Monday, January 17, 2011

Leveraging MFPs to drive process improvements

Posted by Mark Brousseau

Multi-function printers (MFPs) – devices that can print, fax, copy and scan documents – continue to experience tremendous growth, Daniel Schmidt, product marketing manager, Kofax, told attendees at Kofax Transform 2011 Americas this morning in San Diego.

Schmidt cited statistics from IDC that the MFP market grew by 18 and 22 percent last year, representing a total market of 13 million MFP devices, compared to just 800,000 document scanners.

Despite this tremendous growth, most organizations have an opportunity to further reduce their operations costs by leveraging and extending MFPs as part of their business processes, Schmidt said.

Realizing these costs savings, Schmidt said, are as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Consolidate control of MFPs.
2. Leverage MFPs for distributed scanning.
3. Integrate MFPs into a scan-to-process initiative.

At most organizations, MFPs are fax-enabled via individual telephone lines, Roman Swoboda, vice president, business communications, Kofax told attendees. In cases where a company has thousands of deployed MFPs – possibly across the globe – this means thousands of individual telephone lines.

Swoboda said this type of MFP deployment creates a number of issues, including the tremendous costs associated with the individual phone lines (a single line costs up to $500, Swoboda noted), the lack of document tracking and archival, and the limited security over who can send faxes and where.

“A better approach is to connect the MFPs to a centralized infrastructure where faxes are sent in a consolidated and very structured way,” Swoboda said. This offers a number of advantages, including improved tracking and compliance, lower costs (fewer “trunk lines”), and the ability to leverage a consolidated platform. One company that consolidated its MFP infrastructure was able to eliminate up to two-thirds of its analog lines, delivering payback in six to eight months, Swoboda said.

Another opportunity for improving MFP deployments is to extend the process to create searchable PDFs, as well as documents that can be archived. Schmidt suggested companies scan documents in remote offices and send them to a central archive. This reduces the costs of transporting documents between locations, eliminates the opportunity for lost document, improves information security, and enables the end-user to leverage all of the benefits of data capture, including bar code recognition.

To maximize their MFP deployments, organizations should integrate the devices with their business processes. Schmidt said this approach can reduce processing time from days to minutes, in turn, providing more timely information that can enhance customer service. It also lowers processing costs, including labor and shipping costs; creates an audit trail for tracking documents end-to-end and improving compliance efforts; and improves security, providing complete document control.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree that in order to improve the deployment of MFP’s it is necessary to integrate them into business processes. Nevertheless, the cloud computing development could make the integration into business processes in the cloud more difficult.

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