ASL news

How to request maintenance from ASL Group

Here at ASL Group, we understand just how vital functioning printers are to your work-flow. There is nothing worse than needing an important document for that imminent meeting and not being able to run it off. This could be a potential disaster but with the kind of help ASL Group offer, this need not be the case.

In the event of an emergency with any of the printing hardware or supplies that you currently use, how can you get in touch with us?

Remote service help

maintenance
The first option is advised if you are a customer of ASL Group and have a simple query that could be easily fixed. When your print system is set up by us, we will give you a unique PIN which will allow you to gain remote assistance if required. This will be given by one of our qualified service engineers who will be able to help with the issue you are facing. If you find keeping on top of your print supplies a headache too, we can help there! You can also use our website to send in meter readings from your printers or ask for new toner so you never run out again.

Give us a call

maintenance
If you would rather than simply pick up the phone and speak to us! This is also the best way if you are not a current ASL Group customer but need our help. Our UK based call centre is in the Midlands and this help desk service is a great way to get your problem sorted out, fast. The experienced staff you speak too will be able to clarify the issue and do their best to offer a solution over the telephone. If the nature of the issue can’t be fixed in this manner, then an engineer will be booked to come out in person to resolve.

Request an engineer callout

maintenance
Of course, if you would rather just book an engineer to come out then this is possible too. Simply visit our website and fill in the form here to request an engineer visit or phone up and ask for an engineer call-out appointment. Make sure to have the machine serial number when you do, along with a description of what the actual problem is. A clear and detailed description will allow the engineer to fix it faster when he arrives. Once the appointment is made at a time that suits you, the engineer will come to your business to resolve.

If you need a hand, get in touch


As you can see, there are a number of ways that ASL Group can help if you are stuck. Simply get in touch with us and we will get your problem sorted out quickly and efficiently. Let us worry about keeping your printers running so you can focus on doing your job. We offer a guaranteed same-day response which means your issue will get fixed without any long delays.

Why use a managed print service?

maintenance
If you don’t already, then thinking of using the managed print service that ASL Group offers is worthwhile. The main benefit of using this service is for just the reason described above. Setting up and maintaining a print network in a busy office or workplace can be time-consuming and stressful. By using the managed print service ASL Group offer, we take all that away from you.

Our team of fully trained engineers will always be on hand to help keep your machines running at their peak levels with no interruption in service. This means you can just get on with your daily role and always be able to print when you most need too. If you do encounter any issues, our quick response means it will be fixed before you know it by a qualified professional.

If you are having printer problems and need help, then don’t be afraid to get in touch. Any of the above methods will see your query dealt with promptly and your printers working to their optimal level again. People are at the very heart of what we do so we will always do our very best to keep you printing and fix any issues that may sometimes arise.

Andrew HoyleHow to request maintenance from ASL Group
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How ASL Group can help you cut print waste

In the modern workplace, the need to think about the environmental impact of what we print is essential. All businesses now must implement responsible printing practices to help protect the planet and conserve its resources. If you are keen to cut back on your print waste but need some help, contact ASL Group. We are fully committed to responsible printing and doing all we can to help preserve the environment for future generations.

ASL Group follows WEEE guidelines

waste
An important part of cutting back on print waste is what to do with old machines. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) guidelines tightly govern how these old devices are recycled to make sure it is done in an environmentally-friendly way. Here at ASL Group, we fully comply with these WEEE guidelines. This means that if you use us, we will recycle any redundant machines properly and help you do your bit for the planet.

ASL Group also only choose suppliers who take their environmental responsibilities seriously too. We will only work with suppliers who commit to using recyclable materials and try to produce zero landfill, if possible. This again means that by using us, you are helping to look after the earth.

Implementing good practice through MPS

waste
The managed print service (MPS) we offer is the premier way you can let ASL Group help cut your print waste. This will not only make your organisation greener but also help reduce operational costs too. The dream of a ‘paperless’ office may not be feasible in reality but a ‘less paper’ office is certainly achievable.

In simple terms, by allowing ASL Group to set up and manage a print system rather than using desktop printers, you will make great strides towards cutting print waste. A managed service will give true clarity on usage which will then allow you as a business to see where you can improve in this area. Our innovative ‘PaperCut’ software can be setup on your print network to limit the amount of printing allowed and thereby reduce waste.

Optimisation is key

waste
When we are setting up your print system, we will first look at optimising what you will have. This involves replacing any old machines with faster, more efficient units. These new machines will be much more energy efficient which will see you be kinder to the environment compared to using older machines.

You will also find that with a managed print service system in place, staff will naturally print less. By introducing the need to actually think before you print, you will be able to reduce your print waste in this way.

Helpful advice for future use

waste
Here at ASL Group, we can also offer practical tips to help cut back on your print waste. Using the standby mode on your printer is a great idea as it will use much less energy overall than leaving it fully ready all day. Many of our modern machines only use 1 watt of power in standby mode and are print ready in a second for fast results.

Using thinner, recycled paper is another great way to cut back on the energy your printers use and therefore the waste you might have if you do not. Recycled paper is a no-brainer in terms of protecting the environment but using thinner paper is key too. Less material is printed on each page of thinner paper making it a much greener solution.

If you have a duplex function on your printer then use it. This will mean you print on both sides of the paper, halving the amount you use. Obviously, this is superb for the environment and will bring your print waste right down.

These kinds of tips are great for reducing print waste and just the sort of thing ASL Group can help with.

Get in touch with us today!

waste
If you are looking at ways to cut back on the print waste in your business, then get in touch with us today. Our ultra-modern and energy efficient machines are available to buy or lease for instant results. The managed print service we offer will really help you identify where you can improve and make real gains. Let ASL Group help that dream of a ‘less paper’ office become a reality.

Andrew HoyleHow ASL Group can help you cut print waste
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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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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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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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How to audit your current print processes

Increased productivity, reduced operational costs, stronger security and improved environmental sustainability are things that all businesses desire. But how exactly do you go about getting them? Believe it or not one of the best ways to achieve all of these things is to streamline your current printing processes. One way you can achieve this is managed document solutions, but there are other ways too.

If you’re anything like most businesses you have probably never given the print environment of your company a second thought. The chances are your current document management systems evolved as your company grew, with printers being replaced and reassigned without thinking about the cost and efficiency implications.

As a result, through no fault of your own, your printing environment has become inefficient and costly to run. But by assessing your current print processes, right-sizing your printer fleet and implementing a document management system that brings together your print, copy, mail and imaging requirements, you can make significant improvements to the productivity, efficiency and security of your office. So how exactly do you go about assessing your print processes?

Establish cost per page

managed document solutions

The very first thing you need to establish is how much it costs to print and copy for each member of your organisation. If you don’t know the answer to this already, you may be surprised how high the cost actually is. A simple way of doing this is to divide the cost of the ink/toner cartridge by the manufacturers recommend yield for the cartridge, then adding in the cost of paper.

However, if you use this method, you should be aware that manufacturer page yields are based on 5% page coverage, a full page of text usually contains 10% coverage, for images it can be as much as 100% coverage. So using this method may underestimate your print costs by quite some margin.

A more accurate way to establish per page costs is to look at your print costs for the previous three months. You will need to take into account the number of pages printed, the cost of leasing print equipment, the amount of paper consumed and the volume of ink used. This information should allow you to establish an accurate estimate of your print costs for each user.


Carry out a document needs assessment

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Now you know your per page print costs you need to carry out a document needs assessment. This process starts with quantitative and qualitative data collection analysis of your current print/copy processes, business and user requirements and hardware specifications. The aim of this document is to identify areas for improvement. You should take each individual user group and establish their current print volume, device utilization, document type, the number of users in the group and any challenges they are currently experiencing.

Once this process is complete you should have a clear idea of the type of printing each group does and what steps you need to take to improve performance. For example; would a duplex printer help reduce costs in the marketing department, do they really need a colour printer in accounts, would an inkjet be more efficient than a laser for reception etc. You should be able to answer all these questions and more following your document needs assessment.

Design an office output strategy

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Once your document needs assessment is complete you are ready to put it all together and create an office output strategy. This document should take into account the goals of your business, including growth projections, as well as comparing the various cost of ownership models, such as leasing equipment vs. owning outright vs. managed print services.

Your office output strategy should also identify the most efficient printer for each print group. You can easily do this using the information gleaned in your document needs assessment. Don’t forget to take into account any growth projections you envisage, you don’t want your new printer to become obsolete 18 months after installation.

New printers also mean access to new technology, such as smart power management which switches the printer off when it is not in use and document routing services which can send faxes straight to the recipients’ inbox. New print technology also reduces the amount of toner required to complete jobs and is made from the more environmentally friendly material.

ASL Managed document solutions

managed document solutions
If you would like more advice assessing your current print processes, ASL Group can help. We are specialists in delivering a range of document management solutions including; managed print services, managed document services, print management as well as, on-premise, cloud and hybrid solutions. So no matter how complex your current printing environment our specialists can help. Get in touch with us here: http://asl-group.co.uk/contact/

ASL Group is a managed document solutions company, that streamlines and improves the print operations of its clients by providing managed document solutionshttp://asl-group.co.uk/contact/

 

 

Andrew HoyleHow to audit your current print processes
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