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Fax survey results.

Fax Survey Results

Telecomm managers still are calling the shots when it comes to recommending and approving the purchase of fax machines.

Those machines are getting a big workout, too, according to what hundreds of users told Communications News in its recent fax users survey.

The exclusive study ran last fall in the magazine. Readers, like yourself, were asked to answer several questions and mail or fax the response back.

Roughly half of the responses were faxed in to our offices. The rest were mailed.

Tabulation was done by the independent firm of Miller & Taliaferro.

In 58% of all cases, the telecomm manager is responsible for matching department fax needs to product features; 57.7% of the time the telecomm manager recommends and 39.9% of the time approves such purchases. Department supervisors recommend the purchase 28.8% of the time, and purchasing managers recommend less than one time in five.

The purchasing manager has a bit more say in approvals--his signature goes on the line in 28.3% of the cases, slightly more than the department supervisor's 26.7%.

The typical machine in the office (33% of all cases) sends three pages per transmission. Close behind were machines sending 5-10 pages (15.6%), four pages (13.8%), or two pages (12.2%). But 6% of the respondents indicate they send 30 or more pages per transmission.

Number of pages received at a typical machine runs about the same as those sent. Keep that doubled figure in mind when planning purchases.

The largest single group of users (13.2%) figures they send and receive a total of 100-299 pages per machine each day. That's a sizable workout for any piece of equipment.

In each case, about 10% of the respondents indicated their use falls into the 50-99 pages, 20-49 pages, and the 1-9 pages category. This latter group should be checked to see if they couldn't more economically use another nearby fax machine to send so few documents, unless a separate machine is justified for security or executive reasons.

Perhaps the reason for the popularity of the fax machines in many of your offices is that they are cheap for department managers to use. Over two-thirds (66.9%) of the departments are not charged back for fax usage. Just 31% are charged.

Here is another place where stricter budget control will give the telecomm manager more control over equipment usage.

In 61.6% of the cases, you told us you acquire fax machines by purchase only. Just 8.7% are exclusively renting, but 28% have both purchased and rented, or leased, machines.

Average price of a purchased fax is under $2500, with 70% of all purchases falling into that class.

The largest single group (28.3%) indicates it pays $1500 to $2000 for an average machine. About 20% pay $2000 to $2500, and a similar number is paying under $1500.

Only about 5% are springing for big bucks--over $3500 per machine--for fax. This would indicate that plain paper and Group IV haven't really penetrated the user market yet. But it also means that any drop in price likely will be accompanied by a big jump in demand.

Most of those (47.4%) renting or leasing machines are paying between $50 and $100 per month, with an even split above and below $75. About 16% are paying $100 to $150 a month.

Some 7% reported paying over $200 a month per machine--a figure that seems high, unless those machines offer some special service that was not reported in the survey.

You like the machines to work correctly. To make sure they do, three-fourths of you have service contracts on at least some of the fax machines in your offices.

All of the machines are covered in 35.4% of the cases, most in 19%, and at least some in 20.1% of the cases. A total of 18% have no service contract on their faxes.

While the machines are important, the contents of the fax messages must be less so; 37.3% of you say you "never" would file fax documents. That doesn't bode well for demand for plain paper machines in those cases.

But 14% say they file fax documents all of the time, 21% say they do most of the time, and 25% say they file them at least some of the time. It may be well, when the time comes to install plain paper fax, to designate certain machines as "for filing" machines, while still sending run-of-the-mill messages to older fax machines.

It's no surprise that two-thirds of the respondents said they use fax for correspondence. Another 55% of the users report faxing memos (totals are over 100% due to multiple response).

Sales orders, engineering schematics, drafts, and legal documents also scored high as user areas. But detail is important, too: 25% say they fax artwork or line drawings, 35% fax detailed charts, and 14% fax photos.

It's not surprising that 40% of the material sent or received across time zones is for sales or branch locations. But 46% comes or goes to customers and fully half involves suppliers across time zones.

The general trend holds for documents sent or received within the same area code and internationally--although international traffic involved fewer than half of the transmissions reported.

Top supplier of machines to users in our survey was Ricoh. In 28% of your offices, there are Ricoh faxes.

Canon is the number two supplier, with 18.5%. Third was Sharp, 15.9%. Pitney Bowes, 15.3%, was number four. And NEC and 3M Harris Lanier tied at 11.6%.

Murata, Omnifax, Panafax, Panasonic, Xerox, Fujitsu, Toshiba, AT&T, Hitachi, and Minolta also were mentioned.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Harler, Curt
Publication:Communications News
Date:Feb 1, 1990
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