In most office environments, workers aren’t chained to a desk like they used to be. With Wifi, laptops, smartphones and virtual meetings, people are on the move, working from wherever they are. So why are we still tying them to a default office printer? With today’s sophisticated multifunction printers, there’s a better way. It’s called follow-me print.
What is follow-me print?
Follow-me print, also known as pull-printing, allows people to “pull” their print job from any printer that’s convenient and compatible with the print job. Here’s how it works:
- When you print, your document is stored in a cloud-based print queue.
- When you are ready to pick up the print job, you go to a convenient printer and enter your access code or swipe a card.
- Your document prints, and you’re on your way.
Let’s look at how this feature improves office printing.
Follow-me print improves mobility and security
The “default” printer model no longer works for today’s office. Here are some common situations when follow-me print works better:
Offices that do LOTS of printing. At certain types of businesses (such as law firms), the printers really get a workout. When someone is printing many copies of a large document, that printer may be tied up for a while. Why should others have to wait? With follow-me print, they can just walk over to another printer and pick up their print job.
When a printer goes down. Even the most reliable printers go down sometimes. Also, paper runs out, toner runs out, and paper gets jammed. Why should that slow down work? Follow-me print lets people retrieve their print jobs elsewhere.
Printing sensitive information. In certain types of jobs and environments, people worry about keeping their printed jobs private and secure. Again, law firms come to mind, as well as medical environments. Using follow-me print adds security to office printing. That’s because every employee must use a code or a card to retrieve their print jobs. So there is no need to worry about printing to a shared printer… the printed document will never be left unattended. With secure pull printing, the document prints when the user arrives to retrieve it.
Delegated printing. Does your company have multiple offices? And assistants who support traveling executives or salespeople? Using follow-me print, support staff can print presentation materials from one location, and the executive can pick them up in another.
Schools and universities. Follow-me print works great in schools where students move around campus all day. They can print a document and pick it up at the nearest printer.
Co-working and flexible office spaces. Especially here in New York City where office space costs a fortune, co-working and flexible offices are becoming common. In these office spaces, everyone uses shared amenities such as printers. But they are not always sitting in the same spot. Workers might sit at a different desk every day. Or use a different conference room. Follow-me print lets them use the printer that’s convenient no matter where they are.
What do you need to set up follow-me print in your office?
If you’ve got modern, multifunction printers (MFPs) in your office, you might already have the software needed to follow-me printing.
Most printer & copier manufacturers offer pull printing solutions as part of their print management software. We highly recommend the uniFLOW solution from Canon, the industry leader in office printing.
If you have MFPs from more than one manufacturer, you can also use a brand-agnostic print management solution like PaperCut.
Here’s what you don’t need: a dedicated print server. Your IT staff will be happy to hear that you can now set up serverless pull printing.
3 tips for success with follow-me print
While it’s not difficult to set up follow-me printing in your office, there are a few best practices you should know about.
Print driver setup. Keep in mind that users will need the right print drivers set up on their computers so they can print to any shared device. It’s especially important if you have printers from multiple manufacturers.
Use rules-based routing. Here’s another potential issue to keep in mind. Workers can retrieve a printed document only from a compatible printer. For example, they can’t get a color print job from a black-and-white copier. Or an 11″x17″ document from a printer that only has letter-sized paper.
So what can you do to let users know where they can pick up their print jobs? Use rules-based routing to set up alerts. This is another feature that’s part of print management solutions like uniFLOW and PaperCut. Using rules-based routing, you can create a pop-up message that tells workers which printers support their print job.
Set up auto delete for abandoned print jobs. Sometimes people print and then forget to pick up the document (or don’t need it after all). That’s why businesses without secure pull printing waste a lot of money on unnecessary printing.
When you use follow-me and secure printing, those abandoned jobs won’t actually print. However, you’ll want to keep your cloud-based print queue from getting clogged with old jobs. You can set them to automatically delete if not picked up within a specified time period.
Follow-me print is part of a larger process called managed printing, which can save you a lot of money on print expenses. Read these case study article to learn more: Managed Printing Saves Thousands on Office Print Costs.
Are you ready to improve your employee’s printing experience, add security and even save money on wasted printing? Find out how by getting a free office print assessment.