Andrew Hoyle

How photocopiers changed the way we work

From their creation in the fifties to their consistent use in today’s modern offices, the humble photocopier is an essential item that businesses simply could not operate without. Transcending the office environment, photocopiers even helped to transform the world of politics and art in the 20th century, providing people with mass information in an incredibly short time frame. To put it simply, getting your message out to a wide audience had never been easier.

In today’s world of information, the rise of 3D printing and more digital-specific methods of transferring data have seen a shift in the way that we work. However, no matter how far technology progresses, we expect to see photocopiers remain an important part of the office for the foreseeable future. Read on as we take a look at the importance of photocopiers and how they changed the way that we work.

Where did it begin?

Up until the fifties, copying a document and spreading printed knowledge was a time-consuming and tedious process that wasn’t accessible to most. It would often mean having to handwrite books and documents in small batches, that would then rely on word of mouth to be shared. Thomas Jefferson was known to use a pantograph, the most stripped back form of a photocopier, created from wood and connected to a duo of pens that would imitate the lead pen, to create mechanical copies. Other crude, yet similar copying machines were created at this time. At the turn of the 20th century, the closest machine to the photocopier, the mimeograph machine, was created.

This all changed in 1959. Xerox introduced the ‘914’, the world’s first easy-to-use photocopier, that was electronically powered and simple enough for any worker to use. The ‘914’ was groundbreaking in terms of its speed and productivity, having the ability to produce around 2,000 copies per month and printing each copy in as little as seven seconds. This made a huge change to the way that information moved around and by 1966, Xerox was printing a total of 14 billion copies for Americans each year. Newspapers, posters and flyers all became staples in offices, for politicians and in the military, helping to shape today’s working environment in a multitude of ways.

How did the photocopier affect offices?

From its introduction to offices in the 1970s, the photocopier completely changed the way that companies and offices functioned, introducing an entirely new way of recording, processing and storing information. Instead of giving a possibility of plagiarism and untruth, the photocopier meant that staff were able to print and store information that workers could understand and gain access to much more easily. The mass-production capabilities of photocopiers and printers also meant that there was added transparency in many companies and office environments, as company directors, managers and employees were able to keep track of past statements and documents.

Outside of the office, the photocopier changed the political landscape, giving minority groups and smaller political parties the chance to be heard by the mass public. Important messages were able to be copied in their thousands, and distributed across cities, regions and even countries. As well as affecting the political landscape, the photocopier also became a huge help to public services and the health industry, providing an easy way to alert and educate the public about certain illnesses or outbreaks. Condé Nast and NBC took advantage of this, using the photocopier to print thousands of copies of posters and fliers that were then distributed across New York for AIDS awareness campaigns.

What did the photocopier mean for creatives?

As well as providing easy-to-access sources of information and data, the photocopier was a brilliant addition to the creative world. Up until its introduction to the mainstream, publishing relied on crude methods of reproduction or hand-crafted creations. For artists and creatives, the scope of potential was much more limited.

The photocopier introduced a new world of possibility, with the ability to create zines, magazines and booklets a reality for anyone. Illustrations could be mass produced and sold to the masses, and creating mixed media work became more attainable and attractive.

Advertising and marketing industries hugely benefited from this, discovering new and inventive ways to interest and engage the public. This helped to push the marketing industry to new heights, in turn creating space for more printed marketing agencies and an entirely new way of promoting products and brands.

How has the photocopier developed?

Since the photocopier’s introduction to offices in the seventies, there haven’t actually been many big changes. The development of the combi-photocopier was the biggest advancement and one that happened within a decade of photocopiers being introduced to offices. Most offices today now have a combi-photocopier, which has proven to be perhaps the most popular form of the photocopier. Other than this, the majority of changes have been superficial.

Technology advanced and saw photocopiers go from optical scanning to digital, essentially helping them become faster – and adapting to the world of computers. Rather than using light to scan and process a document, a document on a digital photocopier is first scanned and then saved as an electronic file which is used to print a replica. The results of digital photocopiers are superior to their predecessors, and a noticeable difference of print quality is apparent between the two. In today’s offices, you’ll only find digital photocopiers and combi-photocopiers.

Andrew HoyleHow photocopiers changed the way we work
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How to know which printer services are right for your business

 

From small businesses to large, almost every workplace will have printing needs. But, if you’re looking for a way to increase the reliability of your printing operation while keeping costs under control, how do you know which printer services are the right fit for your business? In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the options available from ASL, and which companies they may be best suited for.

Managed Print Services (MPS)

A Managed Print Services (MPS) contract begins when you contact ASL to discuss your printing needs. Our expert team will then work with you to understand precisely what printing services you need and develop, install, and maintain a bespoke solution for your organisation.

MPS is cost-effective for businesses which produce moderate to high amounts of printed material, or who need to implement strict monitoring or compliance solutions to regulate document printing or access. An MPS contract includes the cost of procuring and installing all of the hardware and software, so it can also be an ideal option for growing enterprises who are looking for financial predictability and to reduce their capital costs, or exposure to high-value, depreciating assets.


Managed Document Services (MDS)

For businesses with complex or high-volume workflows, Managed Document Services, or MDS, can streamline and optimise your entire document process from ingest to print.

MDS differs from MPS in that it includes print/copy management software and processes, as well as a document management, archiving, and retrieval system. If you have filing cabinets full of documents which seem to get fuller on a daily basis, then you will know the pain of wasting hours trying to find that one piece of paper you need. MDS can remove all of that stress and hassle by ensuring that you, and your team, can access any business document you require in seconds, right from your workstation.

MDS is also an ideal option for businesses who need to ensure confidentiality and security of the documents in their care. Because ASL offers document management software with full access control and auditing built in, you can be confident that only those who are authorised to access a document will be able to do so. Audit reports will help you to demonstrate your compliance, and ensure that you don’t fall foul of data protection legislation such as the GDPR.

Hardware leasing

Organisations with lower-volume, or simpler, printing needs may benefit from controlling their printing costs through a hardware leasing arrangement. These contracts allow you to procure the latest in copy and print technology for a fraction of the upfront cost and gain financial predictability because servicing, depreciation, and all consumables can be included in your monthly leasing payment.

Equipment leasing is available through ASL for our whole range of business copy and print solutions, from a variety of leading manufacturers including Canon, Kyocera, Ricoh and many others. Because ASL has strong partnerships will all of the leading manufacturers, we can negotiate the best value deals – on hardware and consumables – and pass those savings on to you, the customer, through your contract or leasing agreement.

Consultancy and Project Management

ASL offers all of our customers a bespoke, tailor-made service. However, for the very largest businesses or those with unusually complex needs, we are also able to undertake an entire consultancy and project management service.

With this option, our expert staff will work with your team to develop, implement, and support a printing and document service which will meet the needs of your business. Our project managers are trained to the highest standard, including PRINCE2, and all our engineers are CompTIA accredited, with many also Microsoft certified.

Once the ideal solution for your business has been identified, ASL will procure any necessary hardware, carry out the complete installation on your premises, and then work with you to train your staff to make the most of your new systems. Ongoing support is also covered, with our engineers and remote support teams available on call 24/7.

Software Options

If your business already has the printing hardware it needs, you may like to consider adding print management software to your set-up. Organisations which process and need to keep track of a large number of documents may want to examine a file management programme, or scanning software, to aid in digitising their workflow. Businesses whose primary concern is cost-control would benefit from print-queue management to ensure that staff are only printing essential documents, and reduce paper use.

ASL can supply a range of industry-leading software options, as well as offering support and assistance with installation, and staff training.

Whatever the size and shape of your business, contact ASL today to find out which of our printer services options best suits you.

 

Andrew HoyleHow to know which printer services are right for your business
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We are looking to recruit a full time Sales Administrator to join the Administration Team at our Head Office in Bar Hill

Automated Systems Group (ASL) are looking to recruit a full time Sales Administrator to join the Administration Team at their Head Office in Bar Hill. Duties include :

  • Processing sales orders and supporting members of the sales team
  • Processing and invoicing of all sales documentation, including finance and service agreements
  • Liaising with finance companies regarding credit proposals, settlements and payment of invoiced deals
  • Resolving any customer or agreement queries, in addition to providing sales and customer information
  • Maintaining customer machine database, with accurate inputting of agreement and service details
  • Answering telephone calls and assist with day to day office administration, as and when required

Key Responsibilities :

  • Timely processing of sales orders, finance and service agreements to obtain prompt payment
  • Ensure agreement and customer details are entered onto database in full, accurately and promptly, to minimise errors, credits and queries
  • Provide excellent sales and customer support

Requirements :

  • Strong communication skills with ability to communicate at all levels
  • Ability to manage own time, prioritise workload and meet deadlines
  • Numerate – knowledge of finance processes would be beneficial
  • Attention to detail.
  • Experience of Microsoft Office

In return we offer :

  • Hours of work Monday – Friday 8:30am -5:00pm
  • 23 Days annual leave in addition to Bank Holidays
  • Excellent training & development opportunities within a growing organisation
  • Life insurance
  • Health club gym membership
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Auto enrolment pension scheme

For more information about ASL please visit our website www.asl-group.co.uk

Job Type: Full-time

Experience:

  • administration: 2 years

Apply here

Andrew HoyleWe are looking to recruit a full time Sales Administrator to join the Administration Team at our Head Office in Bar Hill
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How to lease a copier from ASL Group

Is your business considering a leasing arrangement for its photocopiers? There are plenty of good reasons to do so, including:

1. The cost savings that come from having an affordable monthly leasing payment rather than a large, single capital purchase expense on your books, followed by regular servicing, maintenance and repair costs.
2. The ability to optimise your business copier arrangements with the best technology and copier equipment on the market matched entirely and exactly to your needs.
3. The support and expertise of an expert copier maintenance team on hand when you need them, including engineer callouts if any errors occur.
4. Broader support from the experts in areas such as copier asset planning, migration to a paperless office and other relevant documentation management and digital solutions.
5. The removal of the copier management and maintenance burden from your in-house resource – allowing your IT team to focus on actual IT provision, including strategic issues that affect all modern businesses – rather than spending time attempting to fix jammed and archaic copiers that are no longer fit for purpose!

So you’ve already been convinced of the many reasons to lease a copier – but how do you go about it once you’re ready to move ahead?

lease a photocopier from ASL

The leasing process explained

Get in touch!

Firstly, get in touch with ASL Group who will be delighted to discuss your needs and to put together an initial proposal for your business.

Defining your needs

We will send out one of our team to your business to assess your needs, get a sense of what you are looking for in terms of copier kit, accessibility and numbers, and then refine your brief. By determining your needs we can then put together a proposal that completely matches your business requirements. Our expert will ‘rightsize’ your copier provision under the lease arrangement so that your business has the full operational capacity for printing without downtime or delays, and also without excess kit or capacity. By optimising this balance, your business has access to the latest copier kit without waste or excess cost.

Signing the paperwork

We will put forward our proposal to you which will include details of the copier makes and models that we think will best suit your unique needs, based on the assessment we have carried out and the details you have shared with us, the number of copiers you need (for example at different locations) and the degree of service availability that you want for elements such as copier consumables purchasing, servicing, maintenance, callout turnarounds etc. We will work with you to get to the point where the proposed service agreement that we have put together for you completely matches your needs – and your available budget. Remember, buying a professional business-quality copier is a big investment, especially for an SME. When you lease a copier, however, you replace this sizeable cost with an affordable monthly lease arrangement that spreads the hire cost over a defined period of time. Again, we offer a series of leasing period arrangements so that your monthly cost can be truly flexible to your needs.

Implementing the contract

Once you have signed your paperwork and set up the lease payment, we will move ahead and purchase your professional new copier kit. Where required we will dispose of and recycle your existing and redundant kit, and then set up your new copiers so that they are ready and working. We will train staff as required on the usage of your new copiers and provide a regular servicing schedule to ensure that they run as effectively as possible. We will also make sure that your in-house leads have all relevant contact details for our engineers and understand the process of calling our photocopier maintenance team for any problems, according to the terms of your contract.

Managing the contract

Once this process is up and running we will check in regularly to ensure you are happy with your new copier provision and that everything is working as it should be. We will then stay in regular contact for any queries or extra support that we can offer you, as and when you need it. You will have a named account manager who is there to discuss any queries, services or issues that you might encounter and we will provide regular reports with details of the KPIs of your contract to demonstrate the quality of our delivery.

Support when you need it

One of the great advantages of photocopier leasing is that you have expertise on hand when you need it. Many of our customers call us in to help them start to plan for digital document management or to understand specific related issues such as the new GDPR and its impact on physical customer document copying and storage. In all cases, we can provide general advice and guidance or specific consultancy and service delivery according to your needs. We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service and we have the customer reviews that support our efforts!

Please get in touch today to find out more and we will be delighted to help.

 

Andrew HoyleHow to lease a copier from ASL Group
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How to make managed document services work for your business

Most medium to large businesses generate large quantities of paper documents as part of the everyday workflow. From incoming and outgoing post to internal business documentation; accounts, tax records, invoices and receipts to personnel records, all are likely clogging up your company’s filing cabinets right now.

Quite apart from the cost implications of generating, and storing, all of this printed material; storing your companies records on paper raises issues of security, business continuity, and – frankly – whether you can actually find the documents you’re looking for when you need them.

Managed Document Services offers a potential solution to all of these issues, by providing an integrated, cost-effective, secure workflow to handle, store, and retrieve all of your business documentation.

 

Cost

The bottom line for any business is money, which is why it’s important to know that a bespoke Managed Documents Service from ASL could save your business, on average, 30% of what you currently spend in this area. Savings come through:

– Reducing the amount of staff time spent managing documents, especially searching for and retrieving seldom used paperwork from the depths of your paper filing system, freeing your team up to do work which genuinely matters.
– Cutting down on the amount of printing your business needs to do. Even though it’s a task most office workers carry out many times a day, printing is increasingly one of the principal expenses for a business. This is especially true once the cost of ink, and power, are factored in. A quality MDS can significantly cut down on the amount of printing needed, and save you money.
– Storing your records digitally means that you will no longer need all the space currently taken up by filing cabinets and archive boxes, so you can use it for a more valuable activity, or even have a smaller office and cut down your rent every month.

Security

In these days where individuals have greater rights to privacy and are more concerned with the protection of their personal data, it is vital for every business to secure their records appropriately. This is especially true at the current time, with the General Data Protection Regulation coming into force on May 25th, and imposing fines potentially exceeding 20,000,000 Euros on any business which doesn’t have adequate privacy safeguards in place.

Managed Document Systems from ASL incorporate stringent and effective security mechanisms, and allow you to have fine-grained control over who can access what data, and from which areas of your business. All of your data can also be encrypted, meaning that even if your office were to suffer a break-in and the servers storing your data be stolen, the thieves would still be unable to access your records without your encryption key. All offering a far higher level of security over paper records alone.

Business Continuity

Once you have a secure, digital repository for all of your business documents, it becomes a trivial task to backup and secure that data in an alternative location. ASL can arrange for regular backups of all of your data in off-site, secure locations. Backups such as this ensure that if you ever lose access to your usual office (e.g. through natural disaster, theft, or any other disruption), you will still be able to access your data, and get your business back up and running in a matter of hours.

Environmental

Reducing the amount of paper and printing your business carries out will reduce your ecological impact significantly. In fact, combined with other savings such as cutting postal bills, and reducing the size of space you need, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by as much as 60% through fully utilising one of ASLs individually designed, bespoke Document Management Systems.

Compliance

As a fully digital system, ASL can configure your Document Management system to create an auditable trail of every action which is performed on every document uploaded into the system. You will always know whenever a document has been accessed, and by whom. Records will be kept of any copies made, and the date and time that any actions are carried out. Access logs will also be maintained within the DMS, ensuring that you are aware as soon as possible if any individual – even from within your own company – attempts to access any information they do not have access to.

These measures mean that it becomes straightforward for you to demonstrate your business’s compliance with the GDPR, as well as various ISO, SOX, and standards going forward.

If you think that your business would benefit from a bespoke Managed Document System, please telephone or email us here at ASL today so that we can arrange a free, no obligation discussion of your needs and help you to arrange the most effective, best value for money solution to help manage your business documentation and paperwork.

Andrew HoyleHow to make managed document services work for your business
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How to rapidly grow your company

While some businesses grow and evolve over time, others can change shape almost overnight. The main reason for the rapid expansion of a company tends to be a buyout or merger, where one business is incorporated into the other, bringing along all of its staff and systems in the process. Another reason for rapid growth is sudden and sustained demand, which is increasingly common for small tech-based startup firms with well-received products or services.

These business transitions are complicated, and one key issue to consider is the cost of such expansion. Company growth should be a time of profit and a sign of success, but the downtime, productivity dips and internal costs can often offset the benefit of expansion – at least for the first year or two. However, there are some ways your business can mitigate the risks and costs of rapid company growth, and ensure any expansion is smooth and successful.

Ramp up your connectivity solutions


When a company expands and there is a sudden influx of additional staff, the internet and telephone systems can rapidly become overwhelmed by the increased demand on the network. There are often complications with incompatible phone systems, or with incorporating one company’s systems into another. These communication problems can lead to expensive downtime, failure to send and receive vital information – and eventually, to missed sales and dissatisfied customers.

A managed services provider like ASL Group can ease this process by providing a connectivity audit and creating a tailored telephony and internet package, which can be scaled up to handle periods of high demand and guarantee a stable connection. New eased lines can also be installed to provide a dedicated corporate channel that can handle voice and data transmissions, with guaranteed speeds no matter how busy the network becomes.

Hiring staff during a business expansion


When a company expands quickly due to a sudden surge in demand, it is important to have enough staff available to meet that demand. However, expansion is a risky time financially, especially for smaller companies. Taking on permanent staff could prove to be expensive if the expansion later fails; it might be wise to consider hiring agency workers or using short-term rolling contracts to fill any staffing gaps in the interim. Those staff can later be hired on a full-time basis if the growth appears sustainable.

It is also worth considering that some departments may find themselves under more pressure than others during a period of growth. Your IT service desk, for example, might be inundated with support tickets and network access requests. Consider outsourcing some of their tasks to a managed hosting service like ASL Group for a short period of time. We can support your own engineers and technicians, installing networks and troubleshooting network jams.

Maintain a process chain during growth periods

When two companies combine or when there is a large intake of new staff, the upheaval can cause confusion between workers and the normal process can be forgotten – leading to lost work and missed jobs. Ensure that a chain of accountability remains in place for every job in the system, and take special care to track orders or handle requests. Your internet based connectivity systems are a great way to transmit information between your old and new employees quickly, and to encourage active communication between individuals and departments.

Remember to remain accountable to your clients at all times, and don’t forget to check in with your target market to assess the impact of your period of sudden growth or change. During this time, the satisfaction of your client base is paramount to the company’s success. If you are putting off customers due to ongoing technical errors, slow deliveries, poor service and other issues relating to the expansion, the growth you have achieved will eventually become unsustainable.

Mismanaged growth can be expensive

It might seem like a growing company can only be a good thing. After all, more sales mean more staff, more staff means more work, and more work means more sales. However, you must factor in future costs when you consider embarking on a significant ramping up of your business. It might be wise to secure investment that can cover future costs, allowing you to fulfill future orders and meet raised demands.

Define your growth objectives and ensure your plans are in line with your company’s goals. If you are a small startup suddenly heading to the mass market, make sure you factor in cost control and try not to devalue your product by oversaturating your chosen market.

Andrew HoyleHow to rapidly grow your company
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A beginner’s guide to telephony services

Sometimes referred to as ‘Hosted Telephony Services’ or ‘Cloud Telephony Services’, it may all sound a bit confusing if you’ve never heard of these terms before. It is, however, a straightforward and highly sensible option for many offices. For those who are considering a hosted telephony service or simply want to understand more about what this means, please read on as we explain how it all works.

What is a telephony service?

telephony
Hosted telephony service providers, such as ASL Group, are increasingly popular options for business all over the world, including UK and European businesses. In fact, it’s thought that around 50% of the European businesses that use IP communications are choosing a hosted telephony service. But what does this mean? In the first instance it means that the office no longer requires a traditional phone line, nor the usual party of hardware that connects the system both on the premises and to the external phone lines. All phone calls are made via a high-speed internet connection, such as broadband, instead.

Hosted telephony services further mean that the company doesn’t need to worry about the maintenance or running of the system, as this is all handled remotely. Companies that choose hosted telephony systems are provided with all the software they need to make and receive voice calls. Calls are managed via the host’s servers and clients access these calls through the cloud. These servers are located and managed remotely by the provider.

What about internal calls?

telephony

Some telephony service providers, such as here at ASL Group, allow for free internal calls. Of course, you would expect this in any office, but at ASL we take it one step further as you can even make free internal calls to your other offices, wherever they are in the world. That means calling New York from London is not just cheaper than with a standard phone line, but is completely free. Furthermore, standard call charges are significantly lower than through traditional PBX phone lines, whether you are calling a local landline number or an international one.

Flexibility & cost saving

telephony

Telephony services are flexible, and this is one of the major reasons they have become so popular. Connections can be made via landlines connected to the desktop, headsets or indeed mobile phones; an increasingly important tool in modern business as employees find themselves away from the desk more than ever.

Installing new lines or taking one or more down can be carried out remotely by the telephony hosting provider, requested by you the client through the software we provide. This is cheaper than installing new lines to new desks and allows you to upscale your communication activities or indeed downsize your office, at minimal cost and faster than ever before. You can add or remove channels at the press of a button in fact.

Since all hardware is looked after by the telephony service provider, remotely, you will never have to pay for maintenance or repairs. An office phone system is usually left to the IT department to maintain, but outsourcing your telephony means they can focus on their core role. This is another significant example of the cost-saving element of hosted telephony services.

Additional features

telephony

Additional features such as conference calls are easier to manage via a cloud telephony service too. It’s also easier for companies to analyse their call data. This may include how many incoming calls have been made, how long customers are held in a queue, how long the calls take and even customer behaviour. It’s also easier to place callers in a queue and to amend the automated messages that callers receive.

Cloud telephony is likely to become more and more commonplace in offices all over the world. It’s especially popular with small to medium business who can’t afford to develop and maintain their own IP communication system. Using a dedicated service provider means the software and features that are available will also be at the forefront of this fast-moving industry too.

As we see a global trend toward calls being made as voice data, sent across the internet, many companies will choose to appoint a telephony provider to host these services for them, taking out the stress, maintenance and essentially the cost of setting up their own IP communications system.

To find out about the telephony services we provide at ASL Group, speak to our team here.

Andrew HoyleA beginner’s guide to telephony services
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ASL Group will be attending The Academies Show at ExCeL London

ASL Group is a leading supplier of innovative solutions for offices and companies, and we are proud to extend the services we offer to the education service through The Academies Show, held in April of this year. Our cutting edge managed document services will be demonstrated at our exhibition stand during the one-day education event.

Come along to discover how managed document services and print hosting solutions can reduce costs within your school, and improve your school’s carbon emissions. Create a greener, more streamlined document process while improving security and reducing misuse. Hosted printing and processing ensures that all documents are stored safely, reduces waste from overprinting, and moves all vital paperwork to a central cloud database for easy access.

ASL Group is always happy to answer your questions, and we can develop specialist systems that are designed to meet your school’s specific needs. Come and speak to us at The Academies Show for a demonstration of our products and more information on how we can help you.

Managed print services

Academies

The ultimate aim of managed print services is to reduce the cost of printing. Print services make it easier and more cost-effective for companies to produce their own documents. Managed print services can also help offices reduce their carbon footprint and make their workplaces greener, through reducing paper use and reducing misuse of the printing system.

ASL Group will be bringing our managed print solutions to The Academies Show at ExCeL London later this year, alongside other key products from our office solutions suite. Managed print services are ideal for educational establishments where use of the printing system needs to be strictly controlled, and where cost-saving is essential. We will demonstrate how MPS can provide practical support for schools, academies and training facilities.

Managed document services

Academies

Managed document services incorporates managed print services into a fully integrated document process, streamlining document production, distribution and archiving into one central channel. ASL Group’s MDS solutions are designed for busy offices, schools and public sector services where security and compliance are crucial.

Our managed document services could reduce overall costs by 30%. Recent studies show that document process management can decrease your carbon footprint by up to 60% on average. Our green, cost-effective solutions suite will be on display at The Academies Show at ExCeL London in April. Come along and see for yourself – our exhibition stand will include information about our document solutions and demonstrations of our products.

Telephony solutions

Academies

Businesses and public services rely heavily on communication systems to function, and an educational establishment is no different. Internet and telephone solutions ensure that the school is connected to the outside world and enables internal communications between departments, speeding up internal processes and increasing levels of safety and security.

Managed telephony solutions from ASL Group can include outsourced telephone switchboards and call processing centres, so you can streamline your costs and allow administrative staff to focus on more important tasks. Our cutting edge hosted telephony service will be part of our exhibition in April at The Academies Show at ExCeL London. Our representatives will be happy to answer your questions and provide more information on these services. Pop along to our exhibition stand at the trade show to learn more.


Attend The Academies Show

Academies
The Academies Show at ExCeL London is the leading trade event for private and public schools, academies, colleges and universities. It showcases the business management elements of running a school and offers companies the chance to present their administrative and management solutions to educational establishments within their market.

Speakers at the event will include representatives from the Department of Education, along with school heads and teaching staff, Ofsted representatives and campaign group leaders. Businesses will also have a chance to share their products and skills with the education-focused audience, as exhibitors in the event’s educational trade show.

The one-day event is free to attend, and more than 3000 people are expected to take part. It takes place on Wednesday 25th April 2018, between 9am and 4:30pm, at East London’s ExCeL conference venue on the Royal Victoria Dock. Over 200 education providers will be in attendance, along with 100 speakers and a host of companies and services. ASL Group is proud to join the exhibitors and showcase our integrated document management solution for schools and educational facilities. Come along and check us out on the day.

Andrew HoyleASL Group will be attending The Academies Show at ExCeL London
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How to slash costs on your printing

We know that as a business it’s always important to keep costs as low as possible so that overheads don’t eat into profit margins. With that in mind, we also know that printing can take quite a chunk out of your budget. We’ve put together a list of some of the ways in which you can cut costs.

1. Change your printer settings

printing

This is one of the simplest ways to save money. Most printers come with settings you can adjust to reduce your waste and thus your costs. This can lead to immediate savings. Below we list some of the most common settings that can be changed:

Duplex printing – Double-sided printing is one of the easiest ways to cut your printing costs. For every two printed pages, double-sided printing only uses a single sheet of paper. This is ideal for basic print needs.

Draft mode printing – Lots of printers come with the option of printing in “draft” mode which effectively lowers the DPI of the printer, which results in a lighter print that uses far less toner or ink. This is perfect for printing office documents to make internal copies.

Multiple pages per sheet – If you find your business prints quite a lot of text-heavy documents or slideshows, then by printing on multiple pages, you reduce your paper use dramatically and thus your printing costs.

Limiting colour – Black and white printing is perfectly decent for the majority of print jobs for the office. So you can adjust the settings of the printer to print in colour only when vital.

2. Simplify your paper supply

printing
When you have lots of different paper options, it can sometimes result in more waste and more cost. For the majority of offices, reducing the paper supply can lead to large savings. For example, instead of buying paper that is specifically designed for laser or inkjet printers, purchase a multipurpose paper. This type of paper typically costs less than speciality paper but works just as well.

3. Set up permissions and rules

printing
Sometimes people “overprint” and you may not be aware that if you set up some form of tracking, you can create restrictions and permissions. This is a great way to monitor excess and gain control of costs. The easiest way to do this it to use passwords. To make copies or print something, you will be required to enter a password or ID number – you can then monitor who is printing via that number.


4. Use managed print services


One of the best solutions is to take away the headache of managing your printing services by outsourcing to a managed print service provider. This style of service monitors your business and helps you make the required adjustments to help optimise the use of your assets and control costs. You typically find that a managed print service includes:

A tailored service: If your business doesn’t have a formal print strategy, then a managed print service team can help implement one that is tailored to your business. They provide information on usage to meet your company’s requirements and size whilst helping to address any weaknesses that have been identified. This personal touch means your business is getting a service that you know will work for them.

Cost control: When you gain better insight into your printing habits, this allows you to reduce costs by optimising your environment.

Supply delivery: All your supply levels are monitored remotely and then shipped to your business automatically.

Proactive support: A managed print service will typically provide 24-hour remote monitoring and can catch problems early-on and fix them before they can cause havoc to your system.

One invoice: No need for multiple invoices and confusion, as the process for suppliers will be streamlined and you’ll only need to make one payment for all your printing needs.

If you’re interested in streamlining your needs whilst reducing the cost of printing for your business, then check out a managed print service. It’ll not only make your business life less stressful when it comes to managing printing costs and needs, but it will also save you time and money too! Check out how your business could benefit from a managed print service from ASL today.

Andrew HoyleHow to slash costs on your printing
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Connectivity solutions: the benefits

In the modern business, telephones and internet are at the heart of every operation at every level. Without a reliable internal and external communications system and a consistent internet connection, many companies would simply grind to a halt. Even a few minutes of downtime can be extremely expensive for your business – and a slow or inefficient communications system could be costing you more than you think.

Having a flexible communications system means your business can scale its data and connectivity needs to seasonal surges and dips, or step up its connectivity demands during periods of expansion and growth. Managed solutions for telephony and internet can keep costs down by adapting the service to your current needs.

Solutions tailored to your needs


Every business is different, so the one size fits all approach to connectivity is unlikely to work. There are two common mistakes businesses often make when selecting a telephone and internet package: they go for the cheapest package that meets their needs, but risk downtime whenever the network becomes overstretched; or they opt for an overly expensive package filled with extras they do not need.

By choosing a managed services company like ASL Group, your business benefits from a more flexible and efficient set of connectivity solutions. Communications packages can include elements such as leased lines, superfast and assured broadband, hosted telephony and corporate mobile solutions. The tailored package will be created after a full audit of your existing systems and analysis of your business needs, ensuring you get a cost-effective solution that meets all of your needs.

Why good connectivity matters

When a telephone system or internet connection goes down, your business is essentially closed until the fault is corrected. Your staff often become unable to do their jobs, your company data may be inaccessible, your customers may be unable to reach you and you may even lose sales. The true cost of downtime is hard to calculate, but experts suggest that thousands of pounds are lost for every minute that an average sized business loses connectivity.


Reliable, secure internet


The internet connection is the backbone of the modern business, and even the telephone systems rely on a stable connection. Businesses like yours need a fast connection that can handle large amounts of traffic, even during peak times. Options available include ADSL, EFM and leased line installations. Leased line packages often include provisions for voice transmissions and a standard telephony system can be easily integrated into the line.

ADSL broadband is faster than your home internet and includes more security features, so it should suit smaller business operations where there is low-level pressure on the communications system. Superfast broadband is around five times faster and it can handle heavier traffic, making it an ideal companion to hosted internet and telephony solutions. Assured broadband and leased line packages – including cheaper ethernet or EFM lines – give your business a dedicated channel for communications, without vying for bandwidth.


Telephony hosting and connectivity


Managed services and telephony hosting are the ideal option for businesses who want to streamline their in-house services and cut their operating costs, without compromising on the quality of their connectivity systems. Through managed hosting and cloud services, you can shift communications offsite while maintaining security standards – ensuring no call is dropped and no signal is lost. Hosted services can act as switchboards to reroute incoming calls, and as servers to carry phone and internet signals securely and quickly.

Business mobile networks can also help to maintain communications inside your business, enabling your workforce to become more mobile and dynamic within their own roles. A secure business network for mobile transmissions can protect data transmitted internally, even when employees are away from the premises, and can be fully integrated with the telephone system. The bespoke mobile service is a cost-effective way to connect your employees, and avoid the risks associated with unauthorised personal devices.


F
inding the right connectivity solutions


ASL Group has a full suite of connectivity solutions available for our clients, from leased lines and superfast broadband to hosted telephony solutions. To determine your own connectivity needs and get the most cost-effective solutions for your business, arrange a consultation with ASL Group today. Submit an online query now and we will get back to you to arrange your connectivity audit.

Andrew HoyleConnectivity solutions: the benefits
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