There’s an old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” When it comes to printers, this is a rule to live by.
It seems like choosing the right device shouldn’t be too difficult — but then you see the vast array of choices, price points, and features. Do you really know which security features are best for you or the different organizing capabilities on an office printer? Can you figure out which paper specs, maintenance costs, or print speed would work best for your business?
Rather than wade through the machine details and reviews on your own, you turn to a vendor to help present the best options. But even when it comes to vendors, not all vendors have the same depth of knowledge — and that means that they don’t know what they don’t know.
This holds especially true if you need a specialty machine because not all print vendors really know that part of the industry.
If your company is in the architecture, engineering, or construction (AEC) space then there’s a good chance that you’ve run into the question of using a print vendor that specializes in selling wide format printers (WFPs) or plotters. Here is a quick guide to help you consider what kind of vendor(s) would help you set up the right print environment.
Do You Have To Choose Between Multi-Purpose and Specialty Advice?
One thing I’ve seen quite a bit over the last few years is AEC companies using two vendors to accomplish their print needs.
Is that really necessary? Could two companies be better than one?
I’ve seen companies use one vendor to source their traditional printers and multi-function printers (MFPs). Then they work with a specialty company to take care of their wide format needs (or AEC printers).
Because, while “copier” companies and MFP manufacturers may offer wide format solutions, they typically have a very limited product offering and lack in-depth knowledge surrounding those solutions. This leaves clients stuck with the choice between the lesser of two evils: living with a mediocre print partner or adding a specialty vendor to the party.
But the truth is: nobody wants to deal with a second company. It means working with a duality of contracts, invoices, and service numbers. However, the other option is often dealing with a vendor who is well-versed in standard office workhorse printers and MFPs, but isn’t a qualified reseller and service provider for wide format machines.
What if there was a better way, one that let you have your cake and eat it too? There are some vendors who have the clout and resources to handle both provider roles with the same level of expertise.
6 Things AEC Companies Need From a Printer Vendor Partner
What would an ideal partner look like that could manage both aspects of your print needs as a complete package? Here are six necessary capabilities a well-rounded partner should offer.
- Flexibility: If the last few years have shown us anything, it’s that it’s getting harder and harder to predict what’s on tap for the future. Whether things stay the same or your needs change, it makes sense to partner with someone who can be flexible without holding you hostage to a rigid lease with an expensive buyout.
- Security: Your old printer still works? Great! What might not be so great is the security holes that can come from an outdated controller in your printer. An outdated controller that no longer has security updates can be a severe vulnerability to your network.
- Consistency: Can you trust your vendors to be on the ball and provide results quickly? Since downtime can be costly, you need a team that has your back every step of the way. Everything from the quality of advice to the level of service your partner provides should remain a reliable constant that inspires nothing but confidence.
- Innovation: Have you looked at upgrading your 5-year-old printer only to find the model you have is still the most current model? It’s happening more than you think within certain brands that aren’t leading innovation. While you may have been loyal to a certain brand for generations, your vendor should be well-versed in other options and help you get the best fit for your needs.
- Cost-Consciousness: Do you know what each print costs, and can you forecast your expenses accurately? Your vendor should help you manage expenses with the most modern features for managing print and producing quality outcomes. Many organizations rely on the two-unit approach of a “workhorse” black-and-white printer and an expensive color printer. New technologies can now print color at the same cost as black-and-white without making sacrifices to speed or quality.
- Availability: You don’t have time to deal with multiple phone numbers and orchestrate your printer maintenance schedule. Lift the burden from your IT employees and finance department by simplifying your printer vendor partnership down to one accessible party. Wouldn’t it be nice if your print vendor felt like an extension of your team? Find a company that is readily available with great customer service to field any questions or concerns your team might have along the way.
What Is a Brand Agnostic Printer Vendor?
A brand-agnostic print vendor is a partner in the printing industry that doesn't limit its services or expertise to a single brand or manufacturer. Instead of being tied to promoting a specific brand's products, these vendors offer a wide array of printers and equipment from various manufacturers.
For an AEC business, this approach is invaluable.
A brand-agnostic vendor focuses on understanding the unique needs of your business, your budget constraints, and the specific demands of your projects. They aren't restricted by brand alliances, allowing them to recommend and provide the most suitable printers for both regular office tasks and wide-format printing. This freedom ensures that you receive unbiased advice tailored precisely to your requirements and workflows.
Moreover, a brand-agnostic print vendor offers versatility.
AEC businesses often have diverse printing needs, ranging from intricate blueprints to standard office documents. With a vendor not bound to a single brand, you have access to a wide range of cutting-edge technologies and features. This flexibility means you can rely on one trusted partner for all your printing requirements, streamlining procurement processes, enhancing workflow efficiency, and saving valuable resources for your business.
UBEO: The Best of Both Worlds
Can you do it all with one partner and no compromises? UBEO Business Services has the resources to provide you with tailored solutions and knowledgeable insights for a robust print environment that includes your MFPs and WFPs.
We begin each partnership with a Business Technology Assessment (BTA) to get an in-depth understanding of your current situation, workflow, and output. This helps us understand your areas of opportunity for growth. We rely on expertise from both our wide-format and small-format teams to match you with a brand-agnostic solution that best fits your unique needs.
Finally, we wrap it all together with our flexible U-Manage rental agreement for a convenient solution that gives you the ongoing support you need to stay on top of your game. All your small and wide format solutions can be bundled into a single agreement for simplified billing and maintenance.
Ready to push the easy button? Let us help make your in-house printer solutions more cohesive and streamlined! Connect with our team to find out how UBEO can become your one-stop printer shop.