How Do I Automate Office Tasks on a Budget?

The dream of automating menial office tasks like invoice processing or even file management is often just that — a dream. We all want to work in an office that does the boring work for us, but that often is not within our company’s budget.

While automation does reduce operating costs and ultimately save your business money over time, it does come at a relatively high up-front cost. Luckily, for businesses that are saving up capital for a future automation project, or interested in exploring the benefits of automation before investing resources into such an endeavor, there are quite a few office tasks or processes that can be fully or partially automated at absolutely no extra cost to your organization.

What is this automation tool? Your office’s copier.

Below, you can find information on how to make your copier work for you:

CREATE SHORTCUTS

There is nothing more mind-numbing and frustrating than dealing with endless prompts when working in an environment that interacts with multiple document sizes — not only is it a hassle, it is also a significant waste of time. This is especially apparent when working in a situation such as a medical office, where the same copier needs to both print and scan ID cards and letter-sized documents.

There is a simple method for automating this part of your scanning and copying process, however. Under the “settings” or “features” tab of your machine’s “copy” menu, you will find the option for creating shortcuts. This can be used to create copying shortcuts for documents of all sizes, including ID cards.

The shortcuts available on your copier may surprise you — they can cover tasks much more complicated than simply copying an ID. In fact, if your copier is equipped with a booklet finisher, almost every feature the finisher offers can be automated:

  • - Duplex
  • - Saddle stitch
  • - Folding
  • - Stapling (number and location)
  • - Hole punching

If you work with a document that changes frequently, but retains its format, you can create shortcuts for that specific document, saving you time and effort when creating this mission critical document. For instance, a sales report shortcut could be input that would print a document that was automatically double-stapled in the left, and was then hole-punched.

You can even create shortcuts for the blank paper you input into your copier — by creating a shortcut on your copier’s bypass tray for a specific type of paper, you can avoid slowing down your job completion rate.

In addition to all of these shortcut options, your copier can store mission critical documents directly on its hard drive, giving you quick access to documents that are used frequently. This is perfect for business that use a document frequently, but irregularly — rather than printing 100 forms in anticipation of a rush of clients, you can print ten or twenty copies, and quickly print more should the need arise.

QUALITY OF LIFE IMPROVEMENTS

There actually is something more mind-numbing than sifting through endless prompts on your copier — siting and waiting for a scan job to complete. You will be happy to know that most copiers offer the option of turning on a notification for when a job is completed — meaning you can go about your day while your 200-page stack of paper is copied.

On new copiers, such as the Canon DX Series, notifications can even be set to go off when your machine’s toner is running low.

Copiers are even capable of performing some maintenance automatically — Canon products often have the ability to clean both their internal systems and the document feeder. By running the automated processes frequently, you can help to reduce the wear and tear on your copier, and thereby increase its lifespan, and reduce the number of service calls you need to place.

For more on copier maintenance, watch our video Two Tips to Keeping Your MFP In Top Shape.

Tony Floyd
Tony is a Business Improvement Specialist with Cobb, and has worked in the imaging industry since August 2019. When Tony isn't helping businesses discover imaging solutions, he spends most of his free time coaching, watching, and driving his kids to-and-from youth sports.