Local Individual Printers or Central Network Printer: Which is Better for Your Business?
Even though the business landscape has evolved to incorporate digital information exchanges through the use of what has become common technology both at the office and at home, computers and tablets are sometimes not enough.
We still often need printer capabilities, whether it is for legal compliance or internal use, so determining whether you need local individual printers or a central network printer is an important decision to keep your business operating efficiently and effectively.
Here is what you need to know to make the right business decision about your printing options.
For a simple printer set up throughout the office, each person gets their own printer that is specific to one workstation. This provides employees with consistently reliable access to a printer when needed for large or small printing jobs.
This is an efficient way to handle workflows as printed material is instantly accessible and can be quickly scanned and corrected as needed. It is, however, quite costly to maintain a local printer setup, as many printers are required, depending on the size of your office. That high bill includes the added cost of paper and ink. Plus, if a printer goes down, there is the added cost of repairs while employee efficiency drops until the printer is working again.
Working as a shared printer within a workgroup, a network printer can be installed wirelessly, or through ethernet, so that a number of employees have the same access to print documents or digital photos on one printer. This is efficient for all employees and is a great cost-saving option for the company.
A single network printer is even useful if there are multiple computer operating systems being used throughout the office.
This type of setup can cause a backlog of projects, though, if the printer is needed by various employees at the same time. As well, if there is a network problem, the entire office is left without a printer.
There are some other benefits to a network printer setup besides cost savings, however:
- With fewer printers to handle, there is less maintenance required.
- All employees have the same printer training with uniform routines.
- Print quality is generally better than local printers can offer, with more options available.
- They can be used remotely, which is a major boon in today’s work environment.
- Multiple printers with various capabilities can be set up.
- Usage and supply tracking are made easy with one network printer.
How Do You Know Which Printer Setup is Right for Your Business?
While there are benefits and drawbacks for both local printers and network printers, a combination of both is likely ideal for most business environments. It comes down to your most common printing tasks and keeping the office operating efficiently with speedy access to your printed documents for your business.
When in doubt, your IT company can certainly help get the most out of your printer setup by assessing your needs and offering advice on the ideal solution or combination of options.