3 Buried Costs of Your Company's Legacy Fax Machines

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eFax Corporate

It’s 2019 and for one reason or another, your company still has fax machines in the office that you have to support. If I asked you, right now, to list the costs of operating your company’s fax machines, what would you say?

I actually have a pretty good idea, because we at eFax Corporate ask this question all the time to businesses that approach us about upgrading their fax infrastructure from paper and the telephone network. Every corporate IT department immediately thinks of the easy ones: dedicated fax lines, fax paper, ink cartridges, that sort of thing. We all know that those add up, with phone lines costing on average $720 per year for each connected fax machine or printer, and laser printing costs of 2-2.5 cents per page.

Some IT pros will dig a little deeper and think of less-obvious costs—for example, fax maintenance contracts, and the expense of calling someone in to fix a failing machine.

But very few IT teams we speak with think of the indirect—but significant—costs their companies incur on a regular basis by continuing to operate legacy fax machines. Consider these:

1. Employees stuck in the slow process of sending or receiving paper faxes.

For employees to send a fax, they have to print the document, grab those pages from the printer, and take them to the fax machine (or reinsert them into the multifunction printer), where they’ll dial the recipient’s number and wait until they hear the horrible sound that indicates the two machines have connected. Then: more waiting, as the employee stands over the fax until the final page has been transmitted and the machine spits out a delivery confirmation. From there, the employee will have to either physically file the hard copy or destroy it.

That might not sound like much—maybe only 5 to 10 minutes of one employee’s time? But multiply this by the number of faxes your company sends and receives (those also take time) every day, week, or month. Now you can see how this is costing your company real money, both in staff pay and in the opportunity costs of the more productive ways your employees could be spending that time. Consider what your employees are paid per hour and add that to the cost of every fax they have to handle—it really adds up!

fax labor costs table for blogv2

And don’t forget: this all assumes everything goes according to plan on your employee’s first attempt to send that fax. The situation gets worse if:

  • Your employee has to wait in line for a turn at the fax machine
  • There’s a paper jam
  • The recipient’s fax line is busy and your employee has to keep checking back to see if the auto-redialed fax ever went through.
  • The fax machine’s supply of paper or ink is empty and needs to be replaced

2. Employees in the field who have to drop everything and come to the office to receive or send an important fax.

When your company’s fax capabilities are tied to a physical fax machine, an important fax can severely disrupt the work schedule of a field sales rep who has to return to your office to receive or send a fax that could contain a construction bid or RFP (many of which still routinely arrive by fax in certain industries).

Very few businesses think of it this way, but that fax machine could be costing your sales reps several prospect calls a week. Or, if an employee decides instead to stick to a schedule of meetings in the field, and leave an important fax—say, a purchase order—unanswered on your office fax machine, it could cost your company a sale.

Running back and forth to your offices to deal with faxes could even be undermining your business’s reputation, if it results in your employees arriving late to appointments or having to reschedule them altogether.

3. IT team is forced to waste time and resources troubleshooting fax machine problems.

Let’s also not forget that whenever an employee experiences a paper jam at the fax machine, needs help replacing an ink drum, or isn’t sure the fax document actually went through, they’re calling your IT team. That means time and attention that could be spent on forward-looking initiatives is instead spent troubleshooting twentieth-century technology.

This is why one of the most insidious costs of maintaining your company’s legacy fax infrastructure is your IT department’s own limited resources, which you’re probably devoting far more of than you should to handling employees’ fax complaints.

The solution to all these needless costs (not to mention lots of other problems): cloud faxing. 

The good news is that your company can eliminate all these unnecessary expenses, drains on staff productivity, and IT department headaches—by outsourcing your entire faxing infrastructure to a trusted enterprise cloud fax provider, so employees can send and receive faxes from their desktop, laptop, or even from a mobile device. 

And how often do documents containing sensitive contracts, proposals, or financial data get left on the output tray for someone to see—or swipe? This not-uncommon occurrence can be completely eliminated with online faxes going direct to your desktop.

To learn more about how easy cloud fax migration can be, how much it can benefit your company—and how smart you’re going to look for coming up with the idea—read our white paper: Why Your Legacy Fax Infrastructure Costs More Than You Think.

Then, let’s talk about your company’s move to cloud fax.