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How FileStar can simplify your Document Management

In a modern economy where gaining a competitive edge is more important than ever, companies across the corporate sector are looking to set themselves apart from other firms in their industry in any way possible. As such, the increasing use of digital platforms and technological solutions for age-old problems has become increasingly popular for a wide array of companies across a host of different sectors and industries.

Revolutionising document management

One such way that digital solutions are being applied to age-old problems is through the FileStar document management system. Using the latest developments in cloud-based technology, the FileStar system has revolutionised the way that companies manage the large quantity of information and documents that need to be processed in order to successfully and effectively carry out their operations. Large multinational market-leaders such as McDonalds and LG currently use the FileStar system to streamline and simplify their document management operations. Here at ASL, we offer FileStar as part of our Managed Print Services.

 

Benefits of the FileStar document management system

Where once company offices were filled to the brim with filing cabinets containing every document necessary for a company’s operations, the FileStar system provides a technologically-savvy alternative. Utilising cloud-based technology, FileStar allows documents of all shapes and sizes to be scanned digitally into a comprehensive system that provides a much greater ease of access. Rather than sifting through a heap of cluttered documents trying to find the required piece of paper, FileStar ensures that each document is logged digitally, and thus can be easily accessed through the click of a button.

Aside from the time saved from not having to physically search through filing cabinets to find the desired document, FileStar also helps to save a great deal of money through the decreased necessity for paper documents, and for the storage facilities to house them. Office space can instead be used more effectively, and rather than spending company resources on reams and reams of paper, funds can be allocated more effectively.

Moreover, FileStar can help companies to truly contribute to more environmentally-friendly practices, which not only benefits conservation efforts, but also can be a useful marketing tool to appeal to a millennial generation that places a greater emphasis on a company’s moral practices.

FileStar’s use of cloud-based technology not only helps with the ease of access to documentation, but it also helps to relieve the pressure on a company’s in-house computer server. With FileStar, there is little to no necessity in running a costly in-house server to store digitised documents; instead, all a company needs is a web browser to access the totality of stored documents.

Another advantage of FileStar’s document management system is the level of security provided. With guaranteed secure access, regular comprehensive auditing, and flexible retention policies, FileStar ensures that any company using the system will meet document compliance requirements.

 

Features of the FileStar system

There are clearly numerous benefits to using the FileStar system; and there are also a host of technologically-savvy features that enhance the user experience to make document management much simpler and user friendly. Some of the unique features that FileStar has to offer include:

1) Compatibility with any Windows operated scanner or multi-function device
2) Paper document scans automatically converted into searchable PDF documents
3) User-friendly web browser interface
4) Comprehensive search engine for easy document access
5) Ability to send documents to FileStar via email
6) Automated document filing and naming system
7) Customisable user access control to documentation
8) File emails and documents from Microsoft Office
9) Ability to create multiple document inboxes

 

How does the FileStar system work?

As the features of the FileStar document management system suggest, using FileStar to digitally file and track documents is easier than ever before. The user simply scans a paper document straight from their device, and the scanned documented is automatically sent to the FileStar cloud-based server and filed in the appropriate folder.

Using a simple yet effective process, the FileStar system has helped to revolutionise the document management process for a host of companies:

1) FileStar cloud connect app

This app is installed on a single computer or server within a company, and is the system which acts to upload scans taken from copiers or scanners.

2) Scan a document from a copier or scanner

By creating a scan profile, which the majority of current scanners and copiers on the market have the ability to do, documents can be scanned with the click of a single button. Once completed, the scanned documented is sent to the FileStar system. This represents the final stage the user needs to complete!

3) Documents get transferred into PDFs

The FileStar system automatically begins processing new documents into PDFs, requiring no input from the user. The FileStar system can be configured at implementation with rules on how to process different documents, ensuring that they are processed correctly. For example, documents scanned through different scanning profiles can be processed in different ways.

4) PDFs get transferred to the Cloud

Once scanned documents have been converted, they are automatically sent to FileStar’s cloud-based server and filed accordingly. If for any reason you should lose internet connectivity, the FileStar app will retain the document locally on the computer it was scanned into, and then finish the upload process once connectivity returns.

5) Search for the documents in your browser

Uploaded documents can now be searched for and viewed using an internet browser.

6) Document lifecycle

FileStar’s access control allows only selected or authorised users to access uploaded documents. Moreover, built-in audit trails keep a record of users who have viewed or edited documents. Retention policy features allow documents to be flagged if they need to be removed due to compliance requirements.

To learn more about how the FileStar document management system can benefit your business, contact us at ASL today!

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Have you considered printers in your GDPR strategy?

With the modern world becoming increasingly digitised and relying on technological solutions, the issue of data protection has become more and more important. Over the past few years, there has been a growing number of security breaches and data thefts that have rocked major organisations around the world. However, governments and companies across a wide array of nations and industries have been fighting back.

 

What is GDPR?

Since May 2018, every nation within the EU has adopted the GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation, with the hope of ensuring that companies are more protected from potential data breaches, and furthermore that customers can rest assured that their data footprint is in safe hands. The GDPR requires any company within the EU, or that operates within EU borders, to take steps to ensure that they protect the personal data and privacy of citizens and customers in unprecedented levels.

Any company with greater than 250 employees that holds or processes personal information and data must ensure that they comply with the GDPR, and any company with fewer than 250 employees that has the potential to have an impact upon personal information and data must also comply with the regulations.

 

Impact upon companies

Compliance with the GDPR has become of paramount importance to companies across the corporate world, as it is widely recognised that failure to comply with the regulations can be a significant barrier to operating within Europe, one of the world’s largest consumer markets. Furthermore, aside from a purely competitive standpoint, there is the potential for crippling fines for any company shown to have failed to comply with the GDPR.

In the instance of a data breach, the company at fault will incur a fine of up to £23.6 million, or four per cent of the company’s total worldwide annual turnover, whichever figure turns out to be highest. This clearly has the potential to be fatal to many large multinational firms, let alone the wide array of small-to-medium sized companies that operate within the EU’s borders. With such a significant potential risk, companies are thus scrambling to ensure that they have the correct procedures and safeguards in place to avoid this catastrophic situation.

Within firms, data controllers, data processors, and data protection officers have been tasked with ensuring compliance with the GDPR. However, despite the realisation of the importance of compliance, there are still some aspects of many company’s operations that have been neglected. One such instance is the security of the data processed through a company’s printing facilities.

 

Securing the safety of printing data

Whilst the security of the data handled by a company’s printing facilities often go neglected, luckily there steps that can be taken to ensure that printing systems comply with the GDPR. One such step is implementing a Follow Me printing solution.

Follow Me printing solutions are fast becoming the latest innovation in commercial printing procedures due to the increased levels of convenience and security that are provided. Not only do Follow Me printing solutions help to provide greater levels of data security that ensure compliance with the GDPR, but such systems also help to grant greater levels of flexibility and control over the printing process. Moreover, there is also the potential for a decrease in waste created by unnecessary or unintentional printing.

Follow Me printing solutions operate on a very basic two-step process:

1. A user decides to start a desired printing job on their workstation
2. Once the user is physically present at the printer that they desire to use, they start the printing process by verifying their identity through a number of authentication procedures.

This simple process has clear benefits for helping companies to ensure that they comply with the GDPR. Follow Me printing solutions have become increasingly popular in academic institutions for that very reason. For example, a student working at a computer can initiate their desired printing project, and select the desired output printer to be in the location of their next class. Once they arrive at that location, with a simple swipe of their ID card they can execute the printing order they started previously. With such a system, rather than the printed piece of paper simply lying in the printing tray until they arrive, with the potential to be seen by anyone, possibly taken, or simply thrown away, the student can rest safe in the knowledge that the information on the piece of paper has been seen by their eyes only.

Aside from ensuring compliance with the GDPR, a Follow Me system also has clear benefits for limiting printing waste. As the printing job is only executed upon confirmation with an ID card, or on a control panel embedded in the printer, there is no chance of accidental printing that wastes paper and ink. Thus, using a Follow Me system is not only essential for data security reasons; it also has extremely beneficial effects upon overall efficiency and environmental footprint.

To learn more about how Follow Me printing solutions can benefit your business, contact us today!

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How Papercut’s reporting increases your photocopier fleet’s productivity

About 90% of businesses are unable to estimate how much they actually spend on documentation. It’s a big number; and, if you run a business or buy office supplies for one, you likely know how expensive it can be. A typical day in the office brings a great many printed sheets, and you’re probably painfully aware that a lot of them don’t actually need to be printed at all. Inefficient printing is costly, wasteful, deleterious to the environment and – perhaps most importantly of all – unproductive. When paper is wasted on documents which don’t need to be printed, that same paper cannot be used for the documents that do.

 

The Solution

This is where Papercut comes in. Papercut is a software for print control management, which means that it allows you to see what’s in your (or your employees’) print or photocopy queue at a glance. This enables an employer or manager to instantly compare photocopier and/or printer use across departments, or even between devices. When you can see what your business is using the photocopier for, you can work out where to streamline your printer and photocopier use. It can even track and manage printing from Chromebook, Android, iOS and other devices – so if your company has a bring-your-own-device policy, you can still benefit from using Papercut.

 

The Environmental Benefits

The software also offers a boost in eco-friendliness for your company, by not only allowing you to set print quotas but also showing you the key facts about what and how you’ve been photocopying. When it becomes possible to see where paper wastage is occurring, it becomes that much easier to minimise paper waste. The average employee prints around 8,000 to 10,000 sheets in a single year – that’s equivalent to about a tree per employee – and of those about 1,400 are wasted. Think of it this way: if you have just six employees in your company, who each waste 1,400 sheets each, their wasted sheets alone add up to more than a tree’s worth of paper. And wasted sheets are useless, so they may as well be blank. 1,400 blank sheets of paper is an awful lot: imagine stacking it! Print quotas, on the other hand, discourage wasteful printing and photocopying by setting paper use limits, meaning that employees think about their photocopying a little more and hence save a few trees.

Instead, Papercut encourages employees to use modern, digital solutions, like forwarding emails and using the cloud for data; these will save even more time and money as would-be photocopier users never even have to leave their desk. In fact, printing only necessary documents would mean that employees spend more time getting on with work that needs to get done.

 

The Efficiency Benefits

Beyond simply limiting photocopies, encouraging employees to be more responsible with printer use means that paper s saved for the really important stuff – and makes sure there’s always enough paper to go round. Your employees will barely ever have to feel frustrated with a lack of paper or ink (and therefore their workflow won’t be disrupted), and you’ll be able to save money on print supplies for the entire company. It is a fact that printing costs are usually the third biggest expense for a business, after rent and paying wages! The average cost of printing for a company with £10 million in revenue is between £100,000 and £300,000; cutting that down to size would be a significant boost. And small businesses, who would perhaps find that extra saving even more useful, can benefit too – ASL supply businesses of any size with Papercut.

 

Why Us?

Furthermore, Papercut is the single best print control management software on the market today. It has the most features, and it has near-complete cross-platform usability; it can be used with all major operating systems. It’s intuitive and easy to use, and can even be set up and used in 16 different languages. It is, in fact, the one and only true cross-platform print control management system on the market. It is developed by a bright, clued-up team focused on engineering and technology – which means they are focused on making your business that much more productive using real facts and figures.

Nor is Papercut a purely corporate tool. It actually started life as a means of enforcing print quotas for students – as such, it can be used in schools and universities too, and even government departments have felt their benefits. Essentially, in any professional or educational environment where there are photocopiers, Papercut can increase their efficiency and productivity.

 

ASL

ASL offers Papercut as part of their suite of Managed Print Services. If you are interested in acquiring the efficiency that Papercut offers for your fleet of photocopiers, get in touch. ASL offer free phone consultations, after which they can provide you a quote tailored to your business’s exact requirements. Greater efficiency and productivity for your photocopier fleet is within your grasp.

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ASL appoint high-level marketing director to drive forward exponential growth

 

 nigel allen asl marketing director ASL, the office managed services group, are pleased to welcome Nigel Allen onto their board as the new marketing director for the group. Previously one of the board at Kyocera achieving substantial growth over the last 9 years, Nigel brings this wealth of relevant experience to the role, as well as providing ASL with the marketing expertise they need to maximise growth in the short- and longer-term. Nigel’s previous career as the marketing director for Kyocera (Nigel worked for Kyocera for more than fifteen years), ensures he has an excellent insight and knowledge of the sector which will be invaluable as they continue to grow to be one of the largest Independent companies in the market.

Nigel Allen states “I have worked with ASL for many years from the manufacturer side and seen the growth in their business organically and through targeted acquisition. It is a very exciting time to be at ASL and this is further demonstrated with this investment and focus on marketing. My focus will be on ensuring ASL is firmly established in the mind of our target market, with clear messaging and approach to the end user, thereby aiding the sales effort and helping ASL stand out as the leading supplier”

ASL have undertaken a focused programme of acquisitions in recent years which has seen the group evolve into a large-scale organization, offering a diverse selection of services including unified comms, security and production print. Appreciating the positive culture and values which are a key part of the ASL persona, Nigel is eager to work with the rest of the directors to continue to take the company forward towards even greater success.

Mark Garius, managing director of ASL, said, “For a number of years ASL has seen significant growth and reached a stage where it was necessary to strengthen our Board of Directors. We know that Marketing will play a big role moving forward as we continue to acquire and add new services to our portfolio. It is imperative that we communicate our proposition correctly to our current customers as well as new prospects. ASL have worked with Nigel at Kyocera for several years and have always been impressed with his part in their growth and success. He therefore headed a very short list of candidates that we approached to help ASL move to the next level. The other directors and I are very excited about his decision to join the board and add his considerable skill sets and knowledge to ASL.”

ASL – leaders in telephony and printing solutions

ASL is a market leader in managed print services and unified comms in the UK. Currently one of the top ten managed service companies in the country, ASL has acquired a reputation for impartial product recommendations and impeccable customer service at every stage. With well over 100 employees and branches in Basildon, London, Great Yarmouth, Cambridge, Cannock and Milton Keynes, they offer a responsive, customized solution for a wide variety of office requirements. ASL offer independent advice and can supply and maintain a large range of products from global leaders in the print solutions world, including Kyocera, Ricoh, Lexmark, Canon, Konica and Papercut. Flexible financing and a commitment to ensuring each customer gets the very best option for their requirements are crucial to ASL’s continual growth.

 

 

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How your office can benefit from a large format printer

 

large format printing

For many business owners, the deciding of fixtures and fittings for the workspace can often be one headache you would rather do without. Equipment such as printers, faxes and scanners are all crucial elements of the setup, but can cause issues with regards to sourcing, pricing, installation and maintenance. In addition, there are also a myriad of options to choose from, with regard to brand, type, colour or mono, and a number of other factors which make it difficult to select the one which is best for you. One area you may not have previously considered, however, and one which could prove a positive bonus for your business, is large format printing.

Put simply, large format printing is printing that is carried out using a device that uses media which is larger than standard desktop formats. Examples include A3, 8.5″x11″, and similar. Large format printers may include printers which range in physical size from 12″ wide to several yards, depending on the preferred usage, potential location and design. These printers open a new world of possibilities in regards for potential projects and creative designs and can prove a large bonus feature to your office or workspace if used correctly.

There are a number of benefits which can come with large format printing:

Speed: A large format printer will be able to offer print speeds which are unmatched by any other multifunction or desktop printer; on average, they are able to produce up to 15 posters in one hour, and include extremely high-quality graphics and images.

High quality: The droplet technology which is used by large format printers allows microscopic ink droplets, ensuring precision and incredible high-quality images, unable to be produced by standard printers.

Clarity: The large format printers can distinguish between images and text more easily during the print process. This means it is easier to produce prints clearly and accurately, and display the image and graphics to their best advantage.

Accessibility: Wide format printers often have large touch screen menus to operate, alter settings, or check connectivity. This means that is easier to use than a typical desktop printer, and is more accessible for those who may have additional issues, or who may not be confident with technology.

Mobile printing: Accessibility and convenience are also massively enhanced by the mobile printing feature which is common with most large format printers. Users are able to print from mobile phones and other wireless devices, meaning that multiple users can access the printer at the same time without having to be physically connected, and allows you to print from emails on phones or tablets, making the whole process more convenient for everyone.

Save the environment: For those eco-conscious consumers, there is good news: wide format printers can be more eco-friendly, as the quality is higher, requiring fewer copies. The larger space also allows more information to be contained on a single sheet, reducing the amount of paper and ink which may be required. As an additional advantage, many large format printers tend to use UV curing and low-VOC inks, which are more environmentally friendly.

Wide format printers allow the opportunity to create incredible visual campaigns, with stunning images, eye-catching graphics, and a chance for businesses to really grab the attention of their potential buyers and customers by creating marketing which stands out from the crowd. Having an in-house machine also reduces the need for outsourcing: all printed material can be designed and created within the business, therefore reducing potential costs and overheads, and allowing more profit to be generated.

But isn’t this expensive?

 

Whilst it is undeniable that wide format printing has a huge number of benefits and bonuses for businesses, there is also downside that such equipment can prove costly, particularly in the early days of setting up a business. There is a solution to this however which can solve a number of issues: the option to lease or rent.

Leasing or renting allows you to pay for equipment as you go, saving you the hassle of an initial upfront cost, as well as the cost of ongoing repairs and maintenance. These will often come with full installation service, delivery, and qualified expert engineers on the other end of a phone should something go wrong. This allows you to select the best printer for your business needs, and enables you to focus on what is important: your clients, and leave the technical issues to experts. This solution also allows you to spread the cost, reducing that need for an initial upfront cost which eats into your set up costs.

Large format printing has a number of benefits and could be a valuable asset to many aspects of your business. It is now also more accessible than ever and could prove a lucrative and worthwhile investment

 

 

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How to hire a printer in London

For many businesses, one of their largest expenses tends to come from the creation and circulation of documents and papers; whether they are for advertising and marketing purposes such as flyers and business cards, internal memos, or simply resources needed for the company.

 

The value of paper-based resources

In this modern world, digital is undoubtedly supreme, with much administration and communication carried out electronically over email or other file-sharing software. There is no denying, however, the value which paper-based resources hold, and they are still important for many companies. One of the issues with this can be the costs involved in purchasing and maintaining printing equipment and material. One must consider not only the initial expense of the printer itself, but ongoing costs (paper, toner or ink), repairs and upgrades, and the hassle of fixing any faults that may appear. Thankfully, there is a solution which could help with all of this: hiring or leasing a printer in London.

ASL, or Automated Systems Group Ltd, has a proud reputation as one of the UK’s largest independent reprographic, managed print services and managed print suppliers. They boast more than 5000 customers across the nation, and have the ability to provide modern, cutting-edge technology from the world’s leading manufacturers, and can offer solutions, consultancy and advice to your business to discover and meet your needs exactly.

How do I hire a printer in London?

 

The process of hiring a printer is a simple one, but one which can save you a great deal of stress down the line! Here are the simple steps:

1) Do your research

What is it you need your printer for? Is it solely to produce information? Do you need to process high-quality images? Access a fax facility? Will you need to copy large numbers of documents or scan detailed information? Make sure you are clear about the needs of your company before you buy, to help you make the best selection.

2) Contact the experts

Once you have a good idea of what you are looking for, it is time to call in the pros! When you contact ASL, you will be assigned a dedicated Account Manager who will oversee the entire process and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

 

3) Find the best solution

With your Account Manager, you can work to find the solution to your problems, using a wide range of options, payment plans and choices to ensure that you get the perfect result.

Still not convinced that hiring a printer is the best option for your business? Take a look at some of the benefits you could reap from leasing your printer rather than purchasing it:

 

1) Keep equipment fresh

Technology is constantly changing, and you want to ensure that your printing solutions remain current and relevant. Hiring makes it easy to upgrade equipment, as well as installing and disposing of unwanted products.

 

2) Select a bespoke product

The expert advice which you receive from ASL means that you are guaranteed a product which meets all of the needs of your business. There is a huge range to choose from, with five main broad categories: colour, mono, large format, duplicator, and 3D.

 

3) Easy, hassle-free installation

Hiring or leasing a printer will also include a fast, friendly and professional fitting service, ensuring that your new equipment is delivered quickly, fits in seamlessly and is up and running as soon as possible.

 

4) Use your money wisely

Purchasing printing equipment can require a large initial outlay. However, ASL offers a wide range of flexible finance options, with the option to rent printers from just £4 per week, including short and long-term contracts, low rates, and rental plans which are fully inclusive, covering any maintenance, replacement parts or any other elements of your printer during the terms of the contract.

 

5) High-quality equipment

ASL is able to guarantee not only top quality service and expert advice, but also the highest quality equipment. All printers boast low running costs and consistent reliability throughout their lives – enhanced by the availability of expert technicians from the ASL Group Engineering team, who are just a phone call away. In addition, the printers guarantee high-quality prints and high-quality output speeds. They also include print, copy, scan and fax options as standard, meaning that all of your business needs are taken care of in one reliable machine.

In the world of ever-changing needs and technology, it makes sense to delegate and outsource wherever possible, and this includes the ability to lease printers. ASL is your best choice to hire a printer in London, and as an added bonus, we will even deliver the printers to you. Wherever you are based in the city, we cover a multitude of areas, including Westminster, Hackney, Camden, Soho, Brixton and Shoreditch. It’s so easy to get started – simply give our experienced sales team a call today, and let us take care of the rest.

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The complete guide to office supplies

From start-up companies to long-established businesses, there’s something that no office can do without – and that’s the supplies needed to keep their business running from day to day. With so many different products and options out there, it can be difficult to know what’s a must and what’s just ‘nice to have’ when it comes to your supplies cupboard. Our complete guide will hopefully open your eyes to all the basics needed to keep your workplace running smoothly. Read on to find out more.

Start with stationery

stationery

It may be obvious, but in this increasingly digital age, who hasn’t found themselves scrabbling for one of the increasingly illusive pens in the office whenever you need to write something down on paper? The basics of any office is a well-stocked stationery cupboard, with all you need for your staff to do their jobs and keep everything running smoothly.

Writing implements are a must, and whether you opt for the basic biro or personalised products, a steady supply is essential for practically anyone in a desk job. Even printed content can need annotations and adaptions, and adding highlighters to your purchase list will ensure that keeping track of changes and updates is easy. Very few offices are entirely paperless, so to keep that printed or written paper in check, hole punchers and staplers are also essential.

There is a wide variety of desktop stationery you might require, but start with the basics first and work your way up. It can be easy to get carried away with a wide variety of pens, papers and more, but a simple stock of those necessary goods, including notepads, something to write with and the ubiquitous post-it can put you in a good place to start.

 

 

paper storage

Supply storage

With the average office producing a significant amount of paper-based work on a weekly or monthly basis, especially in accounting or HR-based roles, having access to abundant storage is a must for just about any workplace. Not only does this fall into line with many business practices of storing information for a certain amount of time, but it also allows for easy organisation of anything from printed documents to received letters and more.

Filing cabinets, lockable cupboards and even storage units can provide the space you need to store all that critical information and data, but as for the less physical and more digital side of office management, a certain amount of on-site storage might also be required. This might be in the form of external drives, specialised servers and more.

When it comes to ensuring you have a suitable range of office supplies for your staff, storage needs being met is a must. Not only is this good practice for any business, but in some companies, it’s also a legal requirement – with sensitive or personal data being kept under lock and key at all times.

 

Must-have machines

No modern office can run without the machines needed to do day-to-day tasks. With the contemporary office more digital than ever before, a considerable part of your office supplies list is likely to be taken over by these virtual requirements, from laptops and PCs to phone systems and printers. When it comes to running an active and productive office, all of these technologies are a must – and it’s equally as important to know what you need to keep that machinery up and running in the long term too.

For computers and software, IT support can provide you with a way to maintain these office supplies and keep them running for longer too. For printers, opting for a managed print service can allow you to pick the best machine for the job based on your requirements, and with ASL Group this fixed cost includes reduced prices for consumables such as ink – which is a must to keep an office running like clockwork, as well as maintenance.

It’s important to consider what your machinery will need as part of your office supplies too – from the correct type of printer paper to the cables and wires required to connect laptops to screens or monitors, and even spare kit to ensure that should something go wrong, you always have a backup.

 

Creature comforts

The office isn’t an all work, no play environment – there’s always an opportunity to grab a coffee or a cup of tea, have a chat with your desk neighbours and take a lunch break in comfort. These elements are all key to the success of a workplace, and utilising your office supplies for the happiness of your staff is just as important as ensuring productivity.

From tea and coffee supplies to ergonomic, comfortable chairs, comfort is an important factor you shouldn’t forget from your office supplies plan – and while it might not be the most essential part of the list, it’s undoubtedly the most enjoyable for everyone involved.

Planning your office supplies? If you’re in need of an excellent print management service, ASL Group has the expertise to make your life easier. Contact us today to find out more about our tailor-made service.

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How Managed Print Services can cut costs

When it comes to the purchase, care and maintenance for your in-office printers or copiers, it can be challenging to keep track internally of precisely what needs to be done to keep your systems running smoothly. But when it comes to office services, productivity isn’t the only factor – there’s also the budget to consider, and one of the best ways you can cut costs quickly is by utilising mps services.

Considering utilising managed print services for your business and cutting your costs in the process? Here are just a few of the reasons why that might be a great idea:

Newer technology with better value

Unlike older printers or printer/copiers, there’s no doubt that newer models are more effective, easier to use and overall provide better value for money when it comes to consumables such as ink. By choosing a managed print solution, you can have greater choice when it comes to finding the print technology that will meet your needs, and access a higher quality of printer that might otherwise be unavailable to your business.

This is ideal for smaller businesses or those with specialist printing needs, ensuring they have access to the printer they need without paying extortionate amounts. Whether it’s a need for a specific type of ink or a machine that prints in a particular size, having access to a broader range of print technology ensures your business needs are met while saving you money.

Newer printers often include inbuilt money-saving technology, from using less ink per page to requiring less maintenance or even simply not requiring training or time to learn how to use the machine. From cloud printing to easy copying, anything that makes your job easier and more effective can save you money in the long run.

No unexpected fees

There’s no doubt that when you need technology the most is the time when you just can’t get it to work – and even the best printers in the world need regular maintenance and care to ensure they run at their best and exceed your expectations in the long term. With a purchased printer, when the worst occurs, it’s likely you’ll have to take a significant dent out of your budget to resolve those problems – but with a managed print service, those costs just aren’t there.

When you choose to use managed print solutions, the support and care of your printer are included within the cost of the service itself; so your printer will be kept in the best possible condition thanks to regular maintenance and services, as well as help and support as and when you need it. Whether it’s just a simple phone call to get information about a feature or an engineer call-out to fix a fault, with mps services that cost is covered.

Not only does this ensure you’re covered in a bind, but it also provides you with the full cost for your printer throughout the year, with no surprises or sudden fees that can leave you in a bind. A must for any modern business, utilising a managed print service is worth more than just the cost of the printer.

Print consciously

A print management service can do far more than just provide you with a machine that does all you need it to. By making use of a system in which a support and management service is in place you can also encourage using print technology more consciously. With ASL providing a unique dashboard from which you can get a clear, concise overview and understanding of your print usage – giving you a better idea of what’s necessary when it comes to your print habits and what isn’t under control.

Many offices are striving to become as green as possible, and that includes the reduction of printed documents. Not only does this promote a more eco-friendly working environment, but it also saves the costs of consumables from ink to paper and more. For most offices, printing will always be a must – but choosing a managed print service with accurate monitoring of your printer use can help you to cut costs and reduce waste in the average office quickly and painlessly.

A proper print strategy can be a huge help when it comes to understanding what’s needed for your office and what’s superfluous when it comes to your printer use. An excellent mps service can help you bridge that gap to higher savings and a system that works perfectly for your business.

For a tailor-made, perfectly-design managed print service that can help your business to cut costs; ASL has all you need. With printers for all purposes, excellent same-day support and more, there’s no reason to delay when it comes to starting your new print strategy. Contact us today to find out more about how our managed print solutions can help your business to save money.

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Should you buy or lease your photocopier?

Photocopiers have been an essential part of the office since the first Xerox models began appearing in the late 1960s.

Almost every office in the world now has one, and today’s multifunctional devices do everything from copying to printing to scanning.

Businesses often give some thought as to how and where to source their next device, but many get bogged down in browsing the features of potential machines without fully considering the fundamental question of whether to lease photocopiers, rent photocopiers or buy their devices out right. So which should you opt for?

The difference between leasing and buying

Most people understand the fundamental difference between leasing and buying. If you buy an item, you either pay cash up front or borrow the money to purchase it. If you lease a piece of equipment, you take possession of the item and pay instalments to the owner in exchange for using it.

Renting and leasing are very similar arrangements, though photocopier rental agreements tend to be a little more flexible but the term may be shorter which can make the overall cost higher.

The pros and cons of buying

Buying means you own the device from day one. Purchasing a piece of equipment outright puts you in total control and you can upgrade it whenever you want.

With the reliability of today’s technology, it could mean you can own a machine for several years without making lease payments. You don’t pay interest charges or fees during the lifetime of the machine and you don’t have to give it back to the owner at the end of the lease period. You should always remember though that toner and maintenance costs need to be added on.

In today’s workplace, a photocopier does much more than just copy. Your device will perform multiple document management tasks and in the paperless office, your multifunctional device becomes a powerful tool with features like email and scanning. That is likely to mean most businesses require a relatively high-end piece of equipment and the upfront cost can be prohibitive.

With the rate that technology changes, most copiers require upgrading every 2 to 3 years to keep up to date, and with devices becoming ever more energy efficient, costs continue to fall as technology advances. That means the copier you’ve purchased could be costing you more than it should.

The benefits and drawbacks of leasing

Some people are naturally averse to leasing equipment, often because they haven’t fully considered the benefits, but there are some drawbacks to sourcing your photocopier this way.

Some owners like to operate their business without owing money. Whilst leasing isn’t technically a debt, you will be bound to the terms of the lease and some people consider an agreement of this sort similar to operating with a debt.

It’s also true that some firms probably shouldn’t lease. For a new or existing business worried about long-term survival, leasing may not be wise as you’ll be tied into a contract which is often difficult to get out of. And if you make very few copies, say less than 500 a month, it’s probably not viable to lease a copier.

Back in the 1980s, the number of companies buying, or leasing devices was probably around 50 / 50, but today more than 80 percent of business lease their copiers, so why the change?

With a lease, you can simply budget a relatively small amount for the copier and upgrade it every few years as technology progresses.
By choosing an agreement with a pre-determined upgrade date, you know your office will always have the most advanced device.

There’s little upfront cost and you can take delivery almost immediately. Leasing helps with cash flow and capital outlay, and finance leases are treated as a fixed asset. Service agreements can be easily taken out and alleviate the worry of call-out charges and replacement parts.

When you lease a photocopier, payments are considered a pre-tax expense meaning you can deduct the payment from your taxes. If you buy a device, you can only deduct its depreciation and copiers depreciate by around 40% in the first year and 25% in the second.

What to look for in your lease

Lease terms generally run from 12 months up to 60 months, but 36 months is a typical agreement length and makes sense for most organisations.

It’s always advisable to work out your copy volume before approaching a lease provider. The price you pay will typically be linked to usage. Lease contracts tend to vary from 5,000 pages to 50,000 pages

You’ll also need to decide what features you need such as duplex printing and automatic document feeding. Finishing is also important, so consider whether you want a stapling and hole-punching feature. Most offices will also need their device to be able to scan, and send fax and email versions of documents.

The beauty of leasing is its flexibility and you can tailor the terms and features of your agreement precisely to your budget and operational needs.

 

Andrew HoyleShould you buy or lease your photocopier?
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How much value can Managed Print Services add to your business?

How much value can Managed Print Services add to your business? In today’s tough economic climate, managers are increasingly looking for ways to add value to their businesses, especially when it comes to large overheads such as essential printing costs. Printing is an expense which places significant demands on a business, in terms of both the physical costs of machines such as paper and ink, but also the large time commitments of already busy IT departments. An increasing number of businesses are beginning to take advantage of Managed Print Services (MPS). So, we thought it would be useful to look at the value this professional service can add to businesses.

Reduced downtime

For businesses which rely on trouble-free printing, a Managed Print Service can quickly prove its value through regular, periodic maintenance. If the IT team are struggling to get to grips with finding faults or maintaining the increasingly complex high-tech printers, a Managed Print Service maintenance plan will ease the pressure. The Managed Print Service will provide an experienced team to take care of everything, so staff are free to carry on with their day-to-day tasks.

In fact, many businesses which subscribe to a Managed Print Service may not even notice the issues, as often they are solved before the efficiency of printing is affected. As part of a maintenance programme, the wearing parts and consumables are replaced automatically by trained staff, who visit the business at key intervals.

Improved efficiency

The majority of organisations do not have the time or resources to devise a print strategy, with could help improve efficiency across the business. The amount of time employees spend on tasks such as printing, scanning, replacing cartridges and repairing malfunctions can be surprisingly time-consuming.

It is common for businesses to be unaware of the potential improvements in efficiency, which a professional print management company will be quickly able to implement. A professional print management team will get to know the individual requirements of your business, so that you benefit from any potential improvements to workflows. The print company will then quickly build a profile of every machine within a business, with continuous improvements made to improve the workplace efficiency.

Reduced costs

The majority of businesses do not have an accurate figure for their printing costs, as most will only consider the costs of physical goods and servicing. There are also several indirect costs that businesses should factor into calculations including lost productivity, maintenance and downtime. It is estimated that printing costs for a business can total between 1-10% of an organisation’s revenue, which represents a significant cost.

A print management company will calculate an accurate cost of the business’s printing, which will allow the business to see the overall picture. By understanding the small details, it will quickly become clear where savings can be made. A Managed Print Service will then devise an efficient strategy to monitor and manage equipment and consumables, which could bring an organisation cost savings of up to 35%. This will be achieved by consolidating supplies, automating consumable replacements, reducing outsourcing costs and optimising equipment placement to deliver brilliant savings.

Improved flexibility

Printing requirements across a business’s departments can vary dramatically. A knowledgeable MPS provider will be able to build a bespoke printing programme, which could include new solutions such as mobile printing or implementing new document sizes and formats. By always having an expert at hand, businesses benefit from the latest knowledge and improvements in technology, which can improve levels of productivity and flexibility across departments.

Improved cash flow and lower capital expenditure

For businesses of all sizes, purchasing a new fleet of printers can be a large cost, but Managed Print Services can provide a variety of affordable payment plans. A popular choice among many businesses is a pay-per-page contract, with hardware leased from the print manager. This is ideal for companies which are looking to avoid large bills every few years. Businesses also benefit from real-time updates about their usage with useful forecasting tools for future costs.

Reduced environmental impact

As printing efficiency improves across the business, the amount of paper, consumables and electricity required will dramatically decrease. An effective Managed Print Service will incorporate a monitoring system into the package, which will help businesses identify a variety of usage levels. If usage suddenly increases, it is quick and simple to intervene and take measures to further reduce the environmental impact of the business.

At ASL we understand that every business is unique, so our team are committed to getting to know the intricacies of your printing demands. Whether you have a few printers in your office, or multiple businesses across the area with a variety of printing equipment, we believe we can assist. If you would like more information about how our Managed Print Services could add value to your business, please contact our experienced team today.

Andrew HoyleHow much value can Managed Print Services add to your business?
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