Printing Requirements

I need a solution for printing requirements in a networked computing environment. A handful of employees require their own printers because they print confidential reports and letters, and every employee needs access to fast, high-quality text printing.  They will be using Laser printers because they work great for business text and graphics. The accounting department uses some multipart forms to print invoices and purchase orders.  What do you recommend for each of these printing needs?  What configurations should I consider for specific departments and for general printing needs?  
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David_IngledewConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I'd go down the centralised route also - but use a pooled queue. Not only is it MUCH easier to roll out a single queue/driver but it also means users can release jobs at any device so you can afford one unit to be down without major impact.

Position MFD's or Hi-Volume printers in keys areas, so there is a printer reasonably "close" to all staff and meeting rooms, then use some kind of secure release.

Secure release could be via a MFD secure ID, or via a whole host of other solutions - some listed below:

MFD's: Using the main copier screen - Embedded AD Username/PW or ID or Card, External Terminal with AD Username/PW or ID or Card, even a simple card swipe top release all held documents.

If you decided to use High volume printers then you would need to use the external terminal or card swipe to release all.

This is a win-win situation - You have less work supporting the print fleet, users never lose a job and you'll find your print totals reduce as users often print items they don't need!

I've bleated on about the solutions for hardware...

This depends on what route you take. Definitely laser for all but the multipart which will need dot-matrix as Hondtht commented, get this into a noise cushioned cabinet in a secure dark corner!

A few manufactures spring to mind. HP printers are used commonly, easy to maintain but costly to run. Some other devices like the Brothers or Kyocera will do the same job with less cost.

For MFD's I would veer away from HP personally, I find them slow (especially boot up!). Personally I'd probably head to Sharp, but would have no problem supporting Xerox, Ricoh or Toshiba also. Konica Minolta's may also be an option....

How many users are there, and are they spilt into different offices? Do you know how much is printed at present?
Some general rules: use lasers only (colour or mono) and make sure they come with a network port. Even for those employees that need their own printer I would not suggest a USB connection. USB printers will cause problems at some time; many are GDI printers and eventually drivers will be unavailable for them; and with networked printers you can collect printer statistics and do printer setup and troubleshooting over the network. If security needs to be very strict you can always set the printer up to only accept data from specific IP addresses (e.g. the user and the administrator).

The departmental printers should either be a copier/printer or a high performance laser. The local printers can be small lasers. Finally, to print on your multi-part stationery you require a dot-matrix printer.

For the lasers & copiers, look at Xerox and HP. For the small printers, the same brands again and also at Samsung. For dot-matrix printers, try Epson or Oki.

If you can give some more detailed specs (i.e. speed, colour/mono, number of trays, duplexing, paper size) we may be able to offer more specific suggestions.
Analyze your printing and supply costs and look into 1 or 2 bigger workgroup multifunction machines.  You may be able to save your company money in the long run.  We have 21 Xerox Workcentre machines and they work great.  Confidential prints can be handled by   using the secure print feature.  The accounting department should get a dedicated printer for invoices, checks , etc.
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MissMelissDempseyAuthor Commented:
Your suggestions for Printers was very helpful.  I currently do not know how much is being printed at present, I still need to run the numbers.
Thanks for the feedback. I'd run a trial on one of the various solutions. There are few out there, but you could try Pcounter, PrintAudit or Papercut - most have trials but these are often the easier to set up initially.

It's important to get the colour vs mono statistics as these may effect the decision on devices.
If you do pursue a lease on several machines, make sure to get competitive quotes from Ricoh, Xerox, etc and use one quote to get the other to drop their prices.  If you are in the MIdwest, prices for black prints should be around $.0059  and color around $.06.    If you look for features like hole punches etc, you can save money by only putting hole punching ability on one machine... assuming you do not use that feature a lot.
Those prices seem in keeping with general prices I hear about in the UK.

Definitely only get stapling/hole punchers where needed - if a user selects hole punching but releases it on a device where there isn't one the job will still print but not be punched.

Put signs on the devices which have the extra features, easy to see labels work well :-)
I should clarify, when I say Midwest, I am referring to MIdwest USA (Ohio, Indiana etc)  Sorry for the confusion  :-)
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