Metro Sales Receives 2017 National Award of Excellence

Metro Sales is pleased to announce that Ricoh has once again recognized us with the National Award of Excellence. Ricoh specifically selected Metro Sales from a group of 400 national independent dealers. The National Award of Excellence recognizes Metro Sales’s stellar sales performance over the course of the year. We would like to thank our customers and Ricoh for making this award possible.

About Metro Sales

With over fifty years of experience, Metro Sales is the leading independent provider of Ricoh office equipment, print software solutions, and service. Whether you’re looking to replace your office devices or improve efficiency, Metro Sales will work with you to develop a custom solution. Our sustained success stems from the emphasis we place on stellar service and support. From our humble beginnings as a small paper and toner sales company, Metro Sales has grown to become the largest independent Ricoh copier dealer in the state of Minnesota. All the while, we’ve remained true to our origins as a locally owned and operated family business. Today, we remain family-owned and are headquartered locally in Minneapolis, MN. Whether you have a single machine or large enterprise of networked fleet of systems, you can count on Metro Sales to deliver superior imaging solutions with award-winning local support.

For more information about Metro Sales and our products contact us via web form or by calling 612-861-4000.

5 Signs That It’s Time for a Print Assessment

Print Assessment

Print assessment benefits

Most organizations already understand that print assessments are extremely beneficial when shopping for a new office technology vendor; print assessments provide insights into your current workflows and help optimize your print fleet. Unfortunately, many organizations only perform a print assessment when they are considering changing print vendors. This misses one of the greatest print assessment opportunities: continued optimization and cost savings. So, when should you revisit your office technology with a print assessment? Here are five signs that it’s time for a print assessment.

You haven’t been tracking device usage

If you’re in this boat, you will want to conduct a print assessment soon. If you don’t know how much you’re spending on printing, then you don’t know if you’re spending too much.

You have been with the same office technology for longer than you can remember

Even if you aren’t looking to change vendors, a fresh set of eyes can also offer additional perspectives and insights into new printing trends or cost-saving ideas. Even if you’re just revisiting strategies with your current vendor, a print assessment can help you strategize for the future.

You are outsourcing print jobs

Plenty of companies outsource large and/or color print jobs because it just isn’t cost-effective for them to invest in a high-quality color printer. We recognized this and developed our overflow copy center for companies that weren’t ready to bring that production in-house. However, what originally prevented you from investing in a high-quality color printer may not be applicable anymore. In fact, it may even be cheaper to bring some of those print jobs in-house now! Color costs have decreased dramatically and if your organization has grown in size or profitability, then an in-house device may make more sense.

Your IT Department has changed

Whether it’s a change in leadership or a department restructure, a change in your IT Department is a good indicator that is time to audit your print fleet. Doing so ensures your revised IT Department is familiar with your fleet and it allows fresh eyes to have an opportunity to examine your fleet for inefficiencies.

Your office is overflowing with paper documents

A print technology assessment isn’t all about the equipment. Our office technology experts also analyze workflows to simplify document storage. We provide solutions like OCR capabilities and document scanning technology to help your office thrive in today’s digital world.

Ready for your free print assessment? Fill out our office technology assessment form or call us at (612) 861-4000.

4 Useful Ricoh Integrated Cloud Environment (ICE) Features

Ricoh Integrated Cloud Environment

Why Ricoh Integrated Cloud Environment?

As the workplace evolves, the technology supporting document management and printing will change with it. Today, mobile printing and cloud access are must-haves for businesses looking to maximize workplace efficiency and productivity. Unfortunately, many businesses are dismayed either by the cost or the lack of all-in-one print software solutions available.

That’s where Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment (ICE) comes in. ICE is a basic all-in-one solution to a number of modern office document management and printing needs. Below are four useful Ricoh features your office can put to use immediately.

Scan-to-Cloud

If your office is moving towards storing documents on the cloud, Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment offers a convenient scan-to-cloud feature. With it, you can quickly scan your documents from your MFP directly into cloud programs including Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Office 365, Evernote and SharePoint.

Optical Character Recognition

ICE’s optical character recognition feature is great for both companies with an extensive electronic document filing system already in place and those just looking to dip their toe into electronic document management. ICE’s optical character recognition feature will convert the text in your physical documents into searchable and editable digital documents, making it easier to manage, share, and secure these documents.

Secure Print Release

Ricoh ICE also provides basic secure printing without additional access cards or fobs. Simply email your documents to print@iceprintcloud.com and enter the release code you receive back into any Ricoh ICE printer. ICE’s secure print release feature is great for office’s looking to avoid printer waste or install a simple secure print solution.

Mobile Printing

The email method outlined above also allows you to easily print documents from any phone or laptop, even if you aren’t connected to your office’s network. Simply send these documents via email to the printer, and pick them up whenever you are ready. No need to worry about someone else taking your documents before you arrive.

Where to get Ricoh Integrated Cloud Environment

ICE’s features extend far beyond the four components outlined above. Ricoh also has designed specialized packages for numerous industries, like legal and education, that offer unique features needed in that field. For example, ICE can provide a Bates stamping function for law firms.

Are you ready to see how Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment can benefit your business? Contact our office technology experts today by filling out our contact form or call (612) 861-4000 for immediate assistance.

5 Low-Cost Tips to Improve Color Print Quality

improve color print quality

Can I Improve Color Print Quality Without Buying a New Printer?

Customers commonly ask if we have any low-cost tips to improve color print quality. While investing in a new multifunction printer is the quickest way to improve color print quality, there are some other low-cost measures you can institute today to increase color quality. Here our five tips you can use right away to get more consistent color production from your current office printer.

Print Resolution

This technique one is pretty simple. Most print jobs you create on your computer default to a standard print dpi, which may not be the highest quality your printer has available. To fix this, increase the print resolution to the maximum dpi option in the print dialog screen.

Software

Software can also make a huge difference in improving color print quality. Certain print software packages feature settings designed to maximum color production quality. Ask your office technology dealer what software and print drivers they recommend to increase color print quality.

Color Mode

Furthermore, when printing documents on CMYK printers, it is important to ensure that you are creating your documents in CMYK color mode. How you change this setting depends on the software program you are using to create the document, but you can usual find directions online using a simple Google search.

Monitors

This tip may not directly improve the quality of your document, but it can help you get more consistent color results. Often the differences between the colors you see on your computer screen and the final printed document are caused by inaccurate color production on the monitor itself. This is especially true for older monitors. One cost-effective solution to this problem is to calibrate your monitor color settings to match the colors on a printed test document. Doing so ensures that the colors you see on your screen are the similar to those on your color prints.

Paper Type

Don’t overlook paper quality; substandard paper leads to substandard color print quality. Often, excessive color bleeding or dullness can be attributed to poor quality paper. Regular copier paper, for example, is ill-suited to production-quality color documents. Talk to your paper supplier about the paper options that are available.

Additional Strategies to Improve Color Print Quality

Looking for additional strategies to improve color production? Contact our office product specialist to learn more about our printing software and color devices. Fill out our contact form or call us at (612) 861-4000.

How to create a HIPAA Compliant Office: Printers & Copiers

HIPAA Compliance

Unfortunately, one of the biggest shortcomings we see when working with healthcare organizations is a lack of attention to the role that printing technology plays in HIPAA compliance. In fact, office printing technology is often the weakest link in an organization’s HIPAA compliance efforts. Here are three ways you can improve the security of your print fleet and move closer to HIPAA compliance.

Note: This post is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.

Secure physical access

Where your devices are located should be your first consideration. Ideally, your devices should be in a location where they are only accessible to team members who are authorized to see protected information. Creating different spheres of access for HIPAA-regulated information will prevent inadvertent exposure to non-approved team members.

Hard Drive Destruction/Removal

Most multifunctional printers, copiers and fax machines have hard drives that store images of the documents you print, scan or fax. Unfortunately, this can often create security vulnerabilities. When your device is returned to a leasing company, disposed of, or sold, there is a risk that someone could the images on that hard drive. There are two steps you can take to prevent this. First, use encryption to secure access these images. Second, when you finish using your device or the hard drive within it, make sure to wipe the hard drive and/or destroy it.

If you are leasing your device, ask your office technology provider what their policy is for hard drive security. Usually, vendors working with healthcare organizations have a special selection of printers that meet HIPAA security standards and a policy about destroying used hard drives.

Secure print release

Secure print release offers another form of security, especially if restricting physical access to shared devices is impossible. With secure print release, you can set up your printers to only print documents when someone enters their individual access code or swipes a security badge/fob.

Is your office technology the weakest link in your HIPAA compliance? We are ready to help! Our team of healthcare document management experts will audit your current processes and develop a custom solution to maximize the security of your documents. Get in touch by filling out our contact form or calling us at 612-861-4000.

How to Choose the Best Printer Repair Service

best printer repair service in MN

How to Choose the Best Printer Repair Service

You have finally had enough; the printer repair service you’ve been using is slow, gives you poor customer service and doesn’t value your business anymore. You’re ready to move on and get the service you deserve. Congratulations on taking this first step! Whether you are here in the Midwest or somewhere beyond our service area, we are committed to helping you find the best printer repair service.

Choosing a new printer repair service can be daunting, especially if you have been burned by poor service in the past. To make things easier, we’ve put together a list of criteria you can use to find the best printer repair service near you.

Service Response Time Guarantee

It almost seems like a no-brainer, but we are always surprised by how many of our new customers come from a printer repair service that doesn’t offer a service response time guarantee. Ask potential vendors about their service response time and what happens if they fail to live up to any promise. If they don’t have a service guarantee or aren’t willing to back up their talk, you are better off looking elsewhere. At Metro Sales, we commit to a three-hour service response time guarantee during business hours for our Twin Cities locations. The best printer repair services will always commit to four hours or less.

Technician Experience and Training

Next, you should inquire about the printer repair service technicians on staff. Ask for statistics about technician training and experience. The more experienced the staff, the quicker they will likely be in diagnosing and fixing any problems you may have. Additionally, look at what network environments, device types or software packages they are certified for. Too often, we get customers who come from a printer repair service that did not have a technician certified in their network environment or trained on their specific device. Having an experienced technician one call away is a great way to ensure your office is always running at peak efficiency.

How will you place a service call?

Another aspect to consider is how you will be required to place your service calls. Ideally, you will want to find a vendor with some flexibility in how you can place service calls. While most companies allow you to place service calls over the phone, many still haven’t caught up to the internet era. Working with one of these companies means you won’t be able to place a service call via the internet or over email. Look for a company with a dedicated internet user portal for service calls. This simplifies the process by saving important device information and allowing you to place a service call at any time.

Locations

You should also look at where the printer repair service has its nearest branch office. While companies will often claim that they cover entire states or regions, the reality is that they usually only have one location in a major metropolitan area. If you choose a company that exaggerates its service area and you live somewhere outstate, you could end up waiting a long time for service. Try to find a vendor with a branch near your location. Or, if you have more than one location, look at where the company’s printer repair service locations are in your state. Even if they cover your current area needs, consider your long-term expansion goals and whether this printer repair service can realistically provide service to any new expansion locations.

Parts Inventory

“I’ll have to order that part since we don’t currently have it in stock.” Unfortunately, you have probably heard those dreaded words a few times already. Suddenly, how long your printer is out of service depends on the shipping time of a part sitting in a warehouse halfway across the country. We get it; nothing is more frustrating than a service call which ends with you being told that you will have to make time for another service call.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Many vendors have taken the proactive step of stocking parts in-house and constantly updating their inventory to ensure the needed parts are always in stock. For example, we carry over $4 million worth of parts in our local Minnesota warehouse. This means that the right part to fix your device is almost always on-hand. When looking for the best printer repair service, ask potential vendors about their warehouse inventory and parts on-hand.

Google Reviews

A company’s Google reviews can be a wealth of information. While service awards are always impressive, Google reviews provide unbiased insight into how current customers perceive the company. From these reviews, you will learn about how well the company lives up to their service guarantee, their level of professionalism and the expertise of their service staff. In addition, look at how the company engages with their online reviews. If you see a company that is responding to reviews and taking steps to address negative customer feedback, then treat this as a positive sign that they will take your business seriously. Here is a good example of how a printer repair service can actively engage with customer reviews.

However, if the company ignores negative reviews, or even worse, doesn’t have any, then you should be skeptical about some of their claims. While printer repair services will usually provide customer testimonials upon request, these customers are usually handpicked by the company to provide you with the most favorable impression.

Looking for the best printer repair service in the Minnesota and Wisconsin? Fill out our contact form and learn how our award-winning service staff can help you get more out of your office equipment. Alternatively, call (612) 861-4000 to talk to a local service expert right now!

Benefits of a Wide Format Printer

benefits of wide format printer

The State of Wide Format Printing

Almost every business today has at least one printer capable of producing standard sized documents. But today’s documents come in all shapes or sizes. From construction plans to school banners, modern workplace document needs often transcend traditional print sizes.

Historically, this has meant sending these specialized wide format projects to a print shop and paying them a premium. While this may make sense for smaller organizations, many businesses can benefit by investing in their own wide format printer. And with the continued decrease in wide format costs, it is now more affordable than ever to do so!

Do I need a wide format printer?

In deciding whether to you need a wide format printer, you should consider your current wide format projects. For example, how often do you send specialty projects such as banners, blueprints, large photographs, or marketing posters to an outside print shop? If you are doing so more than a couple times a year, then you will likely benefit by bringing that production in-house with a wide format device.

What industry are you in?

The second aspect you will want to examine are the needs of your industry. While most businesses can benefit from a wide format device, there are four main industries that will see the greatest return on their investment.

Construction/Architecture

Those in construction or architecture use large format printers to create large format documents like blueprints or construction models. These large format documents make it easier to communicate plans internally and with potential clients.

Education

If you are in education, a wide format device is the perfect way to print banners for special events or activities. A wide format printer makes it easy to show support for your local team or communicate your next big school event.

Advertising

In advertising, a wide format printer gives you the ability to print mock-ups of advertisements. Having a draft ready will add clarity to your presentations and sales pitches.

Photographers

A wide format printer can give you a way to share your work with others if you are a photographer or artist.

Where to buy a wide format printer?

Want to learn more about our expansive selection of wide format printers? Check out our wide format print catalog or contact one of our office technology experts.

Still on the fence? If you are printing wide format documents, but are not ready to invest in your own wide format device, consider partnering with our commercial printing services center. We will take care of your projects for you at a competitive price.

Benefits of an Electronic Document Management System in 2018

electronic document management system in 2018

Electronic Document Management Systems in 2018

Happy New Year! As 2017 comes to an end, you are probably beginning the annual process of identifying your 2018 New Year’s resolutions. Whether you are beginning a brand-new project or tackling an old idea with renewed focus, the new year is a great time to step back and revisit your goals.

It’s no different in business; the start of the new year is the ideal time re-examine your priorities for 2018. As you do so, you should consider adding one goal to your organization’s 2018 plan: developing an electronic document management system (edms).

An electronic document management system is used to store and index an organization’s crucial documents. This process makes it easier to organize and retrieve these documents down the road. But why is an electronic document management system so important? Below are three crucial reasons to support adding document management to your list of New Year’s resolutions.

Already have an document management system in place? Congratulations, you are well on your way to a successful 2018! Consider a system audit or making it easier to continuously convert paper documents to electronic files as a 2018 goal.

Security

One of the best parts about moving your records and files into an electronic document management system is enhanced security from both employee carelessness and natural disasters. Storing your documents electronically makes it impossible for your employees to accidentally throw away or destroy an important document. Plus, cloud storage solutions prevent your records from being lost to a natural disaster such as a building fire. With electronic document management, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing that your documents are secure.

Compliance

We see it all the time: an organization faced with a lawsuit spends hours combing through the entirety of their records to locate one crucial files. The whole process leaves them feeling like they’re trying to find a needle in a haystack. Furthermore, if they can’t locate that specific document, their organization usually ends up losing a lot of money.

An electronic document management system helps you store and organize documents in a way that makes them easy to locate. This organization is crucial if you are facing a lawsuit, deal in patient records or must adhere industry record storage compliance measures.

Collaboration

What do you do when two or more employees need the same document at the same time? How about when an employee is working offsite? Or when an employee wants to edit a document and add notes? These tasks cause headaches if you are storing your files exclusively in a physical format. Those headaches go away with an electronic document management system.

Scanning, indexing and uploading files to your electronic document management system enables multiple employees to share and edit documents at the same time. This ease-of-access improves real-time collaboration between your employees and has a positive effect on overall office productivity.

Now What?

Check our document conversion guide if you want to convert paper documents to electronic files but aren’t sure where to start. You can also contact our document scanning team to discuss next steps. We look forward to assisting you in achieving your 2018 document management goals!

How to Convert Paper Documents to Electronic Files

Convert Paper Documents to Electronic Files

Best Practices to Convert Paper Documents to Electronic Files

You have finally decided that it is time for your office to go paperless. Maybe the triggering event was a lawsuit that required you to comb through your files for one document or the sudden realization that fire could destroy every important corporate record that you own. In any case, having decided to go paperless, you’re left with one important question: how do I convert paper documents to electronic files?

The move to electronic document management can seem daunting. After all, how are you supposed to convert, index and organize the thousands of files currently sitting around your company’s office? Furthermore, after you’ve converted these files how can you securely dispose of sensitive paper files and records?

Below, we’ve outlined our best practices to make it easy to convert paper documents to electronic files.

Stage One: Backfile Scanning

The conversion process begins with backfile document scanning. In this phase, you will want to scan, index and organize all your existing documents. The easiest way to do this is to engage a document scanning service to do the work for you. A document scanning service will take your documents and scan them into the electronic format of your choice.

What to Look For

Inquire about secure shredding services beforehand. Not all document scanning service will shred your documents for you. Some require that you dispose of the files on your own. Look for a scanning company that offers in-house document shredding. This way, when the service finishes to steps necessary convert paper documents to electronic files, they can securely shred your sensitive documents on-site for you.

You will also want to find a scanning service that makes it easy to ship your files or will pick your documents up on site. This reduces the logistical headache of trying to to get your files to your conversation partner.

Finally, you should consider beforehand whether your industry has any special document security standards, such HIPAA compliance. If it does, then you will want to find a document scanning service that meets those unique compliance standards.

Stage Two: Add the Files to an Enterprise Content Management System

After a scanning service has converted your documents, they will need to be added to an electronic document management system. This will allow your employees to search and edit your files electronically. There are a few options available for this process and you will want to consultant with document management expert in order to find the best solution for your office’s unique needs. For example, a common solution we often recommend for businesses is ImageSilo.

Stage Three: Day Forward Scanning

You finally have all of your documents scanned, indexed and stored in your new electronic document management system. Now what should you when you create a new physical document that you need to convert into an electronic file? In this case, you have two options available.

First, you can add an OCR capable device to your office. Many of these devices, when coupled with the appropriate document management software solution, will enable you to convert your own documents and index them in your electronic document management system. This is ideal for organizations looking to convert the occasional physical document into an electronic file.

If you have a lot of documents, or you’re creating new physical documents on a regular basis, you may want to partner with a document scanning service for timed document conversions. This allows you to convert your newly created document to electronic files at regular intervals and add them to your electronic document management system.

Now What?

After reading this article, you may be thinking that that process required to convert paper documents to electronic files requires a lot of vendor management, contract negotiation, and bid requests. While that’s true if you use a traditional company that specializes solely in either document scanning, document management software, or office printing devices, it doesn’t have to work that way. The key is to look look for an all-in-one partner who can guide your scanning project from start to finish. Not only does this make the billing process easier, but it also increases accountability and simplicity.

If you’re looking for that unique vendor with significant expertise in each area, then look no further than Metro Sales. With over fifty years of experience and knowledgeable experts in each of these three critical areas, we are uniquely positioned to help you with any scanning project, no matter how large or small.

Contact us today at (612) 861-4000 or via our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

6 Vital Questions to Ask When Choosing a Print Software Program

Print Software

Print software can have an enormous impact on your business. From reducing printing costs, managing print permissions or monitoring device usage, print management software has a variety of possible uses. However, this broad array of functionality can make choosing the right print management software package daunting.

That’s why our print software experts put together a list of questions you can ask when looking add a print management software program to your print environment. By answering these questions, you will be able to clearly communicate your needs when talking to a potential software provider.

What do you want to track?

Are you looking to monitor basic usage across your whole fleet or do you want a program that can track use by device and/or department? Certain software solutions have more in-depth features that add greater tracking capabilities.

What is the size of your print fleet?

If you have just one printer in your office, then the software you will need will be much different than an organization with 500+ devices.

Is secure printing important?

Compliance is an important word in today’s business world. With everything from HIPAA to privacy standards, many organizations have realized that their printers are the weakest link in their security chain. If this is a concern you have, then your best-fit print software needs to have features like secure print release or pull printing.

Do you have environmental sustainability metrics?

Organizations looking to go green or reduce paper waste often use print software to monitor usage and look for opportunities to eliminate paper waste. Furthermore, fleet management options often include the ability to enforce fleet-wide options, such as default black and white or duplex printing. If environmental impact is important to you, ask for a software with these features.

Do you need to convert existing documents into a digital format?

Keeping track off a trove of paper documents can be time and space consuming. Converting your records into a digital format with OCR technology can prevent headaches down the road when you are trying to locate a specific document. If you have a lot of paper document or records you want to convert, you will want a software package with built-in OCR capabilities

Does your industry have unique compliance standards?

Some professions, such as healthcare or legal services have special compliance or document management procedures. For example, legal services often require a print management software, like GlobalScan NX™, with built-in Bates stamping abilities.

Are you ready to add print software to your office’s arsenal of tools? Our office technology experts will work with you to find a print management software tailored to your individual needs and budget. Contact us today to get started!