Latest news

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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How to successfully implement Managed Print Services

Nowadays, many businesses have chosen to implement managed print services as it allows them to considerably reduce the cost of printing.

That is because the maintenance of the machines, as well as all the costs of consumables, are all taken care of as part as one single package.
The implementation of an MPS such as ASL will also mean the IT team will spend less time maintaining the printers and more time concentrating on tasks that will make a significant difference to the business. However, in order for the transition to an MPS to be successful, you will need to put a strategy in place so that it causes the least disruption possible to your business.

The most important thing is to, first of all, evaluate what your business needs, when it comes to MPS, there isn’t a one size fits all solution. You will want to know how often you print, how much ink you need and how long on average your IT team spend maintaining the printers and copiers. Whilst ASL can assist you in the process, it is probably best for you to confer with your IT team so you have a real idea of your needs. They will be able to tell you how often the ink or toner has to be changed and how often they have to carry out any other maintenance. Based on that information, you will then know what kind of MPS your business needs. Then after that assessment, ASL will decide to either redeploy your current equipment if it is deemed adequate or to retire it if we think that is obsolete and no longer suit your needs. However, it is not only about how often you use your printing equipment, it is the whole of the printing processes which need analysing.

In order to understand your printing processes, we will need to know how often you need the printer but also which departments are printing the most as well as which programs are generating the most print requests. This information will determine the quality of print that is used, for example, if the design department is the one that prints the most, then it is highly likely they will print in high definition or that it will need its own printer so that it doesn’t disrupt the workflow of the other departments within the business. Additionally, we will also need to know how often documents are copied or scanned; this will help us determine whether you need a multifunction machine or not. Those needs can also go beyond the print production of documents, some of the devices we supply also have an integrated stapler which means it is possible to print and present documents in a professional way. In-fact when undertaking the deployment of Managed Print Services, it is just as important to understand the print processes as it is the to understand the type of machine you will need.

So that we can deploy your MPS efficiently, ASL will also need to know more about your business, and while it is primarily office based businesses which need printing solutions, there are managed print services for all types of businesses. We will need to know the size of the business, it might sound obvious, but the bigger the business, the more printing devices will be needed. Then we need to know the print requirements of each department in the business; the mail-room, for example, won’t have the same requirements as the sales office. That will help us understand which sort of printer and how many printers are needed within the building. However, the most important part of this process is to get an idea of how your IT infrastructure works; in other words, do you manage IT internally or do you get an external company to manage your IT systems. We will then communicate with them to ensure everything is running smoothly and to set up the maintenance alerts so that we can prevent any mishaps from occurring and save you valuable time.

Once, the machines have been installed, you will have to train staff to learn the print management software.
This is the final stage of any MPS deployment but the most important one, they will need to know how to send a document to print and how to copy so that print productivity is maintained.

In order for the deployment of an MPS to be rolled-out successfully, we, therefore, require a variety of information so that we can spec out the best solution for your business in order to help you optimise productivity. If you work with your MPS provider and communicate with them on a regular basis, they will be on-hand to help you when the business expands so that those processes can also run smoothly. Communication is also key to the successful deployment of the MPS solution because we will to liaise with you on a regular basis to ensure the system is working for you.

 

Andrew HoyleHow to successfully implement Managed Print Services
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Photocopier maintenance: The ultimate guide

When it comes to the photocopier that your business uses, keeping it in peak condition is key. This will not only ensure better copies are produced but also lead to less frustration with reduced breakdown issues on the whole. It will also help to extend the lifespan of the machine as regular maintenance is a major factor for longevity.

But what are the best ways to keep your photocopier in excellent condition?

1. Read the instruction manual 

This is an obvious tip, but you would be surprised at how many businesses don’t bother to! While there are lots of superb general tips for photocopier maintenance, there can be special tasks for each individual model or specific ways of operating them. By reading the manual you will know how to operate it properly so you avoid any breaks in service or jams. It will also ensure you know the recommended manufacturer methods on any necessary maintenance.

2. Clean that glass

One area that needs regular maintenance on all copiers is the photocopier glass that you put documents on to copy. This glass soon builds up with high levels of dust and grime and should be cleaned at least once per day. If not, you will start to see smears or streaks on your copies. Invest in some proper photocopier glass cleaner and give the copier glass a wipe down with it each day.

3. Remove dust from inside too

As well as dust on the glass building up, it is a problem if the internal parts of your copier get too dusty also. To maintain these parts, get a dry cloth that is soft and give the inside parts of your copier a gentle dust over. This will get rid of any pesky debris that could lead to jams or bad copies. For those hard to reach places, compressed air in a can be used instead.

4. Don’t forget about the ink cartridge head

While you are generally maintaining the internal parts of your copier, take the time to look after the ink cartridge head as well. Once more, dust and grime are the issues here that can affect the quality of your copies if not maintained. Use a damp cotton pad to gently wipe this part of your machine over and get rid of any debris.

5. Maintain the paper rollers

Probably the one major problem all copiers have is paper jams! Anyone who has used a photocopier will have spent some time un-jamming a machine after this has happened. The root cause of a paper jam is dust on the paper rollers which stops the paper moving through them as it should. To maintain your copier so this does not happen, simply wipe the paper rollers with a lint free cloth regularly.

6. Use the right paper and parts

A very common cause of photocopier problems is that the wrong parts or paper are used in the machine. This then leads to the copier not working to its full capacity or not working at all! Your copier, for example, may only be able to handle a certain weight or thickness of paper. If you put anything too heavy or thick in, it will jam. To help with your copier maintenance, always use the correct parts for your individual copier.

7. Clean the drum 

The drum in your photocopier is an essential part that transfers the toner onto the paper to make your copies. Over time, it can get clogged up with toner though and so needs careful maintenance. There is a special tool called a Mylar bar to do this which is easy enough to find online. You simply use the Mylar bar to gently scrape off any excess toner on the drum and return it to peak condition.

8. Give the fuser a once-over too 

The fuser is another key part of your copier that actually sticks the printed toner onto the paper. It can be the cause of many photocopier breakdowns though so is worth looking after. To maintain it well, simply apply some silicon oil to a damp cloth. Once ready, give your fuser unit a wipe down to help remove any excess toner or debris.

Looking after your photocopier is wise

There is no doubt that taking the time to perform photocopier maintenance is a good move overall. Not only will it help to keep it running at peak performance, it will also save you time at work from having to repair any jams. If you need any help with your photocopying needs, then why not give ASL a call? We offer a managed print solution service that is second to none and will help your business thrive.

Contact us today to find out more on how our innovative service and top-class print solutions can help your organisation.

 

Andrew HoylePhotocopier maintenance: The ultimate guide
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How to use MPS to grow your business.

Managed Print Services (MPS) are an increasingly popular way for businesses to reduce the amount they spend on printing while maintaining the highest quality standards. MPS can also be a great tool to help you grow your business, for example by reducing hardware costs and making your expenditure more predictable.

What is MPS?

When you first contact ASL to discuss Managed Print Services, we will work with you to examine the printing needs of your business and work out what the most efficient and cost-effective solution will be for your business needs. ASL can offer a wide range of options, including colour and mono printing, photocopying, and other services, all with clear up-front costings to help you make the right decisions for your business.

Because ASL supply and install machines for our customers, we can negotiate the best offers, and so pass on fantastic prices to our customers from leading brands including Epson, Ricoh, HP, Canon, Kyocera and others. Because supply and fitting are included in the monthly cost of your MPS contract, you can avoid the need to find large amounts of capital to set up your printing operation, as well as the risks which come with owning such high-value assets.

For a young, growing business – or a more established enterprise looking to expand – the opportunity to spread the capital costs of your printing equipment, software, and installation over a period of time could allow you to free up much-needed funds to spend on other projects.

Innovative software solutions included

Alongside the physical printing equipment, ASL will also supply, install, and configure print management software to enable you to make the most of your new printing systems. Options include cloud printing solutions, and print queuing.

Queuing can be especially useful in helping you to reduce costs and free up cash for growth projects as, by requiring the user to get up and go to the printer to physically trigger the printing process, it ensures that users only print essential documents. A solution like this will also reduce your paper (and energy) use which can significantly enhance your company’s environmental credentials.

Additional, off-site services such as document management, archiving, and retrieval, and consultancy can also be included in your MPS contract.

Monitoring, maintenance and support

Throughout your MPS contract, ASL will provide a full range of monitoring, maintenance, support, and training services as part of an agreed level of service with your business. A unique dashboard monitoring service will provide an overview of the health and status of your printing systems. This information is also accessible to our remote support engineers, who can diagnose and solve most problems using the remote management service, saving you the stress and hassle of having to wait for a service engineer to attend your premises.

For those occasions when your printing hardware needs a little TLC, our expert team of engineers can be with you within hours, as well as arranging regular visits to service, maintain, and upgrade your hardware as needed.

Most software upgrades and updates can be completed remotely, and ASL’s automated notifications system works in the background to ensure that you never run out of consumables.

All of these support, maintenance and upgrade services are included in the cost of your MPS contract. As well as the financial predictability of having one payment each month covering all of your printing needs, you will also avoid the expense of having your own in-house engineers or IT team spending their time on printing issues when they could be supporting the growth of your business.

Growing with your business

All growing businesses have needs which change over time, so your MPS contract can change with you. Perhaps with growth you need to include a larger print output, or increase the number of machines you have in the business, or maybe add a new printing type to your workflow. One key advantage of MPS is that changes such as this can be added to your contract and reflected in small increases – or even decreases – in your payments.

Because your MPS contract can change with your business, you can avoid the expense and hassle of procuring new hardware and software, as well as the increasingly costly process of disposing of hardware which is no longer needed.

A bespoke solution for your growing business

At ASL, we work with your growing business to create a managed printing solution which is bespoke to you and meets all the needs of your organisation, for the best possible price. Contact us today, and we will create a personalised assessment of your printing needs, with a fully costed, no-obligation quote so that you can see precisely how a MPS from ASL can help your business continue to grow.

 

Andrew HoyleHow to use MPS to grow your business.
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