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Executive director's corner.

How did we ever "manage" before the FAX machine? Like scotch tape it has become something we depend on daily. Today there is an estimated 6.5 million in use worldwide. While this wonderful technology offers us instant communications, whether improper or inefficient, its use can impede rather than improve operations. The potential for increased efficiency include the following tips:

1. CONFIRM RECEIPT: Confirm that you fax was physically received, and in good condition. Do not rely on your transmission report, which can only tell you if a document was sent.

2. COVER SHEETS: Save time by running off copies of cover sheets for frequently faxed numbers.

Operations will be smoother if you include some of the following items on your cover sheets:

* Date (keeps records up to

date).

* Number of pages being

transmitted (will let the receiver

know how many to

expect).

* A distribution list (the receiver

can make copies to distribute

which will save you time and

money).

* Room for comments/messages.

3. DIRECT MARKETING APPLICATIONS: The fax can be an excellent marketing tool, as it conveys a sense of immediacy and priority. For example, a new technique in direct marketing is to conduct fax surveys. In order to generate high response rates, use an easy response structure and limit open-ended questions. It's also important to provide more than one response mechanism, such as "fax-back" or mail.

4. TROUBLE-SHOOTING: If you're not getting through to the intended receiver, it might be because there isn't a dedicated fax line, and the fax machine utilizes the same phone line wired for voice communications. A way to get around this problem is to call in advance to let the receiver know when you will be sending your document(s).

5. RESOLUTION MODE SETTING: Many late model faxes provide a selection for print quality resolution. Whether to use the higher setting represents a trade-off - fine mode takes more time, and consequently cost more, but is preferable for documents that include graphics or fine print.

6. SERVICE BUREAUS: Some vendors offer a capability commonly known as fax broadcasting. Xpedite, for example, allows you to send a document from your PC or fax machine through to its service and on to thousands of locations simultaneously (and at a lesser cost than if you had someone in your office do it for you). Fax broadcasting services keep your employees and equipment free to attend to other tasks while you continue your much needed communications with those on your distribution lists.

7. MAIN FAX LISTS: Your fax distribution list should not only include names and fax phone numbers, but addresses and regular phone numbers as well. This will help to avoid wasting time when you need to follow-up with phone calls or written correspondence.

8. COST CONSIDERATIONS: Find out what times of day your local or long distance phone company offers the best rates and whenever possible schedule your fax transmissions accordingly. Fax broadcasting service bureaus and programmable fax are especially advantageous, as they can transmit documents at anytime, including overnight, when rates are lowest.

9. CONFIDENTIALITY: Keep in mind that most fax machines are located in areas accessible to most, if not all, employees. If your document is confidential, make arrangements accordingly (such as alerting the receiver as to exactly when the document is scheduled for transmission). One option is to send a confidential document from the privacy of your own PC. Executioves have "private" fax machines has also become a popular trend. This may be something your own organization may want to look into for purposes of confidentiality and matters of priority.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Canadian Institute of Management
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:tips for increased efficiency in using fax machines
Author:Milne, Joan L.
Publication:Canadian Manager
Date:Mar 22, 1991
Words:598
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