Business Survival 101: Setting Printing Policies & Procedures

printing policies and procedures documentYes, it seems as if businesses have policies and procedures for everything these days. But as a business owner or manager, it is important to have policies and procedures in place to minimize potential issues with staff and even customers. Not only do they help protect the business, but they also set clear guidelines and expectations for staff and customers.

Think about all of the documents that are printed in your organization each day. Do any of them contain confidential information? Is proprietary information included in those printouts? Are employees permitted to print personal copies? If not, has that policy been clearly communicated in writing to them? Now you can begin to see how printing policies can be important to your business.

Why are policies and procedures for printing important?

A printing policies and procedures document will help your business control copier and printer usage, track and log usage, potentially cache images of all printed material, and prevent misuse of company equipment and potential privacy issues.

It allows you to ensure that employees adhere to the business’s point of view regarding loss and liability. Many industries have regulations regarding privacy for legal reasons that can be addressed by this document. Finally, the policy can communicate how all of this information will be tracked and any type of action that will be taken if an employee breaks the policy.

What should be included in a printing policies and procedures document?

First you need to analyze any document privacy concerns there might be in your business and industry. Are there any industry standards, government regulations or other document privacy requirements your business needs to adhere to? Outline those.

Other items that you may want to include in the document are:

  • How usage will be tracked
  • What information will be stored: cached copy of what was printed, file name, date, tome, print features used
  • What print features specific users or user groups are allowed to use (such as color copying)
  • How many copies specific users or user groups are permitted to make
  • If personal copies are permitted
  • Restrictions on where email can be sent from a multi-function printer
  • Who should be contacted if supplies are needed for a copier or printer
  • Which printers and copiers should be utilized for different print jobs
  • Who to contact should there be a service issue

Depending on your business, you may have other items regarding printing policies you will want to include, such as proper disposal of printed items, etc.

How can a business implement their printing policies and procedures?

There are a variety of solutions available for managing printing policies and procedures. A secure print feature in the print driver or running a third-party app to track and log user print activity can be enabled. All of this allows a company to know who printed what, as  well as track the data needed to comply with the policies and procedures you have laid out for your organization.

Need assistance creating and implementing printing policies and procedures for your business? If you are located in the Canton, Akron, or Toledo areas, contact us. We would be happy to assist you!

Office Solution Software That Will Improve Your Business Operations

save time and moneyOne of the great things about Sharp copiers and multi-function printers is all of the additional software and apps available to improve your business. Installing these apps using Sharp’s OSA technology allows you to customize your printer to exactly your business needs. No more one-size-fits-all copier!

From helping you manage your printing costs to improving your document workflow and keeping you compliant with regulations, there are software solutions for every size business and organization.

In this post, we are going to take a look at two office software solutions that can help any business—those that manage print and copy costs and those that manage document workflow.

Office Solution Software to Manage Print & Copy Costs

Copiers and printers are often the most used—and most abused—pieces of equipment in the office. Printing and copying costs can spiral out of control unnecessarily for businesses. Special software installed on your printer or copier can become a solution to this all-too-common office problem. The type of software that can assist your business with this is referred to as cost accounting software.

Cost accounting software can help you manage access to the printer or copier and control which users have access to different features of the equipment and limit output. It allows you to set up user groups based on access levels and assign codes or other forms of security keys to grant the right permissions to each group. For instance, in a school you may have differing levels of security and create special groups for students, teachers and administration. You would be surprised at how much money can be saved by managing access and enforcing limits on groups. And throughout this process, you will be able to track and analyze usage data for the user groups.

Office Solution Software to Manage Document Workflow

Switching to electronic document management can save your employees and staff members time, and also save your company money. It is important to have effective workflow processes in place to manage your documents. The type of software the can offer your business a solution to this is referred to as document management and workflow software.

Document management and workflow software can allow your office to communicate more effectively and adopt a digital workflow with ease. Set up predefined workflows with document management software that you can select from your multi-function printer’s touch screen, for each type of document your process. Define what file type the document should be stored as,  where it should be stored and if it needs to be emailed or faxed to someone as well. The software also provides easy, user-friendly methods for searching and retrieving documents. Forget the room full of filing cabinets; with digital document management sorting, storing and retrieving documents is a breeze!

There are numerous software solutions available for your Sharp copier or printer to assist with cost accounting, and document management and workflow. Contact us or speak with your sales representative to determine which piece(s) of software would best fit your office’s needs. Make your life easier and save your company money!

Where to Find Free Images for Your Documents

image copyrightsYou are putting together a flier for your business, and you need a great image to accompany it. Where do you turn? Maybe you are working in Microsoft and search their images, but are unable find that perfect picture. Have no fear; there are other options out there!

There is one caveat: Not all images on the web are free for the taking. Many small businesses and organizations will simply do a Google image search and pull photos to use from across the web. The issue with this is that photo could be copyright protected and you have no way of knowing that from the Google search. Getty Images has been notorious for suing businesses of all sizes for using their copyrighted images without permission.

How can a small business find quality images that are cost effective and copyright free?

1. Use a Reputable Free Stock Photo Website

There are a plethora of free stock photo websites; however, you still want to watch the small print for the photo you wish to use. Most free stock photo websites will declare the type and terms of copyright for each image on their website. You want to find photos that are free for commercial use and attribute free.

When using these images in a print document, you will also want to pay attention to the size and resolution of the image you are downloading. Web images are typically 72 dpi (dots per inch), while a photo for print use should be 300 dpi to reproduce well.

Here are a few resources to get you started:

Pixabay.com: Pixabay features free photos that have been created and uploaded by users. All photos are copyright free for personal and commercial use. They are also attribute free, and the site offers a good selection of photos for a variety of topics.

IMCreator.com/free: IM Free offers a curated selection of high-quality creative commons images, icons and templates. You will want to pay attention to whether or not the photo you want to use requires attribution. If so, underneath the photo on your project you would need to add the copyright symbol along with the photographer’s name.

SplitShire.com: Split Shire is run by a graphic designer and photographer who was frustrated by not being able to find good photographs for his projects. He decided to offer up all of his personal photography for the greater good, and his photos are amazing! All of these photos are copyright and attribution free.

2. Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons Search allows you to search multiple websites for photos and images with a Creative Commons license. Make sure you check both of the boxes before doing your search to only include those photos available for commercial use and those that can be modified. When searching for commercial-use Creative Commons photos, you will need to be more vigilant of attribution requirements.

3. Create Your Own Image

Designing your own images and altering images has never been easier for the non-designer. Two great free resources are Picmonkey and Canva. Both offer plenty of features to create images at the free level and offer additional features at a nominal price on the paid membership levels.

If you are planning to print a banner, check out our previous post with banner design tips for the non-designer.

9 Reasons Why Businesses Love Sharp Copiers

sharp multi-function printerHow do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height… OK, maybe I should stop there.

It should come as no surprise that I love Sharp copiers and printers. There are so many benefits they can bring to businesses, and there is nothing I love more than helping companies learn how to save money or improve productivity with their Sharp copier or printer.

Through the years, I have also learned why the businesses and organizations we work with love their Sharp copiers and printers. I have put together a list of the top reasons they shared with me.

Why My Customers Love Their Sharp Copiers & Printers

1. The retractable full-size keyboard that makes it so easy to enter information.
Sometimes using a regular keyboard is just easier and quicker than a touch-screen. Especially for those of us with clumsy fingers. 🙂

2. The customizable 10.1″ Hi-Def touch-screen display makes it easy to see and navigate menus.
This larger touch-screen display is easier to read and navigate than the copier screens of the past, and for that, we are thankful.

3. The SharpDesk scan software that lets me convert paper documents into editable text documents.
Administrative assistants rejoice! Gone are the days of being handed a piece of paper and having to retype the entire document to make a few simple changes. Just scan, convert and edit. Voila!

4. The Dual Scan document feeder than scans both sides of an original at once.
No more flipping and flopping documents to get a scan of both sides. Have both sides scanned in one fell swoop.

5. The functionality of editing documents on screen and deleting blank pages BEFORE sending.
You have scanned in a document to send to someone, but the document contains blank pages. Previously, you had to let go of any OCD tendencies and just send as is. No longer! Remove those aggravating blank pages before you send.

6. The new 1200 x 1200 dpi color!
Notice the exclamation point at the end of this one? Many of my customers are pretty excited over this one and so am I. Your documents have never looked this good. It allows you to economically produce professional, high-quality documents with razor-sharp images in-house.

7. The award-winning reliability of Sharp MFPs.
No business has time for the copier or printer to crash on them. Sharp multi-function printers have won numerous awards and are known for their reliability.

8. Options, options, options.
With a Sharp copier there are so many options available to businesses—from expandable memory capabilities to extra paper capacity, and professional finishers to software add-ons. The equipment can be totally customized to meet any business’s needs.

9. The innovation of cloud portal and document management integration.
Businesses and organizations are becoming more mobile by the minute. More employees are working remotely and access to smartphones and tablets is at an all-time high. Sharp’s document management options allow your employees to stay connected even when they are not in the office.

With all of those reasons, what is not to love about Sharp multi-function printers and copiers? If you are located in the Canton, North Canton, Akron, Toledo areas or elsewhere in Ohio, contact us and let us help you find the right printer or copier for your business’s needs.