ClearView Business Solutions

When’s the best time to replace your office’s hardware? A comprehensive discussion.

Office hardware shouldn’t be hard to replace, now should it? Nothing’s harder than having copier or printer hardware that’s giving you a hard time.

What kinds of hardware are you talking about specifically?

There are as many different kinds of hardware as the day is long. Hardware runs the gamut from small desktop printers to large-segment systems; from single-function to multi-function devices. For every single-function scanner, tabletop scanner and single-function fax machine, there is a multi-function, middle or large segment device. Picture a large, high-volume, high-speed, high-capacity, multi-function copier, a mammoth device staking its claim to its area of the office.

This is hardware.

How long does this hardware usually last?

Different variables affecting the life of your hardware include print and scan volume, upkeep, preventative maintenance and wear and tear.

Toshiba gradually discontinues part production over what industry insider Matt Lane called a sunset period. All told, most manufacturers offer parts for a device for as long as 15 years. 

When should my organization replace its hardware?

Rarely is there a bad time to consider replacing your organization’s hardware. Lane referred to more than a few things that could give an organization second thoughts about its current hardware:

  • Stunted growth

Like a bad relationship or an overbearing mother does to you, bad printer or copier hardware limits your organization’s growth. If bad hardware’s getting in the way of what your organization wants to do, then it’s time to take a long, hard look at it.

  • Unreliable equipment

The last thing your organization needs is unreliable equipment. Running a business is challenging enough, is it not? Unreliable equipment is like a thorn in an organization’s side; like a constant dripping on a rainy day. It’s something to be avoided.

  • Waste

Waste is also to be avoided. It takes many forms, such as:

  • Wasted paper from unnecessary or incorrectly formatted prints;
  • Waste in an unused allowance with a current vendor; and
  • Waste from unrecycled toner or ink cartridges.

“A solution a company like ClearView can provide is reducing money wasted on ink and toner for printing and just helping organizations set their print environment up in the leanest possible way,” Lane said.

  • An increasing expense

If, for example, your organization’s cost of operating its hardware is suddenly (and rather unexplainably) costing you more, then ask yourself why that’s happening, because it shouldn’t be. For example, your organization shouldn’t suffer an increase in a current service contract payment, or an increase in the cost of toner.

  • Delayed service times

Your organization should receive timely, comprehensive service performed on its hardware. If your organization or vendor fails to provide that, then reconsider your choice in hardware management.

Are there certain times of the year that are better than others for my organization to replace its hardware?

Well, that depends on the kind of organization. Schools, for example, typically review contracts with their vendors over the summer before school starts in the fall. 

No matter what kind of organization you are, “a good rule of thumb is to just replace your hardware whenever appropriate,” Lane suggested.

How long is a copier lease?

That’d be good to know now, wouldn’t it? Just in case you’d like to replace your office equipment at the end of its lease.

Lane weighed in with his insight.

“My professional observation,” he said, “is that the average lease is 60 months, maybe even 63 months.”

There are two distinct warranties. First, there’s the manufacturer’s warranty on the equipment alone, which protects against manufacturing defects. Second, there’s the coterminous, all-encompassing warranty included in the service agreement, which covers the product for the duration of the lease. 

When’s a bad time to replace your hardware?

Is there really a bad time? Believe it or not, there are a few bad times to replace your hardware, such as:

  • When it works

As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There’s no need to replace equipment that already works perfectly fine at a reasonable cost. 

  • You’ve already calculated your TCO per month, and have compared multiple solution providers

That is, if you’ve already thoroughly evaluated the best solution options and chosen one whose TCO provides your organization with the greatest value, then there’s no need to consider replacing your office hardware.

What’s the longest possible amount of time that an organization can keep its hardware?

If an organization wants to keep its equipment until it dies, it could keep it for more than 10 years if it really wants to. However, since technology and their needs change, only about 5 to 10 percent of businesses do that, Lane said.

What brand should I replace my hardware with?

It’s not as important for businesses to consider the brand as it is to consider the model. Some brands release models that tend to be considerably better than other models from the same brand. All that being said, Lane can recommend doing demonstrations with multiple models to find the best one for your organization. Top brands include Toshiba, Lexmark, HP, Xerox, KIP and Konica Minolta.

“I don’t think a company can go wrong [with those brands] one way or the other, unless there’s a lockout feature, or they like how one looks a little bit more, or how one operates from an interface perspective,” he said. “A lot of times it comes down to what they’re used to, what they’ve already been using or what they’ve got experience with.”

How should my organization choose its replacement hardware?

Here are some key considerations for any organization considering replacement hardware:

  • Your organization’s volume of printing

How much printing does your organization do? A low, medium or high volume of printing? Models of different sizes are designed for different volumes of printing, so be sure to choose the right model for your organization’s volume of printing.

  • Equipment features and functions

As we learned in the last blog post, multi-function copiers can print, scan, copy and fax documents. Most devices also have embedded solutions that are unique to certain industries and processes. And of course no matter what kind of device you’re evaluating, and no matter what it can do, it must be reliable.

  • Print and scan jobs

What’s the biggest print or scan job your organization will have at any one time, and how often is it done? Consider how many pages per minute are necessary for your organization.

Also, what’s the average print job page size, and the average number of pages in a scan job? How often does your organization do two-sided scanning?

Finally, does your organization need the ability to do 11×17 prints or scans? 

Consult a credible document solutions specialist to further evaluate all of your options.

If you didn’t know, now you know

And there you have it. Business hardware replacement doesn’t have to be hard, and hopefully now it won’t be. The next time your organization is in the market for office hardware – and as we’ve learned, there aren’t many bad times to be in the market – why not check out the hardware at ClearView Business Solutions?   

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