Around the time when people were singing Bad with Michael Jackson and the ladies were swooning over Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, I started as a copier repair technician with Copeco. My how fast 25 years – and its swiftly changing technology – can go!
Office Equipment Maintenance ‘Back in the Day’
The way we handle the servicing of copiers and printers today looks almost nothing like it did a quarter century ago. When I started in 1987, I often was asked to repair typewriters. Copiers made copies and printers weren’t even part of the equation. Some copiers could staple, enlarge and sort documents, if you had a top-of-the-line machine. Email didn’t exist, so if you wanted to send a document, it was snail mail or fax.
In the late 1980s, there were no pagers, no cell phones and no desk-top computers. Service calls were taken by our dispatchers and written on call tickets. Every morning, I and my fellow techs got our tickets. When we completed our work, we filled them out and called a dispatcher from – drum roll, please! – a payphone. Yea, we spent a lot of time using payphones. We relied on them. So, as you can imagine, communication was difficult. The worst scenario was finishing a call 50 miles from our North Canton office and driving back, only to have another request from the same area pop up while I was in transit.
Enter the simple digital pager. That device sure saved us a lot of time! Emergencies were easier to handle, and dispatchers could reach us (at least with a phone number) no matter where we were.
The next big improvement in communication with copier and printer repairs was the cell phone. When they initially came out, they were very expensive and rather large. (Remember those bag phones?) So, until the cost of cell phone technology decreased, we still used our pagers. But once we were able to use them, cell phones were an amazing leap forward in communication, and we haven’t look back since.
Copier and Printer Repairs à la 2012
Today printer and copier technicians are just as advanced as the equipment we fix. We carry laptops with aircards and get service calls in “real time.” From virtually anywhere, we can remotely login to our network and view a machine’s service history, our parts inventory, service manuals, tech support and much more. We can communicate with each other instantaneously and look up available parts throughout our territory, saving time, money and mileage.
People have asked me if I now get more done, thanks to all this wonderful technology. Yes and no. Although information is much faster and more accessible, the problems we encounter in the field are far more complicated than they were 25 years ago.
In 1987 my biggest problems were paper jams and fax phone lines. Now we have to look at why a multi-function printer jams only when it’s printing from a specific program or why a scan-to-PDF for emailing isn’t functioning. In essence, modern repair techs are your first line of IT support. We have to understand software and networks, as well as copier hardware, which is one reason I believe it’s so important to use techs who are certified specialists in the equipment they maintain.
It’s hard to say what the future holds for all-in-one printers, but I am pretty certain we’ll see more open systems architecture and cloud-based applications. Also, I believe IT specialists will write even more software for specific jobs and functions within a company. Perhaps in another 25 years, someone else from Copeco will write another blog post about changes between 2012 and 2037.
In the mean time, if you have a business or organization located in Canton, Akron, Toledo or elsewhere in Ohio and need copier/printer service, contact us. You can be certain one of our highly trained service techs will get the call right away!
Image credit: benkrut / 123RF Stock Photo