Centralized or Distributed Inkjet and Laser? Your Next Business Printer Buy May Surprise You

EpsonAugust 30, 2017

Although some business tasks are moving toward digital, your business still relies on hard copies for a wide range of day-to-day tasks. Businesses still print, and it’s no wonder you’re on the lookout for ways to manage the costs of printing and to make your printer workflow more efficient.

You’ve probably heard the conventional wisdom that the best printer for business is a black-and-white laser printer. These printers can be useful, but your best overall option for a reliable, affordable printer may actually turn out to be a color inkjet.

Here are several of the primary factors to consider for your next printer purchase.

The downsides of centralization

When thinking about the cost of a printer, it helps to consider not just the cost of the machine itself but also the costs of overages, toner/ink, maintenance, and lost profit due to downtime. Companies could actually end up paying more for printers that appear less expensive on paper but turn out to have higher total costs of ownership due to consumable costs, buying features they don’t need, and lost time walking back and forth to the centralized printer (and talking to people along the way).

For example, a single centralized printer can quickly build up a queue of documents waiting to be printed. This means employees have to spend time away from their desks, standing in line. Or everyone may have to wait for a broken shared printer to be serviced. And if someone forgets to pick up a sensitive document, it sits out in the open, for everyone to see.


Black-and-white or color?

Monochrome printing is useful in many cases. But what if you had the ability to use more color in the office? Studies have found that monochrome presentations can be harder to read, less comprehensible, and more difficult to remember than color presentations. While black-and-white works well for many uses, many departments such as marketing, sales, advertising, could benefit from introducing more color to satisfy their need to make a strong impression – either for internal or external uses or presentations.

Speed and affordability

Inkjet printing tends to be associated with homes and small offices – but this assumption is shifting. Business color inkjet printers are now just as fast as laser printers, and this latest generation of inkjet printers is more affordable and reliable. Inkjets are on the rise in businesses, with shipments expected to be near 60% by the year 2020 in workgroup color printers and MFP’s.*


A business inkjet printer typically has a smaller footprint than an MFD so they fit more easily into modern office environments. That means you’ll be able to place small color inkjets at convenient locations around your office, so workflow will never get hung up by a long printing queue. Inkjets also work on existing networks and with managed print services. Most include, just like laser printers, a full suite of IT admin tools will ensure your drivers stay up to date and your ink gets reordered automatically whenever it runs low.

Summing it Up

Of course, your workforce comes first, and you should always consider which color printing combinations are most suitable. Consider your hardware options, users and dynamics carefully in your next printer purchase. A balanced deployment of color printing can mitigate productivity loss and have a notable impact on your internal and outward facing communications, with a great deal of visibility and control.

Read on about optimizing your printer network and options for augmenting your centralized color multifunction devices by downloading “Manage the Business, Not The Printer” here. This paper takes a fresh look at the hidden costs of and alternatives to distributed color printing in the office, as well as tips to reduce impact and productivity loss when it comes to printing throughout your organization.

*Sources: Based on extrapolation from IDC U.S. Production Page Volume Forecast, 2016-2020 | IDC Worldwide Single Function Printer Forecast, 2016-2020 and IDC WorldWide MultiFunction Peripheral Forecast, 2016-2020 | IDC North American Large Format Printer Market Shares, 2015