It seems that everything today has the option to be automated. You want your house automatically vacuumed every day? Roomba. You want your toilet paper automatically ordered and delivered on a regular basis? Talk to Walmart.com. You want your bills paid, your lawn watered nightly and your cat fed daily? Trust me, they can be automated as well.
So the question we continue to get from end users is:
"Why is it I have to call in for toner on my copier every time I need it?"
Great question. Honestly, we are wondering the same thing. For several years now, Advance Office has offered Automatic Toner Replenishment. Our customers who sign up for this program have become accustomed to their toner showing up onsite a week or so before the machine starts asking for a replacement without anyone from their teams having to ask for it. So, why not you too?
How it works:
Using reporting information from your machine in the field, we use algorithms to model when the toner will be completely consumed based on actual usage. Using this information, we automatically trigger supplies to ship, so that they arrive a week or two before they will be needed. This eliminates the need for your teams to manually call in and order supplies, as well as the need to stockpile extra supplies onsite for emergencies. All our supplies ship from Southern California and are never more than one to two business days away. Most supplies arrive when the toner level in the machine is approximately 20%, providing a comfortable buffer before they need to be installed.
How do you sign up?
For the toner automation process to work, Advanced Office first needs to be able to accurately “see” the machine over your network. This will allow us to monitor the supplies, so we know the proper time to send out a replacement. This is done using a Data Collection Agent (DCA) installed on system with access to your server. Any networked device will be able to report via that channel. For more information on how the DCA works or to get it set up so you can start automating your supplies, reach out to our Customer Experience team.
What does it automate?
Currently, ATR is only available for toner. Additional supplies like staples, drums and other consumables will still need to be called in as needed, as these items lack the necessary chip technologies to properly report their levels over the DCA. Additionally, service requirements will also have to be called in as needed.
What is the DCA?
A Data Collection Agent (DCA) automatically performs print assessments, and monitors consumable levels and printer status. This application is installed at the customer site with access to their network and can perform print assessments automatically on a scheduled basis without human intervention. The data captured is sent to the Central website using HTTPS, HTTP, or if the customer prefers a propriety encrypted file. The DCA that we use at Advanced Office is called FM Audit.
Should my IT Team be concerned about installing this?
FM Audit files have been digitally signed to prevent execution if the file integrity is compromised. This ensures that any virus that may be present is not activated and prevents spreading the virus from one network to another. Additionally, FM Audit Onsite communicates with FM Audit Central by sending an encoded XML stream over port 80 or 443 using the SOAP over HTTP(s) protocol. Confidential data is not collected, viewed, or saved by any FM Audit application as only printer-related data is collected and viewed and no other network data can be identified or collected by FM Audit. If it's helpful, your IT team can review the FM Audit White Paper report here.
If you and your team have additional questions, please reach out to your account rep or our Customer Experience team for further conversations on how ATR works and how to get enrolled in the program.