OFFICE MACHINES AND EQUIPMENTS
Office equipment are those items of furniture and machines which help in the more efficient production of office services, communication and records. Office equipment and machines are invaluable aids to office management nowadays when quick, accurate and cost effective data and information are an important factor determining the success or failure of an organization.
Office equipment and machines can be broadly classified into three major categories; they are;
Classification of appropriate office machines
i. Data processing machine
ii. Data recording machine
iii. Data communicating machine
Data Processing Machines/Equipment
To process data is to change the form of data into another form for the specific desired purposes. They become more orderly and more refined with added advantages of being more useful in their processed presentation. They help to mechanize most of the office procedures with consequent efficient performance of function with accurate results. Also, they save good man-hour and personnel efforts.
These machines do the calculations, posting of figures into suitable records.
The services of the machines can not be over-emphasized in offices whose work would invariably involve the four arithmetics processes of adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying as well as listing items that will undergo these four basic arithmetic processes: sales department, purchasing, personnel department, procurement, accounts and audit department.
The machines that are capable of processing data are; adding machines, calculating machines, punched card machines, accounting machines, computers etc.
Data Recording Equipment/Machine
Recording data may be from the original source of information, reproduction and retention. Recording of data is of utmost importance because the future growth of a business unit depends amongst other things on the recorded data of the pat.
These are used for reference to assess the present situation and plan ahead for the future. Action is derived from recorded data in form of vertical and horizontal instruction e.g. memoranda, letters, invoice, pay slim etc.
Data recording equipment re most useful in administrative department, human resources department, public relation department, sales department, account/audit, safety/ security department.
The machine/equipment that are useful for these purpose are:- typewriters (manual/electric), photocopying machines, duplicating machines, micro-filming, diazo, reproduction, offset-lithographic/photo mechanical printing, stencil duplication and spirit duplication.
Data Communicating Equipment
These are machines/equipment used for communicating information. Communication arise from many sources; written information through letters, dictated or typewritten or a memo. It could also be verbal through an external or internal communication system.
Some of these equipment/machines are; dictating machines (magnetic tape and recording media as well as non-magnetic); transcribing machines, mail room equipment (addressing machines, letter opening machine, collating machine, time-stamping, numbering and dating machines etc); inter-communication, and external communication equipment and frankling machine, they are useful in all departments of organization.
Identified appropriate office machine and equipment
Transcribing J machine II
Punched card machine
Mail room machine
IMPORTANCE OF OFFICE MACHINES AND EQUIPMENT
Time saving: Useful time will be saved if operations in the office are done mechanically than when done manually and this valuable time will increase productivity.
Reduction of fatigue: Human efforts labour will be greatly saved thereby, there will be less fatigue on labour and officials.
Minimizing of errors: Though errors are inevitable to human beings but errors are highly reduced in mechanical operations e.g. computer, typewriter (G.I.G.O) accuracy is ensured.
It saves cost because very few hands will be needed to operate and perform those functions mechanically. Labour cost will be saved for other useful ventures.
Better quality of works are done with machines compared to those that are manually carried out, neat jobs are ensured.
Highly reliable machines can be depended upon to work even under pressure than with manual operations. Human * being are more to sickness, tiredness etc, though machines can also breakdown.
Reduction of incidence of fraud.
Large volume of jobs, duties or functions can be done at a faster rate.
Machine/equipment allow for quick correction of errors.
USES OF OFFICE MACHINES AND EQUIPMENT
Is one of the machines introduced into the office in order and as a result of improvement in technology. The uses of computer is as follows:
a. It aid in simple statistical calculation
b. Storing of information
c. Analyzing data
d. Sorting information to be used by different users
e. Designing of work plan.
Unlike a computer, typewriter is an old machine which is used to type work. In recent times, the introduction of computer have reduced the usefulness of the typewriter but the importance of a typewriter cannot be undermine no wonder, it is still in use.
This is a machine used to tour or tear off confidential documents into pieces. Instead of tearing some documents by hand, a shredder does that. The major importance and/ or usefulness of a shredder is that, it helps in destroying documents (either confidential or non-confidential) into smaller pieces which cannot be assembled back again.
A photocopier is used to reprograph a document in its original form. It helps the reproduction of some work or document in their original state.
Calculators/ adding machines
These are machines used in the office for adding purposes. They are used in the event of both simple and complex numbers manipulations, it ease its computations instead of using ones brain, it also ‘helps in time economy.
A scanner is an input device that act like a miniature photocopy machine connected to a computer, copying graphic images into the computer and allowing typewriter pages to be scanned and entered without retyping.
Printers produce paper output in the form of text and graphics. Numerous types of printers are available with high price tags. Some printers are colured which prints graphic in their colour forms.
METHODS OF PROCUREMENT OF OFFICE MACHINES AND EQUIPMENT
The group in which office machines and equipment are procured could be explained under three (3) headlines namely:
a. Outright purchase
b. Leasing and
This arises when an organization purchase an office equipment out-rightly by enjoying full and/ or complete right of lien and enjoy full capacity of the office machines and equipment.
Takes the form in which the machines and equipment are possessed under some form of agreement. The lease does not enjoy the full capacity because it is subject to be returned within the stipulated period. Most organization lease equipment and machines because of their economic costs and benefits to be derived rather than purchasing it outrightly.
This is a common phenomenon among organizations and established which manufactures or produces goods and services. Subcontracting entails when a project is to be carried out, the company instead of purchasing equipment to execute the projects, they give the company to manage that aspect of the project while the parent/principal company enjoys the highest benefits than the subcontractors.
REASONS FOR LEASING/ SUB-CONTACTING OFFICE EQUIPMENT/MACHINES
On many occasion, organization may decide to lease or sub-contacting the machines/equipment rather than buying the equipment with cash outrightly. The fallowings are the reasons for such action.
The need of the company: if the company need the equipment or machine for it peak period or season or a particular job; it will not be advisable to buy outrightly rather subcontracting or leasing of the equipment will be better off otherwise it will led to under-utilization.
Certain legal/business document that need high degree of expert touch before it can be done well (e.g. importation and government requirements).
Release of valuable capital for other pressing and profitable purposes (especially when it involve huge capital outlay).
Freedom to take advantage of lattest technological development (e.g. computer),
Cost of procurement may be too high hence it is advisable to lease or sub-contracting it out and pay at convenience period of time the agreed sum.
vi The need to get the job done efficiently and effectively by experts who ha the personnel and logistics.
SHORTCOMING/PROBLEMS OF OFFICE MACHINE AND EQUIPMENT
1. Capital intensive: It involves high costs to buy, service or repair.
2. Depreciation: They are prone to depreciation especially in cases of over-usage.
High rate of obsoleteness: Some machines tend to go out of fashion too rapidly/quickly.
4. Incidence of breakdown: Especially where maintenance culture is weal or lacking, one machine breakdown, work standstill.
5. High level of recurrent expenditure; e.g. cost of maintenance, personnel to man these machines cost of softwares/inputs are always very high.
It may lead to unemployment because number o personnel needed will be reduced in the long-run since the machines can do most of the human job, a a faster rate with high level of accuracy.
7. Distraction due to noise, such noise reduce effectiveness and efficiency of workers thereby reducing productivity.
Power fluctuations can also result in damage being done to the machines particularly here in Nigeria where power supply is erratic.
Waste; as a result of cheapness and the ease orl production of information using office machine, a lot) of information is produced and circulated that is neither necessary nor useful to recipients.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN THE CHOICE OF OFFICE MACHINES AND EQUIPMENT
Cost of the machine vis-a-vis available fund
Office space/layout to accommodate the machines/ equipment.
Availability of qualified personnel to handle the equipment and necessary trainings involved.
Durability of the equipment/machines.
Availability of the required machines/equipment, or near/similar one that perform the same functions (alternatives).
Need of the firm and operation to perform toward the realization of organizational goals.
Installation, after sales service, maintenance and spare parts.
METHODS OF CARING FOR THE OFFICE MACHINE AND EQUIPMENT
There is need for maintenance culture on the office equipment and machines to ensure their durability, efficiency and avoid constant breakdown. The following methods can be employed in maintaining machines/ equipment.
Proper general cleaning of the machine; that is, regular cleansing, perhaps daily or weekly, should be done before use and after use.
Proper coverage when not in use: every machine when not in use should be covered in order to protect machine from foreign substances like dust, water, particles etc.
There should be strict adherence to rules and regulations guiding the use of machines. None compliance with rules, instructions or regulation as stipulated in manuals may lead to the machine damage.
Careful handling; the electrically operated machines must be switched off at the end of day’s work or when not in use. Also, only well-trained operators or professional should handle them.
Right parts and materials must be used always as any wrong parts or sub standard may not only damaged the machines but equally injured or wreaked havoc on the organization.
Do not keep heavy objects on them as such objects may cause defective.
In case of any fault, consult experts to investigate the cause and render repair where necessary.
Comply with temperature and safety instructions given by manufacturer or their agents.
Regular and adequate maintenance culture from experts. There should be an established system of regular servicing, repairs, replacement of damaged parts. This improves efficiency of machines.
WHAT IS MAINTENANCE CULTURE?
Maintenance culture has to do with putting a machine a equipment into a perfect working condition, in state of action to enable them perform optimally. It is importance for an organization to ensure a proper and regular maintenance culture so that production processes or activities in an office will not be jeopardized. Maintenance can be routine preventive. This, maintenance is a method or action taken to ensure consistent working, restore back to acceptable condition office machine and equipment to enable organization function towards achieving set aims/objectives. Any organization that handle maintenance culture with kid gloves do so at its own perils. Organization should not see maintenance as un-necessary expenditure because:
Benefits of Maintenance Culture
1. It elongates- the life-span of the machine and equipment
2. It enhances smooth and efficient working of the machines/equipment.
3. It saves the machines from constant breakdown which may affect the flow of work.
4. Office equipment and machines are like human being that need to be fed, clothed, housed etc hence, the need to enhance their performance level by maintaining them properly (oiling, cleansing, checking plugs etc).
It ensures continuity of work and thereby increases productivity.
Regular maintenance of equipment helps to prevent industrial accident or electrocution in organization.
MISCELLANEOUS APPLIANCE IN THE OFFICE
Apart from big machines that be operated manually or electrically, there are other equally importance appliance that cannot wished away in any organisation or office.
The posting board: It is also called “copywriter” board or manifold posting board. It is used when it is necessary to post several document at the same time e.g. where the payroll is prepared manually, the copywriter board could be” used to hold the papers together, while carbon papers are inserted to produce the copies. The posting board is usually supplied with the kalamazoo salary stationary.
The perforator: This is used to punch papers ready for filling.
The hand guillotine: This is used in the office to cut papers to various size e.g. for duplicating purpose
Waste disposal basket: this is used to collect discharged or shredded papers so that they do not litter the office. The office cleaner remove it at regular interval.
The stapler: This is use to staple enclosure to a letter or to staple document if more than one paper.
Book cases: These are required to hold books for reference. It may be centrally placed if the organizations have a library or department by department.
Office furniture: Chairs, tales and desks for different categories of officials or personnels.
Fire extinguishers: This is use to prevent minor fire or put-out fire in an organization.
First aid boxes
Shredders: is used to destroy documents of confidential nature that are not useful again.
Jogger: equally known as collating machine, the machine arranges and aligns papers properly for binding or stapling.