While multi-function printers (MFP) are a desirable all-in-one package, there are a number of things you should consider when figuring out if a MFP is the best fit for document scanning in your office. Below is a list of 10 key factors to consider.
- Efficiency: Desktop scanners are more practical if many people in one location need to scan, documents are scanned in batches and off-sized documents need to be converted. MFPs require people to leave their desks to scan documents, only to find the document didn’t scan properly necessitating a trip back to the MFP to rescan—all of which reduces overall efficiency. Additionally, accessibility is more limited with a MFP vs. a desktop scanner.
- Accuracy of Data Capture: Desktop scanners with full-function index automation software allow users to scan and capture data in a uniform and accurate manner. MFPs are more apt to have limited index automation capabilities and settings can easily be changed among users, possibly resulting in incorrect data capture.
- Image Quality: Documents scanned with a desktop scanner using full-featured document scanning software with automated image enhancement such as auto cropping, de-skew, auto orientation, and blank page deletion provide a cleaner digital image than documents scanned with a typical MFP.
- Electronic Storage Costs: MFPs generally save files in PDF format. A desktop document scanner saves files in both PDF and TIFF format, which are smaller than PDFs and ultimately saves you money in electronic storage space.
- Paper Size: Uncommon paper sizes and thick stock can be challenging for an MFP to handle. This means paper jams are more likely and may force rescans of an entire document, even if it is the last page of a 50-page document that jammed.
- Legality: A scanned image must be previewed for accuracy and completeness in order to be legally acceptable. This is accomplished quickly and easily with desktop document scanners but more difficult with a MFP.
- Space: MFPs are physically larger, requiring more space than desktop scanners, many of which are less than a foot wide.
- Ease of Use & Set-Up: Desktop scanners can easily be configured for specific scanning requirements and are easy to use with dedicated settings. MFP settings are often changed depending upon the user, resulting in incorrect settings for the next person who uses the MFP to scan a document.
- Document Management Capability: Once documents are scanned, you will want to store them securely, retrieve them quickly and share them easily. Uploading digital images to cloud-based document management software or an in-house document management repository directly from a desktop scanner is easy and quick. This is better than just scanning to an unsecure folder on the network that remote users cannot access, or scanning to your personal email, which no one else can access. Additionally, software that comes with MFPs is complex and not user friendly.
- Cost: Desktop document scanners are inexpensive, supported with extended warranties and provide a cost-effective way to expedite scanning documents throughout an organization.
MFPs bring to mind the old adage, “jack of all trades and master of none.” Document scanners by comparison represent the optimum way for scanning any type, condition or volume of documents. Once scanned into document management software, these documents are made instantly accessible throughout any organization, in the highest quality, most cost-effective and efficient manner possible.