Make Your Forms Paperless with Document Management

Every business—no matter the industry—deals with its fair share of forms on a regular basis. Purchase orders, invoices, HR forms, sales contracts, and expense reports are just some of the forms that are part of our workflows. Document management can help organizations streamline their processes into a paperless approach that will improve customer service, increase efficiency, and optimize the experience of the end user.

The many benefits of paperless forms technology
By turning to a document management solution, the hassle of dealing with paper forms is completely eliminated from your workplace. Web-based forms are perfect for instantly capturing information and pushing that data to your back-end business applications. The distribution of HR forms is a great example of how web-based forms can make life easier for your employees. Timecards, benefit elections, and reviews can easily be completed online and distributed with a few clicks of the mouse.
Purchase orders can also be completed through a web-based platform. This streamlined workflow makes it easier to process approval requests and will help ensure your accounts payable department is always in control of your company’s spending.

Eliminate headaches for your customers
Paperless forms simplify tasks for your customers. The convenience and simplicity of web-based forms allows your clients to complete forms online without jumping through hoops. There’s no longer a need for them to print, mail, or fax in information. The hassle-free experience of completing a web-based form will make your customers more likely to collaborate with your business.

The power of an electronic signature
Many businesses are hesitant to go paperless for the fear of losing the all-important signature. Fortunately, with modern document management technology, obtaining an electronic signature is easier than ever. E-signature technology can be easily integrated into your forms to allow authorized users to sign off on any necessary digital documents.

Document management enables you to experience a whole new way of conducting business through paperless forms. Contact Infomax Office Solutions today to learn how this revolutionary technology can be implemented into your business.

Print-Production

Print Advertising is Making a Comeback – Take Advantage Using Production Printing

Although we like to think of this as “the digital age,” print media (specifically, print advertising) is becoming increasingly relevant again. It’s a comeback story a decade in the making. After over 10 years of decline, traditional print media is gaining speed again. Production printing, digital printing systems, and in-house commercial printing set-ups bring big benefits to businesses. Today’s consumers are drowning in digital advertising; print media is a creative way to push through an oversaturated digital market.

 

Production Printing
An in-house production printer can save your company time and money, with the added bonus of flexibility. By printing your materials in-house, you will maintain complete control of all of your printing projects. This gives you valuable flexibility with deadlines, materials, quality, and any other print-related aspect that fits into your budget. Infomax Office Systems offers production printing equipment from top brands such as Canon, Savin, and Lexmark that can help both small and high-volume print shops. Some of Iowa’s most trusted companies utilize Infomax to accommodate all of their printing needs.

 

For those businesses with high-volume needs, an in-house production printer is a great option to reduce your costs while enhancing your printing capabilities. With this type of printing set-up, there’s no longer a need to rely on outside vendors to carry out your printing needs.

 

Digital Printing Systems
Digital printing systems utilize high-quality inkjet or laser printing technology. In comparison to traditional offset printing, these technological printing advancements allow for significantly faster turnaround times and higher capacity levels. The utilization of this impressive technology provides businesses with fast, high-quality printing outputs at a surprisingly affordable rate.

 

Tangibility, credibility, and branding are just a few of the key attributes of print media. It’s time for your organization to take advantage of this exciting trend. Infomax Office Solutions offers production printing devices that enable you to create your own in-house commercial printing, pieces which are great for events, print campaigns and so much more. Contact the Infomax team today for more information on how production printing will allow your business to boost its printing efforts.

managed-IT-services

Comparing the Benefits of In-House IT vs. Managed IT Services

All companies both large and small rely on technology to do business today. However, the modern IT environment is a complicated one, requiring significant resources to manage your operations. There are two approaches when it comes to managing your IT infrastructure: In-House IT or Managed IT Services. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each method.

 

In-House IT

Pros: An in-house approach allows you to hand pick your team of IT professionals, as well as the technology you feel will benefit your company most. It’s a good approach for those who are up-to-date with today’s technology. It’s also beneficial if you are developing a product or service that is not currently on the market.

 

Cons: An in-house IT department is commonly used by larger corporations, as hiring and training an IT staff can be expensive. Small- to mid-sized businesses also cannot afford the unpredictable overall costs that are associated with in-house IT. It’s also difficult to train a staff if you do not have IT professionals with qualified backgrounds in place.

 

Managed IT Services

Pros: By outsourcing your IT management, costs can be broken down to fixed monthly payments, as opposed to the large (and unpredictable) investments that occur regularly when managing an in-house system. Small businesses can especially benefit from this predictable and cost-effective approach. Outsourcing your IT to professionals keeps your company up-to-date with emerging technologies, as research is done for you by qualified industry experts. These professionals are also available to you 24/7, so assistance can be provided when it’s needed. Infomax Office Systems’ professionals provide you with a safe and secure IT network that you can always rely on.

 

With managed IT services, there is also the potential for an increase in scalability. When it’s time to expand your services as your organization grows, outsourced professionals can provide you with well-designed systems that have been successfully developed through years of research. Relying on these IT professionals for major innovations allows your in-house team to remain focused on other value-added projects.

 

Cons: Organizations that want to avoid outside help and maintain complete control of all decision making should not utilize this approach. Outsourcing IT requires complete trust in another company to carry out tasks that will meet the needs of your business.

 

As you can see, both approaches to IT management have their pros and cons. However, for most businesses, managed IT services is the most effective and cost-friendly approach, allowing your company to utilize the latest and greatest technologies. For more information on how a Managed IT Services partner can help accomplish business’s IT goals, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Top 5 Things the IoT Can Give You

Internet of Things

 

 

Think of all the data collected from consumers, companies, and devices. Now imagine all of that data being connected in a network of information, an ecosystem of devices that talk to you, each other and the world around them—that is the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is real, it’s growing, and most consumers interact with it on a daily basis. But what is it doing for you? Here are the good, the bad, and the ugly truths of what the Internet of Things can bring to your business.

 

  1. More customers

 

With smartphones and a variety of interactive technology, consumer data is more accessible than ever before. Many customers are willing to share their information through apps and digital interactions, which means you know your customers. And if you know your customers, you know your potential customers.

 

Using the information you have based on your current customer base, apply that knowledge toward connecting with new consumers. Maybe you’ve learned that most of your demographic is more likely to make purchases in the evening. Creating an evening sale or late-shopper incentive could be a great way to find new buyers.

 

  1. More competition

 

You aren’t the only company with this consumer data gold. Other businesses are collecting this information as well, and they know what to do with it. Your company needs to stay innovative and use the data to create better business and better products. Staying ignorant of the latest and greatest will not only make you fall behind, but your customers will notice your lack of innovation and knowledge.

 

  1. Smarter business

 

Smarter technology throughout the workplace means smarter business. Features like electronically tracking your inventory and equipment sending you notifications on functionality issues and energy usage create optimum performance and efficiency. We all love the pizza tracker, don’t we? And Amazon’s shipment locator is a gift from above when you’re anxiously waiting for that new cast-iron skillet. Utilize technology to increase your efficiency and foster customer loyalty.

 

  1. Higher security risks

 

The more information you have, the more you have to lose. With data breaches becoming a regular occurrence, it’s more important than ever to secure your information for both your company and your customers. Consumers trust you with their data, but one breach can change that forever. Building credibility is a long road, and once it’s damaged, it takes even longer to re-build.

 

  1. More revenue

 

If used correctly, the IoT can bring you more customers, more efficiency and more data to work with—which all result in increased revenue. It’s all about how you connect, how you interact and how you choose to use data to your benefit. Those who understand its potential are the ones who will succeed. Using data to cater to your clients and bring in new leads is the ultimate goal, so make sure you’re harnessing technology properly in order to meet that goal.

The Wrong Way to Recycle Paper

Your organization worked hard to implement its recycling plan. Your staff has been trained on its importance and how it works. All the pieces seem to be in place for a successful recycling plan. Yet somehow, it’s not working. Fortunately, most recycling plans can be tweaked by overcoming a few common mistakes. Let’s take a closer look at some of these issues encountered when you recycle paper.

Most paper types can be recycled
Many people only recycle plain white paper because they are unsure of what other paper types can be recycled. Magazines, brochures, newspapers, envelopes, shredded paper, and even glossy paper can all be recycled; the only exception is paper with a thick coating. Just keep this in mind: if you can tear it, you can recycle it. Take a look here for more tips on what NOT to put in the recycling bin.

Keep control over your recycling bins
If your recycling bins are full, people will throw recyclable items into the trash. To minimize overflow, make sure all recycled cardboard boxes are flattened to reduce space in the bin. It’s also important to communicate with your cleaning staff or document destruction partner to make sure the bins are being emptied regularly.

Labeling is essential
Recycling bin labels need to be large and easily visible to all employees, and they need to be specific. Rather than just saying “Recyclables,” the labels should clearly state whether the bin is for paper, plastic, bottles, or cans (depending on how you need to separate your materials). A quick walk through of your office is the best way to make sure all labels are properly in place. Employees should also understand that some recyclable products need special attention before being thrown into a bin. Check out some of these tips on how to handle paper scraps and other materials.

Make recycling convenient for your employees
Inconvenience may be the one mistake that slows down office recycling efforts the most. People are busy doing their jobs; if there isn’t a recycling bin in close proximity, recyclable items are likely headed for the trash. Make sure each department or floor is equipped with its own recycling tray or bin. There should also be recycling receptacles in all common areas, such as break rooms, kitchen areas, and printing/copy stations.

Employees should also have the correct information on all outside vendors who accept toner cartridges and other equipment to recycle. Recycling your office’s paper is important, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus of your recyclable plan. The Infomax website offers recycling tips and lists vendors who will accept empty toner cartridges.

For more information on how to fine tune your recycling plan, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Choosing the Right Large-Format Substrate

The type of substrate (material that can be directly printed on) you choose for a large-format print job can go a long way. Most importantly, it can affect the quality and the cost of the printing process. There are a lot of substrate options to choose from, with new materials being introduced all the time. Let’s take a look at some of the things that will factor into your substrate decision, along with some of the more popular types that are commonly used.

Application and Durability
Application should be the first consideration in choosing a substrate. It’s essential to understand the potential surrounding environment of the final product—will this material be used indoors or outdoors. Even if the material ends up indoors, there may still be high exposure to sunlight. The material may also need to be water resistant, especially if it’s placed in a kitchen or a bathroom. There is a wide array of substrate options that can cater to many different environmental elements, such as sunlight, water exposure, extreme heat, and frigid temperatures.

The durability of a substrate relates to the long term life of a product. For example, if you are working on a “floor graphic application,” you will need a substrate that can handle the wear and tear of heavy foot traffic. Or, if you are designing a trade show graphic that will be transported all over the country, you will need a sturdy type of substrate that is durable enough to stand up to a good deal of handling.

Material cost and other considerations
The cost of substrate materials depends on the project, as the size and volume of materials needed will have a major influence on the final cost. There are many varying factors that come into play; however, with so many substrate options available, businesses are most often able to land on a choice that best fits the projected budget.

Common substrate materials
Here’s a quick look at some of the substrate options that are commonly utilized today:

Paper: the most common type of substrate that varies in color, weight, and texture. It’s a great low-cost solution for nearly any need.
Aluminum: ideal for outdoor signage that requires photo quality printing. It’s available in a wide range of colors and offers superior rigidity.
Vinyl: often sold by the roll, this is a great choice for banner or wallpaper applications. It can easily be cut into shapes, and it can also support full color images.
Styrene: this is a rigid, low-cost plastic material that is excellent for indoor signage.
Canvas: this is ideal for high resolution printing needs, particularly, photographic prints.

For more information on the many different substrate options that are available for your large-format print jobs, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Brand Your Business with Color Printing

Utilizing color is a great way to separate your company from the competition. Finding a way to stand out in a crowded marketplace can be a major challenge when it comes to marketing your products or services. Without the right use of color in your branding approach, your business runs the risk of getting lost in the mix amongst the many other businesses within your industry.

Take a look at some of the larger corporations in today’s world. Amazon, Target, Walmart, Netflix, Starbucks, and Facebook are a handful of big names that generally come to mind when you think of big businesses. Each uses a specific color scheme for their branding methods. You can easily envision their colors because each of these companies uses a consistent approach to branding, whether it’s in print, online, or in-person.

A few tips for color usage
When it comes to using color for branding, there are a few things to keep in mind to help improve the visibility of your business. First, be sure to create a bold contrast by using the right combination of colors that will catch the eye. But, be careful not to use too many colors—with more colors in play, a customer is less likely to associate your marketing efforts with your brand.

Next, make sure your logo or message is legible. Be careful with tinting, effects, and any color combinations that make your output difficult to comprehend. When all is said and done, your audience needs to be able to clearly recognize your brand and its message.

Finally, be sure to remain consistent with your colors across all mediums. Your target audience needs to connect your colors with your business. This will happen over time as customers repeatedly interact with your brand.

The importance of color printing
Now that we’ve looked at the importance of color in branding, along with some valuable color usage techniques, let’s focus on the value of color printing. Color alignment across all marketing materials requires printing equipment that can consistently match the hues of your particular color scheme. It takes the right print setup combined with state-of-the-art technology to produce high-quality print materials. After all of the hard work your marketing team puts into its color scheme, it is essential to make sure your equipment can produce the best materials that best match the vision of your brand.

For more information on color printers and how they can keep your company’s colors consistent throughout all media outputs, contact Infomax Systems today.

How to Avoid Looking Unprofessional

Unprofessional

 

There are things we do every day that we look back on and regret. Or, at the very least, wish we would have done a little differently. It could be anything: how you responded to an email, the way you phrased something, how it looked when you walked across the room, what you wore, how you sneezed, the way that pasta made your breath smell, etc.

 

The point is that as human beings, we consciously notice these things. We notice things that make us seem unkempt, unwise, or unsanitary. In other words, we actively have a tendency to notice things that appear unprofessional.

 

And unfortunately, there are certain habits that are impossible to recover from. Basically, if you do the following things, “you” and “professional” will never again be used in the same sentence. So read on and take notes so that you’ll never be “that person” in the office.

 

Here are the four categories that will get you to that point of no return.

 

 

Is there a desk underneath all of that?

 

When someone’s workstation looks like a mess, they’re suddenly a mess, too. It doesn’t matter how many showers you take, how expensive your clothes are or where you get your hair cut, you will always be associated with a messy workspace.

 

And, to a certain degree, it’s true. Your physical appearance may be mess-free. But, if your home, car, desk or drawers are filthy, a part of you is messy, sloppy, unkempt and not fit to do business with. This doesn’t mean your environment has to be 100% clean, 100% of the time. It simply means you need to do your best to stay on top of the seas of junk, clutter, and wrappers. There’s nothing worse than garbage tucked into drawers and behind files, especially when the smell starts to permeate.

 

Here’s another way to think about it: if a client walked by or a vendor showed up, would they be embarrassed to associate with you?

 

 

Please, be serious for once.

 

We have all encountered that work colleague that can never be serious. They are always making jokes and you can never get a solid answer from them, even with a deadline approaching. And the more you ask them to be serious, the more they act goofy and silly.

 

Why does this behavior drive normal people insane? Well, because in a business context, this level of silly is annoying and unrealistic. Don’t get us wrong, keeping others in a good mood has its place and time, and a happy work environment is always a good thing. But when tasks fall behind or you cannot be productive with those goofy people, their personality becomes more of a headache than a ray of sunshine.

 

Professionalism requires a healthy balance of optimism and pessimism, ideally sitting in the realism range. Always joking and never taking anything seriously will only make the bad times worse and frustrate other employees.

 

 

Are you too good to put in your eight hours?

 

Some of us are morning people and some of us are not. Depending on your chronotype, you biologically function differently than other people. Some of us hit our stride in the mid-afternoon, while others get things done most effectively in the morning. Regardless, whether you come in an hour early or happen to come in late, always stay for your eight hours.

 

If you work a traditional job and you drag in late day after day and pack up at 4:45, your coworkers will probably start to feel very resentful toward you. And it shows management that you don’t take your job or responsibilities seriously. So instead, if you know you aren’t a morning person, talk to your manager or an executive and see if you can adjust your work schedule. As long as you’re getting your work done efficiently and productively, it shouldn’t matter when your eight hours begins and ends.

 

Can you follow through on anything… ever?

 

People-pleasers are on the same level as those goofy colleagues. People-pleasers say yes, yes, yes and never say no to anything. Translation into plain English? They overpromise. They’re in way over their head. They can’t deliver because there’s never enough time in the day.

 

Further translation? They commonly let peers down, are no real help and ultimately, unprofessional. Always make sure to have your work tasks scheduled as best as possible so you can say no when you need to. And never be afraid to ask for help.

Essential Elements of a Cloud Strategy

There has been a lot of talk about businesses “moving to the cloud” over the past several years. With so many continual advances in cloud technology, more businesses are past “talking” about the use of the cloud; businesses are now “taking action.” In fact, 74% of Tech CFOs say cloud computing will have the most measurable impact on their business in 2017.

Implementing a cloud strategy allows businesses to move forward with new ways to successfully conduct business. It’s important to develop a cloud strategy that will achieve the goals set out for your business. It’s also helpful to get a quick overview of some “cloud basics,” and exactly what this technology is capable of doing.

Making the switch to digital
If your business is in the process of (or at least considering) digitizing its documents, cloud technology should be a part of your paperless solution. Converting your documents into a digital format and storing them on the cloud allows authorized users to access documents with speed and efficiency. Most importantly, a cloud strategy keeps your employees easily connected, especially those who are remote or constantly on the go. Check out some more ideas here on digital workflows and other document management solutions.

Secure your assets
The information you pass along inside and outside of your business on a daily basis is a valuable asset. When developing a cloud strategy, it’s important to focus on security. There are numerous security settings involved with the setup of cloud technology. For example, you can store data privately in different areas of the cloud for authorized use only. There are also backup and recovery options that you can customize to keep your information safe and secure.

Integration
When implementing a cloud solution, it’s important to consider how it will work with other applications currently operating at your business. You likely have multiple vendors for different applications. Prepackaged integrations can help create a consistent experience for the end user, allowing multiple applications to work together seamlessly across different delivery models (mobile, cloud, and on-premise).

Setting up a cloud solution that works best for your company requires collaboration between your business leaders and a team of IT professionals who can execute your vision. For more information on developing a cloud strategy for your business, contact the experts at Infomax Office Systems today.

Key Features of an MPS Solution

Increasing efficiency in the workplace is an ongoing initiative for most businesses, regardless of their size. Implementing a Managed Print Services (MPS) solution is one of the top ways to achieve maximum efficiency with your print-related business processes. It all comes down to streamlining your efforts. With quicker processes and less equipment in place, utilizing an MPS solution will bring an enormous amount of benefits. Here are some key features and what they will bring to your business.

Save time
With a poorly configured print environment, employees often spend more time than necessary printing, scanning, and faxing. They also waste time dealing with malfunctions and equipment errors. MPS can provide maintenance support to provide your office with uninterrupted service, leaving your employees the time they need to excel at their jobs.

Save money
An MPS print audit will provide your business with a thorough analysis of your print fleet and how to cut your costs. Minimizing hardware is a common way to save money. After all, maintenance on multiple devices significantly adds up over time.

Increase productivity
An MPS provider can customize print efforts to meet the needs of your employees. This includes the ability to print from mobile devices or offsite. This gives your employees the tools to be productive in any role they serve within the company. There’s also the added benefit of MPS training, which will keep employees up to date on the best way to carry out tasks.

Decrease your environmental impact
An environmentally conscious approach to conducting business is important. With a monitoring system in place, an MPS provider can track your print output. Being aware of your print usage will give you the opportunity to step in and make changes to reduce printing wherever possible. This type of awareness is sure to reduce your environmental footprint.

Reduce your printer fleet
Streamlining is the key to improved efficiency. Reducing your printer fleet will not only cut back on maintenance costs, but it will simplify workflows and save space within your office. With fewer devices come fewer headaches. An MPS provider will evaluate your fleet to remove unnecessary devices and replace any machines that are not meeting your needs.

To learn more about Managed Print Services and how it can benefit your business, contact Infomax Office Systems today.