Book Sponsor Profile - Toshiba

Office copy/print production and management

Toshiba LogoToshiba TEC UK Imaging Systems Ltd takes a look a the advantages of multifunctional devices (MFDs) - key to managing print production as well as being a licence to save money, improve control and enhance security.

IT managers and network administrators are constantly under pressure to save overhead and maintain or improve network efficiency and performance. Finance directors are also likely to be under even greater pressure to make savings in print costs.

Having a mix of photocopiers, desktop and networked laser printers, dedicated scanners and fax machines means the costs associated with running such diverse and large fleets are enormous. What's more, those costs have grown as print volumes have shifted from copiers (high price/low cost per page) to laser printers and inkjet printers for colour output (low price/high cost per page).

Connected, multifunctional devices that can be used as copiers, printers, faxes and scanners are a far more efficient option than a mix of laser printers and standalone copiers. Fewer machines are required for a start and those that are can be utilized more fully.

The cost per page is lower, there is only one set of consumables and supplies to buy and stock, and only one service contract.

For example Toshiba Electronic Imaging Solutions, the company's direct sales arm, recently replaced 84 mono copiers, 336 printers and 147 fax machines with just 56 Toshiba multifunctional devices that could copy, print and fax on the same unit.

That sort of ratio is going to be similar no matter whose equipment you buy - provided it is a genuine MFD.

The other cost saving delivered by migrating to an MFD-based solution (apart from reducing sheer number of separate units, and consolidating/saving cost on consumables, supplies and service contracts) is in your electricity bill!

Of all general business equipment devices, the major league energy-eaters are copiers, laser printers and fax machines. The reason: they all use a heat source that must be electrically powered to fix the image on the page.

With an MFD you need only one power supply to copy, print, fax and scan (instead of four equally voracious power supplies in separate units). That much is true of any MFD on the market but Toshiba has gone even further by introducing induction heating (IH) fusing technology on selected mid-range models.

IH fusing uses the same principle as a microwave oven rather than the conventional (and energy-demanding) halogen lamp method. IH fusing delivers faster warm-up times and substantially less energy consumption, and hence reduced electricity bills (and a greener operation!).

Image of Printer Things are slightly different in the world of colour printing. For most general business use, dedicated colour output can be restricted to in-house studios or centralized print rooms. The real challenge facing the network administrator is how to meet the growing demand from 'general business users' for more colour in their everyday documents in the most cost-effective way possible.

As more people start demanding colour output, you need a machine with the processing power, print speed and low cost per colour page to make colour viable. Inkjet printers fail on TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) - may be relatively cheap to buy but are slow, have no finishing capabilities, can't usually handle anything other than A4 and require very expensive consumables.

Colour laser printers come close but still have high running costs and limited processing power.

Market analysts have long argued that the market requires a truly 'universal' multifunctional device (MFD) with the ability to output both black and white and colour copies/prints on the same unit.

After all we create documents in colour on our PCs - PowerPoint presentations, colour-coded spreadsheets etc - but are forced to output in black and white as we have no access to an affordable colour device.

There are now several 'colour capable black and white MFDs' in the market that will allow all office users to output in colour as required with the 'look and feel' productivity and functionality of a mid/high-volume MFP.

Toshiba's own e-STUDIO281c/351c/451c are truly colour capable universal office MFDs. Next generation e-BRIDGE controller technology means you have a battery of features and functions that will enhance performance and security built right into the device.

They are not 'graphics' devices and consequently users are not expected to pay 'graphics standard' prices. The machines provide a business workgroup resource that will deliver the colour quality expected in typical business documents.

They are however authentic black-and-white MFD systems designed from the 'ground up' to be colour capable, delivering standard network capability, high productivity, high image quality, high reliability and versatile functions (the plus points of any MFD) with the additional benefit of colour as required.

The cost benefits of migrating to MFDs for print solutions are clear but many network administrators and IT managers are still reluctant to connect these devices to their network. You shouldn't be! You wouldn't dream of driving a car without a speedometer, fuel gauge or any sort of cockpit instruments! Yet in effect that's exactly the situation of hundreds of network administrators and IT managers throughout the UK trying to control costs and maintain a complex reprographics network without adequate information or tools to do just that.

There are a number of packages available that will monitor and measure print/copy usage on the network, most of them enabled by the machine's scan performance and ability to function as a network communications/distribution hub.

These packages (such as Print Audit5) will monitor physical costs of toner usage and consumption of paper. However the answer to many network administrators' problems is probably already sitting in the office, bundled for free on your existing MFD.

e-Bridge Logo Gaining visibility and control of all these elements is worthwhile, provided vast amounts of precious staff time aren't consumed in the process! And that's just what on-board features enabled by Toshiba's e-BRIDGE controller technology deliver.

Next generation e-BRIDGE controller technology means you have a battery of features and functions that will enhance performance and security built right into the device. e-BRIDGE enables the sheer capability of these devices. e-BRIDGE also allows effective solutions for IT and machine security.

e-BRIDGE also means you can extend the reach and performance of your Toshiba system by adding a variety of software and solutions packages, seamlessly and easily.

Optional wireless LAN compatibility further extends the usability of these devices, supporting IEEE802.11b (WiFi) and Bluetooth standards.

However all this power and productivity, as well as the ability to output in full colour, is manageable and under your complete control thanks to a host of e-BRIDGE enabled functions and features.

You can have total confidence incorporating these devices into your IT infrastructure - connectivity with complete control.

Network security is enhanced through private print and controlled print functions that can assign departmental codes or individual user codes to either track usage or bar access to certain features, such as colour for example.

You can if you wish establish limits to the number of colour copies/prints made by any given department or individual user. You can be assured you remain in command of your vital data thanks to a battery of security measures and features built in as standard.

Access and usage can be dictated for up to 10,000 separate users with their account being assigned via the control panel or web-based utilities such as Top Access.

Managing the balance between access and safety of data is achieved through a range of security management functions, including case-sensitive alphanumeric password selection and 10-digit admin passwords.

Even higher security is assured through HDD encryption enabled by Toshiba's data compression technology. Scrambler Board and HDD overwrite capabilities are also available as options, enabling you to secure and protect your data held on the device.

These facilities aren't the complete answer of course. Any one of the dozens of proprietary print audit and control programs will add substantially to network print management, cost control and efficiency. However making the most of the tools and facilities that you get for free when you purchase the MFD in the first place will go a long way to ensuring that you know how fast you're going and how much is left in the tank!

The enhanced network management and efficiency delivered by Toshiba MFDs simply reinforces the cost-saving aspects of migration to MFDs. No matter what your current reprographics fleet, no matter what your print requirements (black and white or colour or both), go networked multifunctional!

That simple act alone will deliver tremendous cost savings as well as improving productivity and workflow. Basing your entire networked reprographics/scanning requirements on modern MFD devices is nothing less than a licence to save money while improving network efficiency and security.

For further information please visit www.toshiba.co.uk/imaging