Easy Breezy Budget Office Equipment

Posted by on Oct 11, 2017 in General |

IT IS EASY to get caught up in the latest and greatest furniture and equipment for your office—you want it to look fabulous and make a statement about your success. But don’t lose sight of your budget. Your cash flow could wind up looking like the national debt.

Don’t despair! It really is a breeze to make good decisions about purchasing equipment, franking machine supplies from nslmailing.co.uk and furniture, have a nice-looking office, and make your business run smoothly and efficiently.

If you have decided that you want to provide your staff with computers, don’t just go out and buy the cheapest models on sale or a mixed batch you find at an auction. Instead, I consider standardizing computers, and find a company that will service them, then make sure they are adequate so that employees can work on them quickly and efficiently.

Looks, appearance, and brand names would not figure high on my list of priorities, nor necessarily would the initial purchase price. Instead, I would think of the total cost of the computers, including service and downtime. How much does it cost if an employee’s computer is down? Ideally, in addition to getting quality computers and a solid service plan, I would have a back-up computer available for use.

Do the Chairs Really Matter?

You are projecting an image with the type of furniture that you choose to outfit your office with. Buying it used can certainly help offset costs, and comes as a recommendation for keeping budgets in check, but make sure that it is in tip-top shape. New or used, your furniture should be professional in appearance. Try for a coordinated look and a simple color scheme carried throughout your office. Good, simple, tasteful design is paramount if you intend to have clients visit your office on a regular basis.

Look for furniture that is comfortable and suitable for at least eight hours a day. Make sure your desks and chairs are ergonomically designed to minimize physical stress. Having heavy computer users develop wrist and hand problems is a risk I would work to avoid.

So yes, choosing comfortable and physically healthy chairs for your employees does make a difference!

Should We Have Our Own Email System?

Even many very tiny businesses have their own proprietary email system—their computer consultant assures them it will be extremely reliable. Well, I have been in too many situations when our proprietary email system has crashed and it has taken a full day or longer to get it back up again. You don’t need to bother with your own email system. I suggest you just find a name that is the same as your business at one of the big, free commercial email hubs. If your business name isn’t available, just find something that sounds professional.

No, don’t get your own email system!

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6 Reasons Product Development Is Good For Your Company

Posted by on Sep 22, 2017 in General |

What drives established UK based product engineers to spend valuable resources (time, money, human capital, etc.) on new product development. Here are six reasons to invest in new product development.

Competitive Advantage:

Staying ahead of the competition should always be front of mind for existing companies.  New products give you a competitive advantage over your competition.  It might be new sales, more shelf space, consumer impressions or other advantages. If you are the market leader, you want to keep your competitive advantage, if you are not the market leader – you need a competitive advantage. New products allow you to focus on taking a competitive leadership position. There’s leadership position in the nut category is clear and their continued focus on new products keeps them in front.  Their new dessert inspired mixes are definitely look mouth-watering.

Innovation Story:

Speaking of competitive leadership, there is the credibility that comes with being the category innovator.  Innovative companies are thought of as creative and ground-breaking bringing more excitement to their brand and solving consumer problems. Being first is always better than needing to flatter your competition by replicating something they did first and you wish you had thought of earlier.

Ancillary Sales:

Every brand wants more sales and new products help. New items might not be your number one SKU driving the most sales, but they drive new sales to your brand or category and they provide a continued look at existing products consumers may have forgotten about keeping your brand front of mind. I’m sure watermelon flavored Oreo’s are not their best seller, but each new offering generates loads of consumer media attention and new purchases.

Reason to See Your Buyer & Engage Your Consumer:
Depending on your category you might see your buyer one to four times a year…maybe monthly if you’re lucky. During those meetings you probably discuss general category data including pricing, promotions and performance, but what about products.  Same story different day doesn’t create a lot of reason for the buyer to schedule an extra meeting with you or give you more business.  New products on the other hand generate new discussion and new opportunities.

Test Consumer Trends

Consumers are constantly evolving which means their tastes and preferences change with them. In recent years we’ve see probiotic foods, gluten free, and paleo emerge as just some of the important consumer food trends. Your ability to maintain an active focus on innovation and stay current on trends allows you to be ahead of the curve with emerging consumer trends and test new concepts in early stages of trends and refine them as the trend becomes mainstream. This test and refine concept allows you to see what concepts have potential and which were fleeting while still maintaining a competitive advantage. 

Explore Technology

Just like consumer trends drive new products, advances in technology drive new opportunities in various food products as well, typically in the area of food packaging. Food packaging and processing advances have opened up entirely new product opportunities. Your innovation, production and marketing team should constantly be exploring new technology that will aid in new product development.

New product development doesn’t have to be costly, but it must be a priority. Just like we talked about the power of building a marketing-minded culture, it’s equally important to include innovation as part of that ideal to foster continued organizational growth.

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Business Printers: Which One Is For You?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 in General |

The type of printer you’d pick up at an office supply store like Blackbox Solutions is going to cut it for business use, at least in most cases. Even small offices usually need far more sophisticated machines for efficiency and productivity. Most businesses opt for networked printers that can be shared by multiple users, rather than individual printers for each desk. These machines save resources and tend to last much longer than out-of-the-box varieties. They also offer faster printing speeds, better handling and advanced finishing options. Most are also capable of copying, scanning, emailing and faxing. Networked business printers are available in hundreds of models and in varying types, all with different features and capabilities, which can make the buying process daunting. They can be wired or wireless; laser, LED, inkjet or solid-ink; and monochrome or color. Some are compatible with mobile printing, while others are not. You’ll also find wide variations in cost.

Types of Business Printers

Laser/LED Laser and LED printers, which are very similar, are by far the most popular in offices.  Using a light source, they project an image onto a rotating drum, which then transfers toner to the paper. These are reliable and fast, and they produce high-quality text. The memory and hard-drive capabilities are ideal for networking. Ongoing costs are reasonable because toner is relatively inexpensive compared with other methods of printing. On the downside, laser and LED printers are expensive upfront. They’re also not ideal for photo printing.

Inkjet printers are more common for personal use and home offices, although they can be suitable for some small business uses. These work by squirting liquid ink through a pinhead. Inkjet printers are less expensive up front and the photo quality is high, so they are great for brochures, fliers and documents that contain graphics. They can print on many types of media. Although it is possible to find an office-quality inkjet printer with networking capabilities, these are less common. This is primarily due to the high ongoing costs of replacing ink, which is not practical for high-volume printing. These printers are also much slower.

Additional Printer Types

Less common printer types include:

  • Solid-ink printers, which melt blocks of colored wax onto paper. These tend to be comparable to laser printers in black-and-white print quality, reliability and ongoing costs, but they are superior for color printing. They’re also smaller and more compact. However, solid-ink printers are prone to smudging. And because they’re less common, there are far fewer models from which to choose.
  • Snapshot printers thatonly print images. The photo quality is much higher than with other types of printers. These are more common for home use, but they can also have business applications.
  • Dye-sublimation printers, which come very close to photograph quality by using heat-transferred dye. Typically, these printers are reserved for businesses such as graphic design firms, which must have superior image quality. Costs per page are extremely high —often $2 or more.
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Photocopier Or Multifunctional Printer?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 in General |

The modern office, despite best efforts to remain eco-friendly, sees each worker copying or printing in excess of 10,000 pages a year on average. With these rigorous demands still such a prominent part of office life, it’s difficult to know which machine would be best for your workplace ­– the traditional photocopier, or its multi-talented cousin, the multifunctional printer (MFP) from Blackbox Solutions. If we use the average office as a benchmark… which one do you really need?

Photocopier…

A photocopier makes copies of documents without necessarily being connected to a computer – simply insert your sheets and receive instant copies. Today’s photocopiers from Blackbox Solutions are far more functional than their predecessors, and many include features of multifunctional printers, such as support for different paper sizes. They are quick and simple to use, and can be more robust than their multifunctional counterparts. The largest copiers need their own sizeable dedicated spaces in order to reduce misfeeds and jams, but in return can offer a level of quality that could, in the case of the most costly machines, rival that of a professional printing press. Traditionally, the small machines are cheaper than multifunctional printers, but offer less economical benefits overall, so you may be spending more in the long run. While the photocopier certainly does one thing very well… it does just that: one thing. It may not quite meet the needs of a particularly busy office.

… or multifunctional printer?

A multifunctional printer acts as not just a photocopier, but has printing, scanning, email and fax capabilities rolled into just one machine. As an all-in-one solution, these devices can offer large cost savings to businesses that print and copy lots of items. As organisations spend up to 3% of their annual revenues on printing, when managed properly through a complete MPS solution, these printers can make a real difference to your business’ overheads. Outright monetary savings are supplemented with time savings: one machine is a lot less time consuming than 3 or 4, and they save room in a smaller office too.

However, MFPs often offer quite a low scanning resolution, so specific models should be examined carefully by those with high-resolution scanning needs.

While ‘jack of all trades, not quite master of any’ is an unfair brush to tar multifunctional printers with, depending on your specific performance requirements, a modern multifunctional printer could be exactly what you need… or a little lacking.

To know which device would most suit your business, it is important to make a variety of considerations. How many people are using your machine, how many at the same time, and for what purposes? How much space do you have, and what is your budget? For those offices seeking a highly economical ‘little bit of everything’, a multifunctional printer might just be the way to go.

 

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Why You Should Look Into Stand Alone Photocopiers

Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 in General |

Many businesses still prefer to have a high volume stand-alone photocopier in the office, even if it is used alongside a multifunction printing device. And when you look at the benefits of this type of photocopier for office use it’s easy to see why. Combined scanners, printers, copiers and fax machines certainly have their place, but if you need a large amount of copying done very quickly, a stand-alone copier from Blackbox Solutions will save you time, money and the hassle of outsourcing copy jobs.

A good quality office photocopier is an invaluable investment, and with the right servicing, one that will last for many years.

  • Fast copy speed. A stand-alone office copier will have a much higher ppm (pages per minute) rating than a multifunction photocopier, with high end models reaching over 90ppm. Think how much time this could save employees.
  • Low printing cost per page. The photocopy machine may be expensive in the first place, but per page, the cost of copying is very low, especially when you consider how much an external printing firm would charge for the same job.
  • Durable. This type of office copier is designed to withstand very heavy use, making it the best choice for businesses that need daily copying.
  • Document finishing features, such as binding, sorting and stapling. These features are far less common and less durable in multifunction photocopiers.
  • Excellent functionality. Because stand-alone copiers are designed to do just that, copy, they are extremely fit for purpose. This means that they can cater for complex copy needs, such as duplex printing, different paper sizes, paper thicknesses and alignments.
  • Easy to useand benefit from large, clear display panels.
  • No need to connectthe photocopier to a desktop in order for it to make copies. However, the flexibility is there should you wish to do this, which then makes it possible to work as a printer or scanner should the need arise.
  • Inbuilt memorymeans that documents can be backed up for quick access and amendments.

Large volume office photocopiers from Blackbox Solutions can be expensive pieces of office kit. So firstly, you need to make sure that it will be a good investment and there is a need for it in the office. Secondly, you should compare the cost of photocopying on a bought or rented machine. It may be that the copier is simply too costly to purchase outright, in which case, taking out a leasing contract could provide the perfect solution. This will also give you the advantages of inclusive servicing contracts, repairs and consumables. Although ubiquitous in companies around the world, photocopiers are not one and the same. They may fulfill more or less the same task, yet it is important to assess your needs and get proper information to find a model which will match your expectations and at the same time be simple enough to operate. Besides, when you intend to buy a photocopier, it’s also crucial to consider other options such as renting or leasing, to make sure you get the best service at the right price.

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