Andrew Hall, marketing manager, Oki Systems UK discusses how managed print services can help construction firms future-proof their printing needs.
With the major focus on migration to digital design and BIM, there’s been little time in the industry to examine other operational issues. However despite the digital shift, the printing function remains integral to most construction workflows even today.
Many AEC industry organisations often still handle such a variety of different documents that they end up with a diverse mix of specialist and standard devices that are expensive to run, time-consuming to maintain and with a range of different contracts all with their own individual terms. Planners, architects and engineers need large and detailed drawings, plans and designs and occasionally brochures, reports and display materials. On the other hand, increasingly complex supply chains and lean processes demand fast and often on-the-spot documentation and invoices, timesheets, bills of materials and other day to day administrative documents.
Parallel to this, advances in printer technology means new devices on the market are far smarter and capable than previous models. For a start OKI’s MC800 range of multifunction printers (MFPs) are 4 in 1 devices with printer, scanner, fax and copier in one small footprint. Embedded server-based software allows users to take photos or capture documents on a smartphone or tablet onsite and then distribute to the company network or to third party applications. Hard copy project documentation such as timesheets and delivery notes can be scanned in and converted to PDFs for action or archiving.
There have also been developments in graphical arts printers. For example the C911 is ideal for producing high-level graphics for client approval in-house. It can handle sizes from A6 to SRA3 and banner lengths up to 1.3m and print on stock up to 360 gsm single-sided and 320 gsm duplex. It will also print down to a 1 point font level of detail and on a wide range of media including gloss, film, transfer and waterproof paper – and more. But one of the main benefits here is that it is the size of a normal office printer and can be used as such for day-to-day work, doing away with the need for two separate printers for office and design needs.
So what’s the best way for a busy AEC firm with little time and with minds focused on changes in design processes make sense of and still take advantage of these advances? Many have adopted a managed print services (MPS) approach to revamp their print workflow, update and consolidate printer stock, streamline contract management.
Of course, many AEC firms have invested heavily in BIM technology over the past few years and will be cautious about further capital expenditure. However an MPS arrangement offers a complete service including maintenance, support and supply of consumables for a monthly fee can prove far more affordable. A good MPS partners will also help save costs by cutting wastage, especially by replacing multiple deals and maintenance arrangements with one streamlined contract.
This will become an ongoing process and service can expand alongside the business without the need for further large capital investments.
With so many industry demands combined with mounting competition, this arrangement takes away the pressure. An MPS partner can help streamline workflow beyond the design process with relatively modest investment, leaving the architect, engineering and construction professionals to deliver their work in the best possible way.
For further details contact OKI now at http://www.okismartprinters.co.uk/contact-us.aspx.
For more information see www.oki.co.uk
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