Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail
Selecting a printer includes more than consideration for the cost and functionality. Data privacy and security issues also need to be addressed. This section will deal with how to select a printer for the dealership’s needs and the best practices for implementing both the functional and security needs of the dealership.
Printer selection criteria:
Technology is the first factor to consider when purchasing a printer. There are two types:
Inkjet printers are affordable and effective for home and the dealership.
Laser printers are recommended for dealerships that require speed, efficiency, and high quality color or black and white printed resolution.
Printer resolution is measured by the number of dots per inch (DPI) a printer is capable of printing. It is important to compare the DPI of the printers being evaluated.
The speed of a printer is rated in pages per minute (PPM) and range from 4 and 10+ PPM. Speed depends on several factors including if it is black and white or color, text only or full page graphics. Expect a faster PPM from a laser printer printing text rather than graphics. A laser is always faster and has lower maintenance than an inkjet printer.
Ink or toner is a key factor in determining total cost over the lifetime and level of satisfaction regarding printers. Three factors should be considered:
Price – in general the price of the ink can far surpass the price of the printer. Consider how much the ink will cost, the number of pages it should yield, and the estimated cost per page. The manufacturer/distributor should include this in the general product information.
Availability - some printer manufacturers may require that you purchase their brand of ink A substitute ink purchased from a third-party may cause your printer warranty to be voided. Verify what brands of ink can be used and also can be purchased from a third-party.
Type - consider what type of ink or toner is used with your printer. Users considering an ink jet printer should check if the printer model requires separate color cartridges. Some products may include multiple colors in a single print cartridge. If so when only one color runs out the entire cartridge must be replaced. Also, check if the cartridges are just ink or a combination of ink and separate nozzles. Cartridges with ink and nozzles will cost more than those that have just ink..
Cost Per Page is the estimated ongoing cost of the printer after its initial purchase. It is important to look at the cost per page and see how much you may be paying for the anticipated print volume. Generally laser printers' per page cost is less than that of ink jet printers..
Paper handling - the method of how the printer handles and distributes the paper can be an important consideration when looking at printers. Many Ink Jet printers will feed paper through a slot on the top of the printer while laser printers will use a tray method of feeding the paper to the printer. Depending upon the amount of printing you expect to have and the type of paper you plan on using, such as a paper envelope will help make your decision when purchasing a printer.
Options - Check to see if the printer requires add-ons that would increase the overall cost of the printer. All-In-One devices are becoming more popular for small businesses. These printers have the ability to make copies, scan documents and in some cases act as a fax machine. Questions to ask to determine the need for any options include:
Will those using the printer print a lot of reports?
Will they be single copies or multiple sets of printed copies?
What is the estimated average quantity of each?
What is the estimated total printing workload per week and per month?
Are there any critical peak periods of printing, both attended and unattended? If so what is the required printer production (printed page count)?
What are the range of size requirements and will the printers support those requirements?
Will the printer be able to handle special forms containing adhesives such as labels or other composition that could destroy the printer?
Will the printer output be “read” by dealership staff, customers, or special scanners?
How attractive do the labels, reports, and dealership letterhead need to look?
How durable should the labels and printed display notices be?
Who will see/scan these printed documents? Customers or are they only used internally?
What are print quality requirements for all of the printing jobs?
What “hold print” security features are needed to protect confidential report content?
Price Range - the price range can vary depending upon the quality of the printer, the type of printer, the print speed, and whether it only prints black and white or also color. A general price range follows:
Ink Jet Printer $100.00 - $400.00
Laser Printer $300.00 - $2,000.00+
Printer Traffic - who will use the printer? Network printers are the best option when several people have light-to-medium printing needs. However if individual employees will be printing a substantial amount it may be wise to put a dedicated non-network printer at near their workarea.