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As Covid-19 cases spike in many states across the U.S., small- to mid-size businesses are finding it especially tough to keep pace with the shifting tide of public health recommendations and regulations. Among the first business sectors to re-open, restaurants are on the front line of the pandemic. With each passing week, restaurant owners must balance concern for the health of their employees and patrons, along with the economic feasibility of new business models and—increasingly—the possibility of additional closures and restrictions.

Staying Nimble

“Despite these unprecedented challenges, we’ve seen remarkable examples of ingenuity here in Wilmington and the beaches,” said Kevin Oberman, V.P. of Sales at Copiers Plus. “Some restaurants that were primarily dine-in have shifted exclusively to curbside pick-up and delivery. That might sound simple but there are lots of moving parts to this transition, a lot of changes in operations, communications, and technology.”

This may involve creating around-the-clock shifts to accommodate social distancing for employees prepping food and to meet the increased demands and quick turn-around on carry-out orders. While many restaurants streamlined their ordering processes with apps like GrubHub, DoorDash, and Seamless, long before the pandemic, contactless ordering and payment has taken on much greater significance now.

Paper Please

For restaurants offering outdoor seating, a transition from laminated to disposable menus is a safer option. Desk-top printers are being pressed into service for this application, along with on-the-fly communications with staff about changing protocols. In the Kyocera ECOSYS series, mobile printing gives restaurant owners the flexibility of wireless/remote access in an affordable, compact product line.

Communications is Key

According to a recent post on Eater: “Broadly, restaurants are encouraged—or ordered—to reduce capacity and space out tables, but the exact rules vary from state to state, and with no universal guidance, restaurants are left to design their own protocols for creating safe spaces for their employees and customers.” This makes communications one of the most important aspects of operating a restaurant through the Covid-19 crisis.

The marketing platform Constant Contact recommends frequent, clearly articulated messaging for both employees and patrons.

These updates should contain basic information like:

Keeping it Local

One restaurant staple in Wilmington has embraced this robust communications strategy by using an app for no-contact customer ordering and by having employees post daily updates to the restaurant’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

National Sources

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend on-site signs and messaging in highly visible locations like entrances and restrooms, promoting protective measures like hand-washing and the proper use of face coverings. Restaurant owners can access free CDC print and digital resources at the bars and restaurant page, as well as on CDC’s communications resources main page.

“While the dynamics change from day to day,” said Oberman, “our goal is to support our customers through this challenging time. We see Copiers Plus as a resource for organizations large and small. Keeping employees and customers safe and healthy while promoting smart business practices—that’s the bottom line.”

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With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses the world over are traveling uncharted territory as they struggle to remain economically viable and—equally important—keep their employees and customers safe and healthy. In the U.S., we’ve seen an aggressive shift to electronic payment systems such as Apple Pay, Venmo, and PayPal, a direct response to the unprecedented spread of infection and virus-related deaths. And while cash has been at the heart of the American economy for over 200 years, seemingly overnight, this has changed for businesses and individuals alike.

Enterprising retailers, restaurants, and service providers are deploying strategies for contact-free (or limited contact) transactions, all anchored by electronic payment systems with no cash changing hands. Simultaneously, technologies like PIN pads at grocery stores for credit card payments and Square—that staple of craft fair vendors and other micro-business owners—are suddenly suspect. Who wants to touch a surface that so many others have touched? This April, the regional grocery chain Publix Supermarkets, Inc., and its GreenWise Markets, rolled out contactless payment via Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay, for all of its 1,243 stores across the Southeast. Publix CEO Todd Jones cited safety and efficiency for this major shift in operations after resisting the move for years.

New Opportunities

Touting digital payments as quick, clean, and easy, Fintech (financial technology) firms view the current crisis as an opportunity to promote and implement faster and safer financial transactions. And while banishing cash altogether may not yet be feasible (or necessarily prudent), Fintech thought leaders envision electronic payment systems accelerating across all sectors of commerce. With innovative technologies already in the pipeline, this transition seems imminent.

Business Process Automation (BPA)

“We see this segue to electronic payments systems as a natural progression in business process automation,” said Tim Smith, General Manager at Copiers Plus. “So many of our customers are already using technology to automate repeatable, day-to-day tasks. Accounts payable and receivable are prime examples. Anytime a business can streamline a process, particularly when it comes to reducing or eliminating paper and bolstering best practices, efficiency is going to improve.”

Three Key Elements for business process automation include:

“But it’s not just about replacing paper with PDFs,” said Smith. “The goal with process automation is to produce a system that’s transparent, error-proof, and cost-efficient.”

Laserfiche, a multi-national leader in intelligent content management and business process automation, provides an exceptional case study for transforming the paper-intensive accounts payable method for the city of Boca Raton, Florida.

As the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS continue to distribute urgently needed stimulus funds to Americans under the CARES Act, direct deposit and pre-paid debit cards will be favored over paper checks. At this time of uncertainty, these modes are undoubtably both faster and safer.

“On a macro level, it’s easy to see how electronic payment systems can make a huge impact,” said Smith. “But even on a local level, we see how nimble the professional, retail, and service sectors have been in this public health crisis. Copiers Plus stands ready to partner with these innovators as we face the ongoing business and human impacts of Covid-19.”

If you would like to learn more about how your organization can implement innovative business process automation we would love to help! Reach out to us at 800-648-7081 or via the button below.

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With the onslaught of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, workforces around the globe are deploying new technologies to accommodate quarantined employees in efforts to deliver vital services and—when possible—keep people working. As U.S. health care professionals fight to save lives and reduce the spread of this deadly virus, IT professionals also play a crucial role, helping every sector of American commerce to reshape and retool operations. Now, more than ever, personnel need to collaborate efficiently as they work from multiple locations and “meet” in virtual spaces to deliver cohesive messaging.

In recent times—with the U.S. job market booming—HR staff rushed to distribute handbooks of company policies for onboarding new employees. Now, it’s far more likely employers are delivering messages heralding layoffs or limited hours.

“In this unprecedented public health emergency, generating updated policies and procedures is the first step for any organization,” said Kevin Oberman, Vice President of Sales at Copiers Plus. “Document management (DM) software provides a seamless transition from a print-driven task like this into a much more streamlined process.”

As the COVID-19 epidemic progresses, information continues to arrive via federal, state, and local authorities, seemingly daily. “Business leaders have to respond quickly and accurately,” said Oberman. “This applies to internal and external communications, alike. Document management is a powerful tool in this context. Like all over the country, our customers—many of them small to midsize businesses (SMBs)—have been suddenly forced to revamp policies and procedures to incorporate all the new COVID-19 regulations. At the same time, they still have to ensure they’re meeting the operational needs for the company, and staying in compliance with industry regulations.”

Guiding the Way

DM software encompasses a wide range of features and functionalities. Automating processes for generating and disseminating new policies and procedures is only one. The professionals at Copiers Plus are available now to help you evaluate your current paper-based process and deploy a DM solution that best meets your needs.

Big Benefits

DM systems for paperless policies and procedures like Ademero’s deliver capabilities to:

In addition to improved efficiency, DM systems can also act as collaboration tools, enabling business to:

While DM software has been trending across all sectors in recent years, the current COVID-19 crisis highlights the importance of pivoting toward paperless systems that prove more efficient, secure, and cost effective. Security features like data encryption, system event logging, and customizable permissions and access make DM an excellent future-facing investment for any business.

At Copiers Plus, we’re confident our nation and community will weather this storm. In the meantime, we’re here to help businesses through, positioning them for a return to prosperity and good health. If you would like to learn more about how you can foster an environment of collaboration across your organization, reach out to us at 800-648-7081 or via the button below to schedule your free assessment.

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With Tax Day 2020 just around the corner, certified public accountants are burning the midnight oil. Tax season for the 654,375 CPAs nationwide may be their busiest time of year, and it’s also a key driver for incorporating new technology in the office. The bottom line: whether you’re a sole practitioner or a member of one the largest accounting firms in the world—think Deloitte with 94,367 global employees—customer service is still the primary goal.

Paul Franklin, chair for accounting programs in the School of Business and Information Technology at Purdue University Global, describes a profession increasingly under pressure to work harder and smarter; he references a 2018 report where “83% of accountants said clients demand more from them today than they did 5 years ago.”

Key Trends in Accounting for 2020

To that end, the profession is moving quickly to embrace disruptions to how accounting service providers have historically operated. Technology trends include:

Working Toward a Paperless Process?

While these shifts are inevitable—each enhancing internal efficiencies and customer service—one reality remains: accounting firms are still required to retain paper copies of many documents in-house, and are mandated to submit paper copies to the IRS and state agencies. According to Dan Moore, CPA, at AICPA ENGAGE 2019 in Las Vegas: “Some people are working dynamically with the information in its electronic format. Some people are working with paper returns. Small firms in particular have been slow to abandon paper, especially because so many clients still submit physical tax documents.”

Even firms that have reached the holy grail of a near-paperless office, will still need a contingency plan if a disruption of cloud and Internet services occurs.

Multi - Function Printers and Managed Document Services: Perfect Together

As accounting firms have begun to spend less time processing documents manually, Copiers Plus anticipates a shift to a workflow-centric model and automation (e.g. consider integrations like electronic signature software).

Large or small, the same key question applies: How are staff accessing, storing, and securing documents? Once answered, Copiers Plus specialists can help firms to leverage their existing investments of multi-function printers (MFPs) by incorporating Managed Document Services (MDS), proprietary, customizable software like Kyocera Document Solutions. This software optimizes the entire document output process—capturing, archiving, and producing a workflow that is intuitive, efficient, and customized to each end user through secure access protocols. Further, Kyocera analysts find that MDS can reduce output costs by up to 30%.

Copiers Plus has also partnered with OnBase by Hyland. OnBase Workflow is an automation engine and electronic routing system that empowers organizations to process work faster and more efficiently. The system embeds a robust set of point-and-click configurable rules and actions, so that business processes can be quickly automated without custom programming. In the financial services industry, OnBase, assures regulatory compliance, improves client service, and enhances productivity.

So, as Tax Day 2020 looms, Copiers Plus wants to make sure you are ready. Request an appointment with our team to ensure your organization is able to adapt to the influx of new technology and workflows that arise.  Give us a call at 800-648-7081 or fill a form online through the button below to set up your meeting today!

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It’s difficult to imagine a more paper-intensive workplace than a law office. No matter the size, every law firm or practice relies heavily on paper documents and hard copies. And while law firms have historically lagged behind in adopting new technology, investments in U.S. legal tech reached $1.2 billion in 2019.

High Stakes

A significant portion of this spending is dedicated to cybersecurity—enhancing protections for firms’ and clients’ sensitive and private information. Integrating security solutions across equipment and platforms is essential in every industry, but law firms face unique challenges. On a daily basis, staff at law firms handle Personal Medical Information (PMI) subject to legislation such as the HIPAA act, or financial documents that fall under the Sarbanes-Oxley act, designed to flag corporate fraud. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Paper Please!

In the legal profession, documents provide the best means to contextualize and formalize opinions, filings, motions, and agreements. Case notes and research generate even more printed pages. Within this document-intensive environment, industry researchers estimate that law firms spend around 3% of their revenues on printing and copying related expenses every year. Team members at Copiers Plus are uniquely qualified to help firms identify inefficiencies in their current systems and maximize their expenditures on Managed Print Services (MPS).

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Typically, smaller law offices—and even some corporate firms—purchase desktop and multi-function printers (MFPs) piecemeal, either when an equipment lease terminates or when an older device is deemed obsolescent or inoperable. This leads to mismatched equipment and processes for different departments within the practice. What’s more, even firms with an in-house IT staff face a host of ever-changing cybersecurity threats.

Benefits of MPS Providers Like Copiers Plus

If you would like to further assess your Firm's office technology and the possibilities available for growth in your workflows, we would love to help! Schedule your free assessment with one of our representatives at 800-648-7081 or online through the button below.

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With the ongoing pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19), many offices are asking how to effectively stop the spread of germs and keep employees safe. Keeping office equipment like your copiers and printers sanitized and practicing social distancing is critical to ensuring your staff can stay productive while also limiting risks of spreading germs.

Office Equipment Sanitation Practices

What to Avoid

While there is no guarantee that these practices can keep you from contracting the coronavirus, they will help you put your best foot forward in protecting yourself and others who may be more at risk. If you have further questions about how to utilize your office equipment in the wake of the coronavirus please reach out to us online or at 800-648-7081.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when all, but the most progressive industries would have scoffed at the notion of latte-sipping, pajama-clad American workers toiling away in their home offices. Not so in 2020. Last year’s Global State of Remote Work determined that U.S. employees are 66% more likely to work remotely in full-time positions than their counterparts across the globe. Millennials and Gen Z’ers, who now comprise the majority of the American workforce, count the comfort of working from home as “a necessary perk.”

The Downside

Yet, for all of the recent reports on the efficacy of remote working, there is a significant downside. A New York Times report warns that social isolation is growing epidemic, with both young and older Americans increasingly at risk. Working from home can be lonely. What’s more, because work-from-home jobs offer flexible hours, work-life boundaries can (and often do) get fuzzy. A recent study found that nine of 10 millennials check their work-related email outside of designated working hours. And though videoconferencing is increasingly popular across most industries, there is no true substitute for face-to-face collaboration and camaraderie among colleagues.

With these cautions in mind, we hope the following guidelines will help you create an efficient home office, whether you use it for full-time work, running a family business, or just catching up on the bills.

Home Office by Design

Whether designing your home office from scratch or retrofitting an existing room, two guiding principles prevail: (1) Less is more (2) Multi-purpose/multi-layered. Seamlessly incorporating efficient workspace into your home demands pre-planning and creativity. In choosing the best space to set up shop, you’ll need to consider traffic flow and your ability to block out distraction.

Form and Function

Home office furniture should complement the other rooms in your house, but also serve your workflow to best advantage. With space typically at a premium, you’ll want to organize both vertically and horizontally (e.g. make use of floating shelves to get books and office equipment off the desk, and vertical file folders to hold important papers). When you think of the amount of time you spend here, a comfortable, ergonomic chair is one of the best investments you can make.

Home Office Technology

Once you’ve gotten the physical space for your home office squared away, the next step is choosing technology that best meets your needs and budget. The workflow experts at Copiers Plus are ideally suited to recommend process strategies and technology solutions to manage documents and data, including the Kyocera line of mid- or low-range printers. Designed for small work groups or individual users, these products include features such as:

Staying in the Loop

Professionalism is key to the success of every remote employee. No matter your job and industry specific applications, communication is essential. To that end, it’s likely you’ll also require one or more of these essentials:

Along with these high-tech and higher-priced items, never underestimate the value of inexpensive products to keep the clutter at a minimum. Cord organizers and bins to conceal papers and binders are a must. Last but not least, seek out an eye-saving task lamp that you can adjust for your (varying) work environment.

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Technology is vital to companies that want to exist today and to a larger scale thrive in the years ahead. Drew Smith of Copiers Plus shares insights into the role technology helps his company — and his customers — do business today and plan effectively for their future.

What role does technology play in serving your customers?

Each of our customer’s infrastructure is different and continues to change seemingly daily with new technological advances. It is our job to adapt to each environment and offer solutions that will bring value to their office communication. One way we are able to achieve this is by integrating with the different software programs and applications currently used within their organizations. In addition, our ability to tap into the variety of expertise our vendors offer is critical in making sure the most versatile technological options are available and executed for our customers.

What technology trends are impacting your industry?

The ability to integrate with cloud applications is a top trend in our industry today. With the rise of mobile workers and non-traditional workplaces, it is pertinent that organizations have access to their documents wherever they are and whenever they need them. By allowing synchronization with cloud applications, users are able to ensure they are always working on the newest version of their documents and can collaborate with co-workers seamlessly.

What is the biggest challenge faced by your customers that your technologies help them overcome?

Governmental compliance, document security, and workflow bottlenecks are the biggest challenges our customers are currently facing. With the ever-changing landscape of technology, questions constantly arise on how to stay compliant and ensure your documents are safeguarded both internally and externally. We are able to help by looking into the document workflows of our customers to uncover their liabilities and see where we can increase transparency. One example is making sure each user in the organization has an individual login to copiers and devices within the organization. By allowing custom access, we are able to allow users access to their individual cloud accounts, folders and shared organizational software such as SharePoint, while also providing the organization with an audit trail of users that accessed specified devices, activity logs, and the time documents were scanned, copied, faxed or printed.

How has technology influenced the kinds of job skills you seek in employees?

Our industry, like many others, has changed significantly. In both the sales and service side of our organization, the specifications of our products and our knowledge of their capabilities was the most important aspect to ensuring success with our customers. Now, we must not only understand the products and software we offer, but the landscape in which we offer them, the regulations within those realms, and the individualization we can bring to each user within the organization. That is why it is critical our employees and prospective employees are committed to continuous training to stay up-to-date on software updates, security protocols and integrations we can pass along to customers.

In what major ways has technology made your job easier in delivering quality products and services?

Today, we are able to provide prospective customers with less “risk” than ever before. With trial versions of our software offerings and free demo periods for our devices, users are able to see how the solutions we propose will work within their environment before purchasing. In addition, webinars have been exceedingly helpful in communicating complex technical applications both externally with clients and internally with our vendor partners.

What does the next wave of technological advancements hold for your business?

I believe we will see even more advances in the world of automation and cloud integration. We have shifted from selling products to selling productivity so we will be focused on ensuring users are more secure in their document handling procedures, have access to their documents quicker, and are able to easily collaborate with fellow team members.

What is your business doing to maximize the next generation of technology for customers?

We are invested in training both our sales and service team so they are able to offer the best solutions available to our clients at the time. We are also ensuring we align ourselves with vendors that understand the importance technological advances play on our customers’ workflows. If we were to get complacent in our knowledge and offerings, our customers’ productivity would suffer and that is a non-starter for us.

How has technology improved your customer support experience?

There have been many advancements over the past couple of years that have allowed us to respond quicker and more effectively to our clients. One is our ability to remote into our customer’s device and automatically update firmware. In addition, we have software that automatically tracks the meters on networked devices we deploy so our customers don’t have to manually send in meter readings each month. Low toner levels and other maintenance-related alerts are now sent directly to our team without customer initiation being necessary. Thanks to these notifications, oftentimes we are able to have toner delivered to customers before they even know they need it.

Does your business employ automation technology, and if so in what capacity?

We utilize automation technology in our service department by having real-time data flowing in and alerting us when we need to make adjustments and take necessary action in the field. Though we welcome automation in most instances, we still believe in a live person answering each call to our organization.

What challenges does your business face with regard to protecting customer data, and what cybersecurity technology do you employ?

Customer data lives within most documents in an organization. It is how you manage the permissions and flow of these documents that make the most difference. We deploy services and applications that safeguard our customers against threats by focusing on the liabilities within their current landscape. Ensuring organizations don’t allow unvetted access to their devices and that they restrict or monitor usage is a key way we advise them to protect their data.

Want to learn to stay ahead of the technology curve and safeguard your data? Give us a call at 800-648-7081 or schedule an appointment with us here.

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Church bulletins are an essential tool for welcoming first-time visitors and members to your church community. Even in the digital age, there is no disputing the church bulletin is an important component in how a church communicates. A study by Thom S. Rainer confirmed that most churches still use some form of a printed bulletin, and most guests expect to be handed something by a greeter when they enter the church.

Also called a worship folder, worship guide, or information guide, these printed pages are likely the one thing visitors and members will take home with them. The professionals at Copiers Plus can help you produce the ideal printed communication for your unique fellowship community. Just like that perfectly-placed tennis serve, they’ll help you to find the ‘sweet spot’ with customized managed print solutions.

Just the Basics

In the era of the 24-hour news cycle and an ever-growing avalanche of social media, we all suffer from information overload. Limiting your church bulletin to the “basics” will help to avoid key frustrations of this medium:

According to an analysis by church management specialist Rich Birch, “The largest churches tended to have the smallest bulletins.” Birch recommends the following “essentials” be included:

That Special Touch

While these standard components are critical, your church’s mission is both universal AND unique; to that end, it’s equally important to deploy language and design that reflects the unique culture and demographics of your congregation. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to shape an overall tone that is loving, welcoming, accepting, and inviting. You may include an Order of Service to guide new-comers, or mission opportunities that highlight your church’s involvement with the community and throughout the world.

No Need to Start from Scratch

Lots of free or low-cost templates for church bulletins are available:

Whether or not your church uses bulletins, Copiers Plus can help your church evaluate and innovate communication strategies for visitors and members. Request an appointment with our team to see how your church can benefit from a communication strategy that is clear and relevant.

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Merriam Webster defines digerati as: persons well versed in computer use and technology. In today’s workplace, this also means you’re a champion of digital transformation—the integration of digital technology into every aspect of operation.

Simply put, digital transformation is about changing the way businesses interact with their customers, finding new ways to provide a consistent and positive experience, whenever and wherever they need it. Industry experts across diverse sectors see exceptional potential in cloud-based digital technologies. Are you ready to take the leap?

Bottom Line: Profitability
Though companies may balk at the initial investment for digital technologies, the payoff is often considerable. MIT reports: “the 25% of firms that excel both in digital intensity and transformation management capabilities are 26% more profitable, generate 9% more revenue from their physical assets, and achieve 12% higher market valuations than other large firms in their industries.”

The Plus Factor: Employee Satisfaction and Engagement
At Copiers Plus, our specialists advise a wide range of corporate and small-business customers on document management and managed print services—always with the goals of increasing revenues and efficiencies. Likewise, they understand digital transformation plays a key role in empowering employees. Nationally, in a recent survey of more than 1,000 employee respondents, 76% reported that having the digital tools they need at work makes them more productive. More than half, 53%, said it makes them more successful. A third said it makes them smarter, and 28% said it makes them happier.

Road Blocks to Change: The Fear Factor
Even so, implementing technological change in the workplace can present significant challenges. Seeing a potential threat to their jobs, it’s understandable that some workers might feel skeptical about the benefits of certain digital technologies. Others, may feel overwhelmed or skittish about the learning curve, especially if decision making and system deployments are conducted off-site, with little or no opportunity for their buy-in.

Do This, Not That

Plan
Organizations should plan carefully before rolling out new digital technology, building in realistic timelines for initial deployment, training, and trouble-shooting.

Assess
Mapping out a digital transformation plan should include a critical assessment of which digital tools employees need to get their jobs done more efficiently. Including employees in this planning phase can help IT specialists to pinpoint deficiencies and better understand where organizations should prioritize improvements.

Communicate Internally
Before implementing a new digital technology, always communicate to staff what is being deployed, why it is being deployed, and how it will affect each individual employee. While this may require tailoring the communication to different staff groups, these efforts are critical to engaging employees and—ultimately—creating the seamless digital transformation you’ve planned for. Further, rather than delivering just one general announcement, industry experts recommend multiple (shorter), intermittent announcements leading up to the technology roll-out.

Train
For a technology deployment to deliver the best possible return on investment, organizations need to ensure that staff are using that technology correctly and channeling its full potential. When workers understand the full range of functionality, the payoff doubles: employees feel higher satisfaction at work and employers assure cost-effectiveness of their investment—a win-win for all.

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