Streamline Expenses in Q1 with Canon’s UniFLOW-Part II

Posted On March 7, 2013 By Scott Guercio

Canon UniFlow

If reducing expenses while increasing office productivity is important to your organization, it’s definitely worth taking a deeper look at Canon uniFLOW’s features. In my last post, I gave a broad overview of the product and its core modules. This week, I’ll dive deeper into the features and benefits of each: statistics, secure printing, rules based routing, and mobile printing.

To recap, uniFLOW is designed to help manage the print, copy and scan workflow in an organization and offer improved printing productivity, cost management, document capture and device management, all from an easy to use interface. uniFLOW is particularly useful in the healthcare and legal industries. The core modules and their benefits include:

#1 – Statistics
Most organizations have more than one output device, usually including multifunctional copiers, network printers and local desktop printers. Historically, there wasn’t an easy way to quickly gather data from these devices regarding what was printed and who printed it, resulting in high overhead expenses, with no control. For our clients who bill back customers for the output they produce, this meant inaccurate billing, lots of wasted time, and lost revenue.

The Statistics module allows organizations to easily track usage across all output devices, including multifunctional copiers and network printers (even local desktop printers when using the Desktop Accounting module). uniFLOW can quickly compile custom reports, providing information on users, devices, departments, cost centers, customers, trends and most importantly, cost savings.

#2 – Secure Printing
In most organizations, the output devices, such as multifunctional copiers and network printers, are shared among at least several users. This workgroup strategy can be the most cost effective approach to device management. However, it does potentially present some challenges with user productivity and the security of the information that is printed. If there is a user running a large job, it can slow down several other users from retrieving their needed output. Also, for our clients in the medical and legal fields, regulations prevent confidential information from being easily accessible. So, jobs cannot be printed and left on a device, out in the open for someone to grab, either intentionally or accidentally.

The Secure Printing module solves these issues. When a user sends a print job, it is held on a secure server. This allows users to retrieve their jobs from any device on the network. They simply walk up to a multifunctional printer (MFP), log on, and they are presented with a list of only their jobs. The jobs can be released for printing, or even deleted if they are no longer needed, while the user stands at the device. This improves productivity by allowing users to always be able to retrieve their jobs from any available machine, and it provides a layer of security because jobs are only printed once the user authenticates at the device. It can even present a cost savings because incorrect jobs, or jobs that are no longer needed, can be deleted before being printed.

#3 – Rules Based Routing
There is a common understanding that large print jobs should be directed to cost effective MFPs, instead of being printed on expensive cartridge based desktop printers. Yet, users tend to print in whatever way is most convenient for them, including not taking the time to select double sided output. This can lead to very expensive operational costs for maintaining printers. It is also common that users print documents in full color, such as emails and web pages, which would be just as effective in black and white. This again leads to higher output expenses.

The Rules Based Routing module gives administrators the ability to create custom rules that all print jobs are measured against, to ensure the most productive and cost effective printing strategy. Rules could include the number of pages, the number of copies, b/w vs. full color, single sided vs. double sided, the file type, page size, etc. The uniFLOW server can apply whatever rules are put in place, and will notify the user of the actions taken. This module is a means to shift large jobs to the most cost effective devices, to print large jobs double sided to cut down on paper expenses, and to print non-color critical documents in black and white, among many other options.

#4 – Mobile Printing
Many organizations today have implemented, or allow, the use of mobile devices by employees to access company information, aimed at increasing user productivity. Therefore, as a result, users are demanding a means for printing from their Apple, Android and Blackberry devices.

uniFLOW provides several methods for mobile printing. However, more importantly, it treats mobile print jobs like any other network print job, allowing users to retrieve their prints from any device on the network, and even accounting for the prints by either a user or a cost center. If desired, uniFLOW can also incorporate a mobile printing workflow for guests or other non-company employees.

Canon’s uniFLOW is simply one available tool from Advance, designed to improve user productivity and to reduce expenses. If your organization is looking for a partner who will take the time to truly understand the workflow of your critical documents and information, give us a call at 410-252-4800. Our consultative approach to developing an information workflow strategy, through hardware, software and professional services, can help your business spend less money, while allowing you to spend more time on revenue generating tasks.