Picture this: It’s a busy day at the law firm you work at, everyone’s rushing around trying to get work done, while you’re standing at the printer, waiting for your court transcripts to finish printing.
Suddenly- the printer goes down, and a warning sign flashes on the screen. All those documents you needed to be printed are gone, as well the contracts, manuals, NDAs, and other papers that your coworkers needed to print too. The whole office essentially comes to a halt, and no one really knows what to do.
Now for some organizations, this could be just a minor inconvenience. But for others, this can really affect the workplace and make it incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to get work done. Luckily, there’s a pretty easy solution for a problem like this: a backup printer.
We’ve been a print vendor and managed print services provider for a long time, and we’ve heard countless frantic phone calls, asking for their machine to be serviced as soon as possible. And while we do our absolute best to accommodate everyone, sometimes we might need to order specific parts for repair, or we might not have a service opening as quickly as you need it.
If going without printing for a couple of days sounds impossible for your organization, then you’re an excellent candidate for a backup printer. Keep reading for some more insight on what exactly that means, and how it can benefit your organization in more ways than one.
What is a “Backup” Printer?
A backup printer is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Backup printers are a second unit that can be used in the case of an emergency, like if your printer breaks over the weekend and you still need to get an important print job completed.
Why Do I Need One?
Backup printers can come in handy in a variety of different ways.
The first one is, of course, if your main unit breaks and you’re left without any way to print important documents. The severity of this situation depends on what type of atmosphere you’re in, and how crucial (or confidential) the documents that you’re printing are.
You can also use a backup printer if your main device is busy running a big print job, and you just need to make a few copies or do a quick print.
We’ve all heard about Murphy’s Law: if something can go wrong, it will. Especially if your organization relies heavily on your printing technology, then it’s almost guaranteed to break at some point. The difference in how the situation will affect you depends on how you prepare for it, and having a backup printer is an excellent way to keep your organization running smoothly without interruption.
How Do I Get a Backup Printer?
The good news is that getting a backup printer is an identical process to getting a main unit. First, you’ll assess your monthly print volume, so you can know what kind of machine you’ll need.
If your monthly print volume is on the lower end, then it’s likely you’ll be fine with a desktop printer like the Xerox VersaLink C405. If it’s on the higher end, then you might want to consider A3 options like the Xerox AltaLink C8130. There are endless options out there and finding the right printer for your organization is easier than you might think.
If you have a lower monthly print volume, then your backup printer can be an even smaller model, since ideally you won’t be using it to print as much as your main unit.
It’s also recommended that you have both printers come from the same manufacturer, and the same product family, so that when you have to use your backup, the user interface usually has the same look and feel to it, with the same-like apps, therefore making the switch almost seamless.
This will reduce any learning curve, especially if you’re in a crunch. An additional bonus of both printers being in the same product family is there’s a better chance that you can use the same supplies for both.
What Kind of Industries Should Have a Backup Printer?
If your workplace cannot afford to have your printer down or out of service, then it’s recommended that you get a backup printer. For example, in a doctor’s office, or a hospital, where there are always things to be printed that are critical to the job 24/7, they know and have backup print arrangements already in place because they can’t afford to be without a printing device. Seeing how this is a best practice in this industry may help you decide that it’s the best practice for you to follow.
Schools are another environment that really should consider the importance of having a backup printer, since teachers are always printing things like lesson plans, assignments, worksheets, tests, permission slips, etc.
Really, any organization can benefit from having a backup option for printing.
What Kind of Industries Could Probably Go Without a Backup Printer?
Not everyone needs a backup printer, especially if you’re not printing critical documents every day, and are flexible enough to be able to wait for service if your machine goes down or if you run out of supplies.
If you don’t need to be constantly printing important documents and can afford to wait a day or two to get your machine serviced or pick up supplies, then you could also choose to outsource your printing until your printer is up and running again. Outsourcing your print jobs might be more expensive, but it will save you in a pinch.
Unfortunately, this isn’t really an option for organizations that need to constantly be printing in-house, or have confidential documents that they’re printing, so that’s when a backup printer is a must.
Is a Backup Printer Right for You?
Now that you know the benefits of having a backup printer, you can take a look at your organization and your printing habits. Would your job processes be negatively affected if your current printer went down? Would it stop your employees or colleagues from performing their duties? Would there be a loss of revenue for your company if your printer was out of service?
If the answer is yes, then looking into a backup printer will likely save you a lot of trouble down the road. And the good news is, it’s not very hard either! You can reach out to whomever you get your current printing technology from, whether it’s a local print vendor or a manufacturer directly. They’ll be able to assist you throughout the process of acquiring a backup printer, just like they did for your main unit.
If you’d like to read more about servicing printers, how to get them up and running again, and what to do if you DON'T have a backup printer, read our article Servicing Your Own Machine? Three Reasons Why It’s a Bad Idea, and Benefits of Investing in a Maintenance Plan for Your Multifunction Printer.