Copier Industry Vocab Lesson

March 01, 2023 | Kyle Kopp

It's come to our attention that not everyone is an expert in the business solutions world of copiers and printers.  I know, "gasp".  We've decided as a result of this revelation to launch a new sub-series in our blog called "The Document Dr."  where we take the opportunity to fill in the knowledge gaps that may exist between our world and the world of those who don't eat, breath and sleep toner particals.

Our hope is that as this series continues, readers like you will take the time to engage with us and share your own questions about your equipment, your service contract or anything related to your printing, scanning and copying experience.  We can then use your real questions and answer them for you in a future post.

Today, though, we're going to start off with an easy lesson that was actually brought to us by one of our own.  Joining Advanced Office in December, our new Sales Administrator, Isha Pasari, found herself quickly overwhelmed with foreign words and mysterious acronyms as this was her first venture into our industry.  

Profile pic 2

Eager to learn she kept a record of everything she heard that was new to her, and we walked through what each of them meant as it related to the world of multi-function printing.  Now, for your reading and educational pleasure, we present you the list of common industry acronyms and what the heck they stand for:


An "MFP" refers to a multi-function printer.  This is the common name of what most people still call their copier (or Xerox if you're the kind of person who calls all tissues "Kleenex").  The reason for calling it an MFP is that, as of the mid-90's, these devices are no longer just capable of copying a document and producing a replica.  Now they have the capability of direct printing, scanning to data files and even faxing.  And yes, some people still do fax.  Because of all these capacities it's no longer accurate to label them just "a copier" and "multi-function printer" doesn't roll off the tongue smoothly in everyday conversation, thus "MFP" was born.


"MPS" while similar sounding to MFP, actually refers to Managed Print Solutions.  This is a service and support contract that covers an entire printer fleet for supplies and technical support.


Document Managed Workflow, or "DMW", is the movement from physical documents to electronic documents and the tools and process to manage that digital paperwork conversion, transfer, storage and retrieval.  According to Statista, as much as 62% of companies have moved to a cloud based, digital documentation process and as many as 80% of employees have expressed interest or desire to move to digital sharing platforms.  Even more amazing, studies have reported business that move to a paperless, or even just a "less paper" set up, have saved as much as $8.55 per dollar spent on their DMW tools.  Would you like to see a real case study on how DMW can help improve efficiency and eliminate burden with departments such as HR?


"CRM" is not an exclusive term for our industry, but actually quite common in any organization that engages with a customer base.  It stands for Customer Relationship Management and refers to the tool that allows a business to successfully track, manage and support its client base.


"PPM" stands for Page Per Minute.  This is the way that we gauge how quickly a device can output it's print jobs.  This is similar to MPH or Miles Per Hour in your car.  If a device has 55PPM, it means it can print out 55 sheets, or prints, in a 60 second time span.  A typical Multi-Funciton Printer for a standard office space will have a PPM between 25 and 75 pages per minute.  For environments that need faster output, we would consider them "production" environments, and for those we'd look at Production device which can run upwards of 110PPM in black and white and 70PPM in color.


"CPC" is another measurement tool, but it pertains to cost of printing.  CPC stands for Cost Per Copy and is the rate that a customer would pay for every print job run through the machine.  This rate is calculated based on the specific devices costs for supplies and maintenance so it can fluctuate from device to device.  But if you had a CPC of $0.01, it means you would pay a penny for every page that is printed on your device.  Most maintenance contracts will calculate a fixed "base" payment which provides an allowable pool of copies or prints to use for the period, then anything printed over that amount will be charged at a CPC for each additional print.  Lowering the CPC is the easies way to lower your monthly costs on printing, and a large component of that is "right-sizing" your fleet.  This means making sure you have the right equipment in place for what your printing.  You may have a device that's much more expensive to run that you realize, and swapping that out for a more efficient and cost effective unit could see a dramatic savings in what you're spending.  Would you like to have a free assessment of your fleet to make sure it's best suited for your needs and budget?


"CPP" is a sister term for CPC and is primarily only used in print-only devices rather than copy capable units.  CPP means Cost Per Print.


"CPO" is another term that is not exclusive to our industry, but often seen in the automobile industry as well.  CPO stands for Certified Pre-Owned.  This means the device is not brand new out of the box but has been run through a series of tests and refurbishments to qualify it as like-new quality and a tier above a used machine.  At Advanced Office, we have a very stringent process to certify our CPO equipment.  You can see more about what that looks like here.


Just like the others, "REFI" is an acronym used across multiple industries, but mostly those in finance and loans.  REFI means "refinance" and is used when a customer has an existing lease and wishes to extend for an additional term rather than upgrade or buyout the equipment.


"DCA" stands for Data Collection Agent.  While this may sound like someone you encounter coming back through customs, this is actually a tool that we use to monitor and support devices via a network connection to our systems.  A DCA resides on a customer's system and allows devices to report things like meter reads, service alerts and toner status so that our teams can react in support without your teams needing to take action.  We can automate meter reads using the DCA so you don't have to call in and provide.  We can also automate toner shipment based on your current levels using this same tool. The primary DCA we use for our customers is called FM Audit.


Once you've gotten a DCA installed and running, now you're ready to discuss an ATR program.  "ATR" refers to an Automated Toner Replenishment program.  Using the information from your DCA, alerts can be created for low or decreasing toner levels.  With the help of algorithms established in the DCA, your device can then predict when it will run out of supplies based on the real time printing habits and order new supplies on your behalf.  That means your teams no longer have to manage toners stored in a backroom, or even call up our Customer Experience team to request supplies be shipped out.  Toners will arrive a few weeks before they need to be installed removing the headache and giving you time to focus on other things in your business.


"MIF" stands for "Machines In Field" and provides us a measurement statistic on how many devices we have in place at the various customers which we are responsible for servicing and supporting.


"CYMK" is your typical color cartridge combination.  On your color MFP you'll have one Cyan cartridge (C), one Yellow cartridge (Y), one Magenta cartridge (M) and one Black cartridge (K).  Combined, these four colors will create your entire spectrum in color prints.  Now I'm not going to go into why your blue cartridge is called "cyan" and your pink cartridge is "magenta", nor will I explain why black is designated with a "K"; sometimes you just have to accept that the world makes no sense.  Of course, once your done with any of these cartridges, it's best to explore your options for recycling them and ensuring they don't end up in a landfill somewhere.


You probably noticed right away that this is not an acronym.  Very perceptive. "Yield" refers to the expected performance of a toner or ink cartridge and provides a reasonable expectation of how many prints can be run on that particular supply.  This is most relatable to MPG or Miles Per Gallon in your car.  The same way your minivans MPG can fluctuate based on how, when, and where you drive, yield can also vary based on what you're printing.  Industry standards for a published yield are based on 5% coverage of your document - meaning toner or ink coverage makes up 5% of the surface area per toner color (for CYMK devices that's 20% total coverage because all four cartridges are used).  This is your average printed document.  Should you print heavy in images or large areas of solid coverage, that could quickly use more toner than anticipated and you might find yourself running short of that published yield.  This is why, if your environment prints a lot like I just described, you may encounter questions when ordering supplies. Our customer experience team is trying to understand why the toner is being used up quicker than the device meters suggest, based on the published yield.  Often a quick explanation of what you're printing or how you're using the device will put those questions to rest.

Ok, so we've thrown a lot at you, more than you probably ever cared to know.  Hopefully this lesson has been valuable for you.  If not, let us know what questions you still have and we'll be happy to answer them in a future post.

Got A Question for the Doctor?