B2BDirect
Print Fleet Management, Service and Supplies
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06/04/13
Beneficial Aspects of Remote Printer Monitoring
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 4:23 pm

Remote monitoring of your networked printer fleet has been possible for several years now and the software is well proven.  A good data collector will allow your print fleet consultant as well as selected associates within your company to have access to a host of valuable current and historical information about your print devices available on demand all the time.

 

But what is this valuable information and what are the benefits?  Here are a few:

 

Never run out of toner again.  The Data Collector Agent (DCA) will show you the toner level via a gas gauge for any networked printer built in this century, and many from the late 90’s.  You can monitor this yourself via the online portal and your print fleet consultant can monitor as well.  A feature of the B2B Direct managed print system is to automatically send toner reports via email that track low toner levels and in some cases either automatically send toner or confirm needs with the client prior to shipment.  Either way, you should never be caught short.

 

Reduce downtime and service costs.  The DCA will receive and compile displayed messages and errors, making it possible to troubleshoot proactively.  It will also track the status of consumable parts, such as maintenance kits and drum units so that these parts can be replaced on time.  By virtue of the DCA, many service calls can be expedited and downtime can be reduced by letting us know what parts are needed prior to arriving on site.

 

Reduce your paper usage.  We have all found that we get what we measure.  The problem is, historically companies have not been able to easily measure the number of prints made by devices in their fleets.  This is not the case with a good DCA.  Usage reports can be obtained for any period of time on any monitored devices.  You can also see how many prints were copies vs. faxes vs. printed output, and color vs. black.  This is invaluable information when implementing policies to reduce paper usage.

 

Manage your assets intelligently.  All good machines eventually need to be replaced.  By monitoring your fleet you gain the information needed to purchase the perfect device for the job at hand.  We also find that by looking at the usage of the fleet in its entirety, we save clients money by redeploying underutilized assets without the need to purchase new equipment.

 

This is a cost free business tool.  B2B Direct offers its DCA monitoring software at no charge to current customers. Contact us today to learn more.

 

 

Is it safe?  We occasionally receive concerns about loading the DCA on a client’s server.  This is an extremely safe service, takes up little space on the server and transmits data approximately the size of an email about every 30 minutes.  The data transmitted is printer specific from the fleet that you define.  The service sits safely behind your firewall and is not accessible by others. 

There are currently hundreds of thousands of printers being monitored with the software we use.  We have several pieces of documentation detailing the specifications, safety and security of the DCA on our MPS page. The .pdf documents are listed on the sidebar of the page.  There is also a live demo of a DCA site accessible from the bottom of the page.

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05/07/13
Tips to Guide You on Your Next Printer Purchase
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 5:19 pm

It is astounding how many times we enter a business and find a number of print devices that are just wrong for the job and a waste of time and money for the company.  At some point you may determine your printer is not right for you, or perhaps your printer is nearing retirement.  In any case here are some tips to help you in purchasing your next printer.

 

  1. Determine your monthly print volume.  It is very important to purchase a printer with the correct duty cycle.  You do not want to purchase a $200 desktop printer if your output is 10,000 pages per month nor do you want to purchase a $5,000 multifunction device when your volume is 500 pages per month.  Price goes up with duty cycle and there are many levels, this is the first area where buying the right size makes economic sense.  How can you determine your monthly print volume?  A professional print fleet manager can help you determine your monthly usage very accurately.

  1. Paper size rules printer size.  In the US, there are three standard sizes of printed output in the office: letter, legal and ledger.  The sizes respectively are 8-1/2×11”, 8-1/2×14”, and 11×17”.  Letter is also known as A4 and ledger as A3.  The majority of letter sized printers will also take legal.  A3 sized printers will take all three sizes.  Unless you truly need A3 sized printing, the cost of a device can be greatly reduced by purchasing letter/legal printing.

  1. Would multi-functionality make your business more efficient?  One of the beauties of modern printing is the capability to perform other functions with the same device.  These functions include scanning directly to email, scanning documents to files on your computer or network, wireless printing from mobile devices, faxing, and copying.  Having these functions dispersed around the office, eliminating the need to walk long distances to scan or copy, has added a great deal of efficiency to a lot of companies with only a minimal cost increase.

  1. Color.  Print devices are available for all duty cycles and functionalities in either a monochrome or a color version.  The additional cost for the equipment in color is really not significant these days.  Color printing does cost more to operate however.  As a rule of thumb, each color page costs 5-10 times more than a black page.  Unless color is an integral part of your business printing, costs can be kept lower using a mixture of high speed monochrome printers and carefully placed color devices.

  1. Duplexing.  Du-what?  Duplexing is the ability to print on both sides of the page automatically.  This feature is an add-on available for most printer models for only a nominal charge.  The advantage of duplexing is the potential to cut paper usage, theoretically in half.

  1. Networking.  Recommendation: always buy a networkable printer.  This will give you the capability of making your new device usable by more than one user, even if that is not the intention initially.  It also makes it possible for your print fleet professional to monitor the performance of your device for you.  Nearly all laser printers are networkable anyway, but make sure.

  1. What about refurbished printers?  Refurbished printers can be a viable option in many cases.  But be careful.  There are plenty of used printers available online at very low prices.  In most cases, these are truly used, back from leases or purchased on the aftermarket.  You do not know their history and oftentimes there has been little or no refurbishing.  And typically the warranties are minimal.  Reputable companies are truly refurbishing the machines, replacing most of the critical parts, reloading software, re-treating the inside and outside plastic, fully testing, packaging the devices to look like new, and offering a substantial warranty.  Because of all the cost put into the process, our recommendation is to look at refurbished for higher speed devices.  There are two primary advantages of considering a refurbished print device.  The first is to maintain the same model that you may be replacing.  You can get a refurbished version of a discontinued printer model in order to fit in with the rest of your fleet and avoid changing out the drivers.  The second reason is cost.  Refurbished devices sell at a substantial discount from the current new model.  Talk to your printer professional about this option.

  1. Laser vs. inkjet.  For most office uses, laser is superior.  Inkjet printers are built for inexpensive entry into owning equipment, but this is quickly overcome with the high cost of ink cartridges.  Inexpensive inkjet machines are slow and made for very low duty cycles typical for home use or photo printing.  We sometimes find them in offices as individual desktop printers.  In almost all cases it would be better to purchase a laser printer of the desktop variety instead, or look at a workgroup print device for a number of inkjet users.  One caveat:  there are now some high end inkjet printers that can compete with and even beat color laser on cost and speed. 

As we have stated throughout this article, let your print fleet professional advise you on the various options you have when choosing a device.  You may be pleasantly surprised by your increase in efficiency.

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04/09/13
Managed Print Services: Reduce Inventory Exposure
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 2:55 pm

Most companies have a company stock room with plenty of toner cartridges including several for printers no longer in service.  We recently visited a potential client in a small business.  On our initial walk through we found over ten thousand dollars in toner inventory, some of it more than two years old and some of it obsolete.  I would like to say this case is unusual but it is not.  We often find potential clients who are carrying thousands of dollars of printer supply inventory and taking the risk that some of it will become obsolete. 

 

Conversely, we also find potential clients who run short only to scramble and even pay expensive overnight charges when toner runs out.  Have you ever found yourself in a situation where the printer has shut down due to low toner and you cannot find a cartridge?  If so you are not alone.

 

Managed Print Services solves both of these dilemmas.  By managing your inventory for you, we as your partner make sure you never run out.  Under a managed print agreement, we take ownership of the inventory, the client never has an investment and we take the risk.  And you can put your money back to work doing what you do best: running your business.

This is just one of the many advantages of Managed Print Services.  Visit our MPS web page or Contact Us for more information about how MPS can save your company money and, more importantly, time.

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03/12/13
Why would you want to use managed print services?
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 3:54 pm

Well, for several reasons, but here are just four of the better ones:

 

1.     Managed print services save your company time and money. Yes, this is a fact. A good managed print services program will remotely monitor your printer fleet so you don’t have to. When ink or toner is low, a message is automatically sent to your provider. Automatic fulfillment is an option with many plans. And monitoring, supplies, and repair service on the equipment can all be included for one low monthly price.

2.     Higher employee efficiency, especially within IT. The IT Department already has enough to worry about and printer breakdowns are inconvenient, inopportune and take away from IT’s mission. In most cases, managed print programs are able to relieve IT of this responsibility for about the same price as the company is already paying to operate their printer fleet. Taking one more thing off their list will only make the department more efficient.

3.     No more printer crises. Companies with managed print services can’t even remember the last time a printer ran out of ink or toner right before a deadline. The monitoring service always makes sure your printer has ink or toner BEFORE you run out.

4.     Zero waste. When you use managed print services through B2B Direct, 100% of the managed print services printer cartridges are returned and fully reused and recycled leaving zero waste. And let’s face it, less waste is better.

 

Managed print services is the way of the future for companies and their printing needs. So get involved by contacting B2B Direct and start the newest and easiest way to print yet. We will craft a custom program that fits the needs of your company. Proposals, as always, are free. 

 

 

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02/12/13
Welcome to the B2B Direct Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: Alex @ 1:58 pm

Welcome to the new B2B Direct Blog, an open forum for all things printers and managed print services. In this space, we will be talking about products and services that B2B Direct, founded in 1981, is offering. We are continually looking for products that make your office green and we have created this space to further enhance and engage our clientele.

This space will also be used as a platform for clientele to engage us back. Post comments and questions if you so desire. Feedback is always welcome and encouraged. Please let us know if you would like to write your own post, as this space is not limited to those affiliated directly with B2B Direct.

Check back to this space often for new updates and services from B2B Direct, as well as customer testimonials, all-things-printers, tips, and commentary from fellow clients. We hope you enjoy this blog as it was created to teach the world about B2B Direct, and have the world teach us back.

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