Trends article - Devices

Multifunctional device trends: changes afoot?

JOHANNESBURG – May 20, 2014 – In recent years, most organisations have deployed multifunctional devices (MFDs) to replace inefficient single-function printers, copiers, scanners and fax machines. These devices incorporate printing, copying, scanning and faxing into a single integrated unit to consolidate assets, reduce costs, save space and improve productivity. And, when it comes to MFDs, companies can choose from a range of units that perform at various speeds and paper formats to meet print, copy, scanning, faxing requirements throughout all levels of the enterprise.

However, Marc Pillay, managing director of DEVELOP South Africa, a division of the Bidvest Group Limited, believes there are changes afoot in terms of what the market is demanding , and those companies servicing this market need to stay one step ahead of these trend-curves, and react accordingly, if they are to remain competitive.

Customisation to suit all

Even though office routines and work processes are now very individualised, the operational side of MFDs has left little room for individualisation. Yet clients are increasingly demanding the customisation of their devices, both inside and out, to suit the needs of the business. On the inside, customisation options include those individual screen features, specific functions and workflows that are activated via the display; the playing of a Flash video on the display of the device when it is idle; or the uploading of a picture to be displayed while the device is booting up. Whilst on the outside, decal wrapped devices are becoming all the rage.

Colour me beautiful

Despite many organisations limiting colour printing, the growth of workgroup-sized, A4 colour MFDs remains stable thanks in part to the controls that can be put in place on the device. Colour printing is a necessity in every business; today, what is important is controlling colour costs and printer use while maximising the benefits of colour printing. Controlling access to colour does not mean limiting access, but rather monitoring how colour is used and tracking its usage.

The need for speed

DEVELOP classifies light production printing as 95 pages per minute and over, whereas the rest of the market categorises it as from 75 pages per minute. Pillay maintains that there has been an increase in demand for light production printing MFDs with an output between 75 and 95 pages per minute, as the former is no longer sufficient. This has resulted in some office automation solution suppliers even offering an office machine with the high performance of a light production device, as the market demands speed.

It’s there, in black-and-white

The move from A3 to A4 B&W MFDs has been around for some time, and continues to dominate the B&W segment. This is illustrated by the number of A4 B&W devices being launched in the market place. Year on year, the sale of A4 B&W devices has increased, and this will hold steady.

Today’s customers want it all, and their demands are driven by increased productivity and decreased costs.  They are asking for smaller B&W machines, faster speeds and devices which fully reflect their brand, both inside and out – merely providing a device that merges printing, copying, scanning and faxing is no longer sufficient.


Marc Pillay is the managing director of DEVELOP South Africa, a division of the Bidvest Group Limited. Pillay has been responsible for evolving the DEVELOP brand since its launch in the South African market in 2009. He brings 21 years of experience in the print industry and 18 years in sales and sales training to the role. He has proven track record in growing new business and developing new brands. He also sits on the Bidvest Office division board.


DEVELOP South Africa, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bidvest Group Limited. DEVELOP is one of the leading international brands, with an operational stance of consultative business partnering. The company assesses, designs and guides throughout the implementation process and beyond, offering continued onsite technical and software management as well as the supply of spare parts and consumables.  Its primary objective is increasing productivity in the customer’s business environment.  With “dynamic balance”, DEVELOP South Africa offers clients cost effective innovation in the product area, the readiness and ability to flexibly respond to the requirements of the market and customers, and unrestricted customer satisfaction; whilst being dedicated to a fair relationship with their business partners


DEVELOP SA: Casey Steyn, (011) 661-9191,,

icomm: Debbie Sielemann, +27 (0) 82 414 4633, debbie(at),