Buying the perfect office printer fleet can set your business up for success. Even though it’s a costly investment, it gives your team the tools they need to excel.

But buying printers isn’t something you do once. You need to upgrade and replace your printer fleet to keep up with printer technology. Newer models tend to be more efficient. They produce higher quality output at lower costs. Plus, they tend to be simpler to connect with various types of software and offer better security.

But how do you know if it’s time to upgrade your fleet?

1. You’re missing features – and your team is suffering because of it

When did you last refresh your office print fleet? If it’s been a while, your fleet may not be up to the task of keeping up with a modern workplace. It may be time to consider some new features. These features can help streamline your workflows and keep important data more secure. Let’s take a look at three key upgrades.

  • Wireless printing. Network connected printing lets you connect the same printer to different computers. This reduces office costs by pooling resources. 
  • USB port printing. Sending your files to the printer wirelessly doesn’t always make sense – especially if you’re printing secure files. In those cases, printing directly from a USB stick can keep your data safe. 
  • All-in-one solutions. Do you need to fax sensitive data, scan documents or make copies? Getting an all-in-one solution can make life easier for everyone. 

Does it sound like any of these features can improve business efficiency? If the answer is yes – and you aren’t using them yet – it may be time for an upgrade.

2. Your business needs have changed

Business needs change over time. Maybe you need printers that can print on more than just paper. Or you need higher-resolution prints. Or you want your team to take full advantage of digital workflow and automation advances – but your current fleet can’t handle that. If your office print fleet is standing in the way of business growth, it’s time to re-evaluate its usefulness.

3. Operational costs are too high

Spending money when your current printer fleet is already costing your business too much to run, can be counter-intuitive. However, when it comes to printing, sometimes you do need to spend to save.

Printers have become more efficient in recent years. They continue to become more cost-effective as technology advances. These changes affect you – especially if you print a lot. Ink is the single most expensive consumable when it comes to maintaining a printer fleet with prices ranging from $13 per ounce on the low end to $95 at the top of the scale. That’s over $10,000 per gallon.

Using older printers means you’ll pay more. However, switching to more efficient printers can cut costs. Your cartridges will last longer, reducing the price per print over time.

3. Your printing fleet is too slow

Is your current print fleet getting sluggish? If you’ve started to notice your colleagues crowding around the printer, waiting for a job to be completed, it might be time for an upgrade.

Printing needs are directly linked to the needs of the business. As your business grows, your printing needs typically grow too. Your printers may well have been up to the task when you originally bought and installed them. But if they’re becoming a constant bottleneck in your office’s workflow, it may be time to do some research and examine your options.

Before you replace your fleet, consider doing an audit of your printing practices to see if there are other inefficiencies you can eliminate. Certain managed print services can help you with this (us included). Speaking to an MPS provider is also a great way to learn about the new printing tech available these days.

4. Your maintenance costs are rising

All printers need to be looked after. As parts wear out, you’ll need to replace them. That’s just par for the course. However, these repairs can get more expensive over time if the original equipment manufacturers have discontinued your model or more expensive parts have begun to fail – like the print heads or feed tray motors.

Then there’s the lifetime volume of your device to consider. This works like your car’s odometer. Once your printers cross a certain threshold of lifetime prints – a number determined by the manufacturer – it may be better to replace rather than repair your units because they’re getting close to the end of their usefulness.

Or maybe you (and your team) are just growing tired of maintaining your printer fleet. While maintenance and careful use are recommended – and will prolong the service life of your devices – a printer is at its working best when it’s brand new out of the box. During the first few years in a printer’s service life, you can rely on it to perform without needing replacement parts or service.

This is a pretty attractive proposition if your team spends more time covered in toner trying to troubleshoot the latest problem from an ageing fleet, than getting on with crucial work. (Especially when that problem is no longer covered by the warranty.)

Beyond upgrading your fleet

If any of our suggestions have got you thinking about your current printer fleet in a less than favorable way, it may be time to upgrade your hardware. However, upgrading your fleet isn’t your only option.

Printer technology isn’t going to stop evolving. Neither are your needs. That’s why – instead of making major up-front investments or getting stuck in long leases – many businesses are choosing to outsource the cost and maintenance of acquiring new printers to a managed print service. An MPS can help you assess your business needs and pair you up with the right printing technology. This can cut costs and improve efficiency while taking the burden of print management off your plate.