South Africa, and many other countries, has a thriving small to medium enterprise (SME) market and printing remains an essential part of everyday business for these companies, says Robbie Johnson, retail manager at DCC.

However, quality is often of the utmost importance, meaning that ink-based print technology designed for the home is simply not up to the job. Furthermore, colour laser printers are often not cost effective solutions for this sector with very tight budgetary requirements due to the higher initial purchase cost of the actual printer. Fortunately, the emergence of the OfficeJet printer addresses this challenge head on, offering affordable, high-quality colour printing, the additional convenience of copy, scan and fax if required, and a solution that is ideal for the SME market in South Africa.

With colour printing, inkjet printers are often the most affordable devices from an upfront cost perspective i.e. the investment in the printer. However, the cost of replacement ink has driven the total cost of ownership (TCO) up, particularly when larger print volumes are required. Inkjet printers have thus remained a solution geared toward home users, offering basic functionality for minimal print needs. Colour laser printers on the other hand have offered a lower cost per page (CPP) and faster print speeds, however, the purchase price of these printers has made them too expensive for many smaller business users.

OfficeJet printers are designed specifically for the SME market or small workgroup, offering additional functionality compared to inkjets, as well as print speeds comparable to laser and a CPP that is up to half that of a colour laser printer. In addition, OfficeJet printers feature additional functionality such as scan, copy and even fax if needed.

OfficeJet printers use the same print mechanism technology as inkjet printers, however, the print heads are built into the machine, rather than forming part of the ink cartridge. This has the significant benefit of dramatically reducing the cost of replacement ink cartridges which lowers the TCO of the OfficeJet device. It also enables organisations to print higher page volumes at a lower CPP. In fact, print costs are up to 50% lower than a colour laser, making OfficeJet printers highly cost effective for the SME market.

Another feature of the OfficeJet that provides an advantage over traditional inkjets is the mechanism of the print head. In a regular desktop inkjet, the print head moves across the page to distribute ink and create an image. These moving parts are prone to failure, which is why they are replaced every time an ink cartridge is replaced. With professional-grade OfficeJet printers, however, the built in print head is the width of an A4 page, so there are no moving parts required for printing. Print speeds are thus vastly improved, comparable with high-end laser printing devices. Reduced moving parts also ensure the printer has greater durability and longevity, helping SMEs to extend their investment.

OfficeJet printers also incorporate networking capabilities, ideal for SME office sharing, as well as enterprise-class management to control features such as the ability to print in colour, printing in draft mode or double sided printing to save resources. Multifunction devices help to improve productivity, offering features like scan to email, storing of address books on the device and more. Wireless connectivity makes sharing printers within an SME office a simple task, and mobile print capability enables users to print directly from smartphones and tablets for added convenience. Built-in and downloadable applications (apps) also allow users to customise their print experience according to their needs. In addition, OfficeJet devices are also highly energy efficient, using less energy than a laser printer. Given the rising cost of electricity, this can generate significant savings over the life of the printer.

SMEs remain a significant sector of the South African market, and printers that meet their needs and requirements are a must. OfficeJet technology is the ideal solution, offering affordable colour printing, reliable, long lasting devices, and all of the functionality these businesses need, including sharing, mobility, flexibility, duplex printing and more. OfficeJet devices provide twice the speed at half the cost of many desktop colour laser devices, lowering TCO and helping to reduce the cost of this necessary office function.