way and accept the new way, without all the arguing and fuss that slows down change.

Lack of control

business efficiency
Even a profitable and well-run business can get into trouble if they don’t have control of their costs. Projects spiralling over budget, unchecked usage running wild – if you don’t have a handle on it, you can soon lose track, even with relatively simple things like your printing costs. Using systems like ASL Group’s Managed Print Services, you can ensure that you know exactly what you’re spending on printing, and use that information to make informed decisions about your budgeting in future.

Thanks to the 5-phase solution that ASL Group implements, you’ll start by analysing your current usage, and gradually find a way to cut it down as much as possible. Then, you can use the system to optimise the usage on an ongoing basis, to make sure it always falls within acceptable levels. Whether it’s a problem of where you store information, the cost of printing it or the cost of materials, using the 5-phase solution can end up with cost savings as high as 30%, and carbon emission savings as high as 60%.

There are many ways to go about implementing the system, and ASL Group can tailor your programme to your exact needs, whether that’s increased control over what staff can print, increased security in where they can send or store files, or reducing the amount of physical paper documents that end up in storage; there’s the perfect solution that fits your requirements.

To find out more about managed print services, or any of our business services, get in touch at www.asl-group.co.uk/contact or call 0845 207 7000.

Andrew HoyleHow to tell if your business is inefficient
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How to get started with corporate mobile

The spread of mobile phone technology has given businesses unprecedented ability to have their staff work from wherever they need to be. No longer tied to the office, staff can go about their jobs more or less unimpeded while out on the road, at home or on site. This means no lengthy downtime when they’re not in the office, better responsiveness when they’re working elsewhere and much greater flexibility for the employee. There are plenty of upsides for any business, but corporate mobile can also be difficult to manage: With contracts for every phone you need, one or more providers, and a huge array of capabilities required from different phones – how do you keep track?


Who are we?

ASL Group are here to sort out all your corporate mobile woes. Forget about any of the expensive standard tariffs and plans you may have read about, we can give you a completely tailored service that ensures you have a bespoke plan customised to your needs. We work with many suppliers, and we’re completely network neutral, so you can be sure that if there’s a better deal out there waiting for you – we’ll find it.

Where do I start?


Businesses of any size, from small enterprises to multinationals, need mobile connectivity for their employees as a priority. Not only that, but each business has wildly different needs for their employees, and even some employees within the same business have different needs from their devices. It may sound complicated, but ASL Group can make it easy for you – both in terms of your devices themselves, and the tariff you’re charged. We work with EE, Vodafone, Plan.com, and more, so we can use our excellent relationships to get the best possible deal for you, even deals that aren’t advertised on their websites.

This all means that, even if you currently have an existing corporate mobile package, there’s a good chance we can do it for less. We can tailor all our packages to suit you, so don’t worry that switching will mean getting a whole new set of devices for employees – just let us tell you what we can do about your Tariff, and we’re certain we can surprise you.

How much?


Every business is different, and so are their corporate mobile needs, so it’s not possible to guess at a potential figure. However, what we can tell you is that you’ll benefit from our tariff checking service – which will guarantee your needs are matched perfectly to the right tariff – so you won’t pay too much. We’ll conduct an audit of every one of your potential needs in a mobile service, and using our network of mobile providers, we’ll pick and choose from what’s on offer to ensure that everyone is served as cost-effectively as possible by a good provider.

Just because it’s cheaper, that doesn’t mean it’s not as good! Unlike some other providers, we can guarantee our users a completely uncontended line. That means you won’t find your broadband slowing down just because there are lots of users on at once. It’s a tough and resilient service too, so the amount of time you’ll be without a service is kept to the absolute minimum. Whether it’s download or upload speeds, we can guarantee the quality of your connection 24/7.

Extra touches


Some businesses have a plan for bigger and better things, but they’re scared that if they stick their head above the parapet they’ll be hit by extra charges. Not so with ASL Group! If your business is expanding abroad, you’re exploring new markets or you just want to make sure your employees can keep up while they’re on holiday – we have a solution for you that won’t break the bank. Via our relationships with leading networks, we can negotiate great roaming prices from data to calls – exclusive to ASL Group. Just tell us where you’re going ahead of time and let us do the hard work – so you can focus on your trip, whether it’s business or pleasure.

We’re here to help, and all of this excellent service and great prices are just a phone call away. If you’d like to hear more, or you’re interested in getting a quote, please get in touch on 0333 577 2834.

Andrew HoyleHow to get started with corporate mobile
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ASL Group launches Office Supplies service

As a leading provider of phone and print solutions for firms across Britain, ASL Group is already known to many firms as a trusted supplier.

Recently, we announced that we would also be launching an office supplies service, and we’re proud to say that our web store is now up and running.

In this post, we’ll discuss the products available and how they can benefit you and your teams.

Inks and toners

office suppliesIf you manage a busy office that plays home to a printer that is always in demand, you’ll know how important it is to have a stockpile of high quality inkjet or toner cartridges that you know you can rely on.

At the ASL Office Supplies web store, we stock a wide range of cartridges from major, well-known brands, including HP, Canon and Epson.

Investing in good quality products like these is vital for both print quality and the overall health of your printer. While some sellers may offer knock-off printer refills at discounted rates, these can damage your kit and cause your machine to need repairs or even be replaced. By sticking to ASL’s well-known brands, you can prevent problems.

Take a look at the product catalogue here.

Printer accessories

office suppliesWhen it comes to printing, ink cartridges only form half of the story. You also need to make sure that you have access to a range of printer accessories to keep your equipment running smoothly and prevent the office headaches caused by broken down kit.

At the ASL Web Store, we stock a wide range of accessories. A fusing assembly, for example, can make sure that the toner from your cartridge prints clearly and deeply on to the page, while extra sets of rollers are helpful for making sure the paper easily moves from the tray to the printer and prevents jams.

We even stock lift off tapes for those who have typewriters in their office, designed to provide a reliable correction system.

Take a look at the product catalogue here.


Printer paper

office supplies
Once you’ve got your printer set up with the relevant accessories and high-quality cartridges in place, it’s time to ensure you have enough high standard paper. Again, the ASL Web Store can help.

We stock a range of printer paper brands like Pukka and Xerox, and the sizes we supply range from small dimensions like A5 to large surface areas like A3. We also have a variety of specialist paper formats in stock, such as photograph paper and blotting paper.

We also have a range of other stationery items for use outside of the printer. We can supply you with envelopes in a variety of sizes for sending important documents through the post, for example, and we can also provide pads, pens and pencils for offline notes taken during meetings, interviews and so on.

Take a look at the product catalogue here.

 

Office furniture

office suppliesIn addition to consumables like cartridges and paper, the ASL Office Supplies web store also stocks a range of furniture products designed to keep you and your teams comfortable, healthy and efficient at work.

We can provide you with a range of sturdy and durable desks made from materials and colours that suit your office’s decor. As well as plain wood desks with a simple design, we also have cantilever desks in stock for those who want both minimalist style and handy support features.

Our range of filing cabinets are excellent for those who want somewhere to store and organise their documents. Multi drawer cabinets work well for teams who need access to large files, while for those who have a lot of sensitive documents, lockable filing cabinets give an added layer of security.

Take a look at the product catalogue here.

 

Treats for the staff

office suppliesAre you tired of always having to organise tea and coffee rotas or waste time sending someone on trips to the supermarket to restock the kitchen?

Here at ASL, we know that supplies to keep you going through the day are important for team morale. That’s why we stock a wide range of beverages, biscuits, tea bags and coffee brands, so you’ll never need to worry about running out again.

Take a look at the product catalogue here.

The products listed in this blog post are just a snapshot of what we offer our customers over at the ASL Office Supplies web store –
click here to browse for yourself. We look forward to serving you soon!

Andrew HoyleASL Group launches Office Supplies service
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Four reasons to use telephony services

No business can thrive without effective communication. For most businesses, primary method of communicating with the outside world is the telephone. Therefore, for many businesses, it is vital that their telephony services work constantly, and will not let them down at the crucial moment. At ASL Group, our telephony services aim to make your company’s communications more streamlined and reliable. ASL Group have partnered with Gamma and Nuvem to offer telephony solutions that takes your entire corporate phone network and places it on the Cloud. This has a myriad of benefits, which are detailed below.

Here are four reasons to contact ASL Group to enquire about telephony services for your business:

 

You are in full control
telephony

When you sign up to telephony services from ASL Group, you are given access to a piece of software that gives you full control over your telephony network. You are able to choose how many channels you need, what features you want, and how resources are deployed. You are able to keep an eye on your usage over time, and adjust the package you are on accordingly. For example, if your company is growing at a fast rate, you may require more phones to be connected to the network in anticipation of new hires joining. In this case, you would be able to scale up your package quickly and easily to cope with demand. The same goes for the opposite too; scaling down your package is easy as well if you feel like you might be paying too much.

 

It is cheaper

 telephony

When you take out a telephony services package with ASL Group, you don’t need to invest in new hardware. All of the hardware used to run your network is kept off site, so you don’t have to install it at your premises. A particularly popular cost-saving feature of telephony services is the provision of free internal calls. This allows you to call anyone within your organisation free of charge – even if your contact is based in a different city, or even a different country. Calling the New York office has never been easier.

 

It is more convenient

 telephony

Telephony services are convenient for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is incredibly flexible, and can incorporate all of the exisiting hardware you already own. Landline phones and mobile phone can both be integrated into the system with ease, which lets you plug in and go from day one. No waiting for new hardware to be delivered. Telephony services also free up your IT team from taking part in phone network maintenance, which frees them up to work on their core tasks; the system is maintained by us remotely. Essentially, telephony services from ASL Group take all the difficult parts of telephony out of your hands, leaving you with more time and resources to focus on your core business tasks.

 

 

It’s consistent

 telephony

For any business, consistency of communications is important. If you’ve ever been at work when the internet or phone server has gone down, you will understand this more than most. With ASL Group telephony services, your service will never go down, even if your entire office suffers a power cut. We can quickly and easily have your server rerouted to another site, or to you and your staff’s mobile phones, so that you won’t miss an important call even if the worst happens.

To enquire about how ASL Group can make communication work for your business, call us on0333 577 2834, email us at [email protected], or visit our contact page here: http://asl-group.co.uk/contact/

Andrew HoyleFour reasons to use telephony services
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ASL Group’s approach to MPS Services

Managed print services (MPS services) are a great way for businesses to cut the cost of their printing, and to be able to easily budget for printing costs. A good MPS will also ensure the business has maintenance and back-up in place if something needs repairing.

Not only that, but instead of your IT team spending a whole lot of their time sorting out printer problems, they can leave all that to us and concentrate on keeping your business network running smoothly and securely.

If you’re thinking of changing over to managed print services, and are wondering how it works and what we’ll do for you, read on:

Initial enquiry

MPS services
You’ll initially speak to one of the members of our friendly team to discuss your needs, and we’ll then arrange to work with you and get a thorough understanding of where you are currently with your printing arrangements and where you want to be.

Our team will work with you to ensure we understand your printing needs right across your business. We’ll find out how you currently do your printing, and look at where an MPS can make improvements and bring you a printing solution that your business will really benefit from.

We’ll never try to push a pre-made solution onto you. Every MPS service we set up is bespoke and tailored fully to your individual requirements. We’ll look at where we can make cost savings for you, and where we can improve your printing processes and increase efficiency.

Should it benefit your business, we can also look at moving to cloud computing or moving from paper to a digital document solution, to help you automate and improve your processes. Or if you don’t have a complete print strategy, we can help you set that up and implement it.

You’ll get to choose what you need from our range of photocopiers, colour or mono printers, large format printers, duplicator printers and even franking machines.

And when we’re done, we’ll provide you with transparent costings that show you exactly how much you’ll pay, and what you’ll get.

We can simply help you choose the right printing arrangements for your company, deliver what you need and install everything, so your printers are communicating with your network, or we can also train your staff to ensure everyone gets the most out of the new system. Printers and photocopiers are increasingly sophisticated, with far more functions nowadays than just being able to staple and hole punch. We think staff benefit from thorough training so they understand all the functions available to them and can apply what they’ve learned to their jobs, and that can only benefit your business.

We supply equipment from some of the leading print companies in the world, including Canon, Epson, HP, Ricoh and more, so you can be sure you’re getting the very highest quality solution.

MPS services installation

MPS services

Once we’ve sorted out your print solution and you’re happy with everything, we’ll book our engineers to come out and install everything for you. You won’t need to do a thing but enjoy your new printers.

We install everything you need from hardware to software, and set everything up so that your printers talk to your network. If you need cloud printing services or print queues, we’ll do those too.

And you’ll get full analytics so you can see where the heavy print usage is and keep your eye on how everything is working. You can even set up printing limits for your staff so you can budget and manage what is being used, either daily or weekly.

Ongoing support

MPS services

We don’t leave you on your own once we’ve installed everything. MPS services can include everything from ongoing maintenance and repairs to document management and storage, archiving and retrieval.

Again, the service we provide is shaped around what your business needs.

You’ll have your own maintenance agreement that spells out exactly what you can expect, and we have a brilliant UK-based support team (if we do say so ourselves!) that will have you up and running again in no time if there’s a problem.

If you need an engineer to come out, all you have to do is follow the link on our website to book someone (http://asl-group.co.uk/book-an-engineer/), or if you want to talk a problem through before you call an engineer, get in touch with our remote support team (http://asl-group.co.uk/remote-support/) who’ll be happy to help.

Whether it’s booking a hardware upgrade or simply ordering toner, our team are with you for the long haul.

And we’ll even help you make your printing environmentally-friendly, with our PaperCut software that can help you save paper, track and set quotas, and print from mobile, all backed up with practical and helpful reports to give you all the information you need on how your print solution is working for you.

Want to get your own managed print services (MPS services), start saving money and become more efficient? Give ASL Group a call on 0845 207 7000.

Andrew HoyleASL Group’s approach to MPS Services
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How to ensure business efficiency over the Christmas period

When the festive season arrives, for some staff members, the focus on work can slip. From festive parties to lost productivity, the last two weeks of the year can often be the least productive, which can . However, there are steps that business owners can take to minimise the potentially damaging effects of the holidays on productivity. At ASL we want to help you maximise productivity, so here are five top tips for improving motivation and output over the festive season.

1. Understand workload and time pressure

business efficiency

For many businesses, December means carrying out the same amount of work in fewer days. This means that your staff members may feel under pressure, and struggle to complete all of their tasks leading to stress and lowered productivity. You should take the time to see where other team members might be able to lighten their load, ensuring that the burden isn’t falling on just a few members of staff. This should result in greater efficiency across the board.

2. Allow for flexible working

business efficiency

It has long been proven that flexible working can increase productivity, and this is never truer than over the festive season. With social events, the nativity show, shopping deadlines and of course, the effects of midweek drinking, there are a large number of places employees would rather be than the workplace. The festive season is well known for provoking unnecessary ‘sick days’ but flexible working could dramatically reduce sickness and absence in your workplace. Employees will be less likely to phone in sick to work if they know they can come in a few hours later, and make up their time at a later stage, or prior to their social activity. If you are unable to allow flexible working in your workplace, try to be as accommodating as possible of employees request. No parent wants to miss their child being the star of the show, for example!

3. Create a positive atmosphere

business efficiency

While getting into the festive spirit can be seen as a distraction from work, under the right circumstances a positive atmosphere can in fact improve workers motivation. Try setting team goals to be completed before the Christmas party, incentivise workers with Christmas gifts or early finishes if all work is completed and to a high standard. Encourage your employees to go above and beyond for your clients, because after all it is Christmas.

4. Be strict but fair about alcohol

business efficiency

At this time of year, it is essential to have a clear policy around alcohol consumption. Clearly it is not appropriate to consume alcohol at work, but what about a midweek Christmas party hosted by an important client or supplier, after which your staff may be left feeling worse for wear? It can be useful to set out clearly the expectations of employees with regards to alcohol, including with hangovers and sick days. While you want to be understanding, you don’t want any colleagues trying to take advantage of this.

5. The Christmas Party

business efficiency

When it comes to the Christmas party, employees can get carried away. Between half-days to ‘get ready’, all of the workplace discussion beforehand, and the after-effects of too much alcohol, so much of December’s valuable working time can be lost to the Christmas party. Try having your Christmas party at the weekend if you are particularly busy, or if this is not possible (or your business is open weekends) set out clear rules and expectations. Try to start the festivities early so that employees can be home at a reasonable time and find out who the non-drinkers are – they will be your star players the morning after!

To find out how ASL Group can help improve your business efficiency by carrying out managed print services, contact us today: http://asl-group.co.uk/contact/

 

Andrew HoyleHow to ensure business efficiency over the Christmas period
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The history of printing in the computer age

Many people do not realise how long computer printers have existed for. While early printers were obviously nowhere near as sophisticated as the printers we use today, it’s still astounding to think that computer printers were being developed way back in the 1930s. It’s taken almost 80 years for computer printing to evolve to where it is today, so let’s take a look back at the history of printing to find out how we got here.

The birth of Xerox

history of printing
1938: The history of printing begins in 1938 when Chester Carlson invented electrophotography, which is the dry printing process we know today as a Xerox. This device paved the way for later laser printers, including the world’s first laser printer, EARS.

The age of discovery

history of printing

1953: Remington-Rand developed the world’s first high-speed printer, to be used with the Univac computer.

1957: IBM markets the world’s first dot matrix printer. This is also the same year that the dye-sublimation printer is first sold.

1969: EARS, the world’s first laser printer, was developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. The EARS printer took the electrophotography technology of the Xerox copier and added a laser beam to it.

Commercial printing takes off

history of printing

1976: A huge landmark in the history of printing, this year IBM installed the first IBM 3000 Printing System in the accounting office of F.W. Woolworth. The IBM 3000 was the world’s first high-speed laser printer, operating at speeds exceeding 100 prints per minute. This was the first printer to fuse electrophotography and laser technology.

1977: Just a year later, the world’s first xerographic laser printer was developed. The Xerox 9700 Electronic Printing System, which has clear historical roots in the EARS printer, was one of the first printers to make use of modern techniques including page-formatting software and laser scanning optics.

1984: Hewlett-Packard release the LaserJet laser printer for $3,600. Apple release the Laser Writer just one year later. Throughout the 80s and 90s, laser technology takes off, and laser printers quickly become better, cheaper, and more readily available to all kinds of businesses.

1992: The LaserJet 4 printer was marketed by Hewlett-Packard. This is the first laser printer to offer a resolution of 600 x 600 dots per inch, a huge increase on earlier laser printers.

 

The rise of home printers

history of printing
1998: While the first inkjet printer actually came on to the market in 1976, the initial product failed to make waves. However, in 1998, Hewlett-Packard released the Deskjet Inkjet printer, which became hugely popular in the home consumer market. It sold for a mind-blowing £700.

Inkjet printers have, of course, become much cheaper since 1998, and are now a staple in home offices around the world. While the printing quality of inkjet printers doesn’t match that of laser printers or toner printers, they successfully fill the gap in the market for low-cost home printers to this day.

Modern printing

history of printing

Today, we use a variety of printers – toner, laser and inkjet – which can all be traced back to these early inventions. Consumer home printing is now increasingly common, with many homes in the western world owning at least one printer, while laser and toner printers are still used by most big businesses and companies.

Technology is still moving on every year; many modern printers can now communicate with other media such as software or memory sticks via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and the rise of 3D printing is currently changing the limits of what we, as a society, think that printing can do.

Interested in taking advantage of the best modern printing methods for your business? Get in touch  with ASL Group today to find out how our managed print services could help you: http://asl-group.co.uk/contact

 

Andrew HoyleThe history of printing in the computer age
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