15 Factors your must consider while selecting office machines

The decision to buy a particular type of machine should be based upon the requirements of organization. Machines should not be purchased just because they are being purchased by other organizations.

1. Simple in Operation:

Easy operation of the machine, less fatigue to the operators and good results are required. Operators may be trained effectively at less expense.

2. Flexibility:

The machine must have flexibility to adopt for multiple purposes, when the cost of the machine is high.

3. Durability:

There are different people to work under different conditions and therefore the machines must be strong and durable. Breakdown of the machine means investment is waste.

4. Portability:

In modern times, the size of the machine is reduced into portable size. When the machines are small it is convenient to handle and easy to move from one place to another.

5. Benefit:

When manual labour is replaced by machine, greater accuracy and better result must be produced. There must be a qualitative change in the office when a machine is introduced.

6. Service:

Quick repairs and proper maintenance are essential for continuous performance of the machines. Service facility is an essential to be looked upon.

7. Operating Cost:

When the machine is in operation, its operating cost must be minimum. Cost of additional machines, if any, and supplies must be minimum.

8. Suppliers:

When one goes to purchase a machine, the integrity and reputation of the manufacturer may be carefully considered. The machine must be good at mechanical qualities and guarantee over its performance.

9. Style:

Pleasing design and color is preferred. When one looks at the machine, it must be attractive, apart from satisfactory operation.

10. Cost:

Generally when the cost increases, the performance will better. Cost of the machine is comparable in term of savings in labour, low cast of repair and maintenance etc.

Administration and correspondence

1. Telephone

It is an important instrument of modern office communication.

It facilitates speedy exchange of information. The customers and the firm can get into touch with one another and talk directly. This is an external system which connects the business house with the outside world such as, customers, suppliers etc.

In big offices where a large number of telephone messages are received, there will be a telephone controlling room. Telephone messages are received by a telephone clerk. The managers or the business executives can get useful information and give necessary directions to other offices over the phone.

2. Dictaphone

There are four types of dictating machines (a) The Electronic Belt type, (b) Electronic disc type, (c) Electronic cylinder type, (d) Acoustic cylinder type. In these types three machines are required: (i) Dictating machine, (ii) Transcribing machine and (Hi) Shaving machine.

The businessman dictates letters or reports in the dictating machine at any time at any place. It records it in a special record. Then it is sent to the typist. The typist places the record in the transcriber. He makes the necessary adjustments with regard to volume and speed and then types the matter. The shaver is used to remove the record from the above said belt or disc or cylinder. Thus the belt or disc or cylinder can be reused by the dictator any number of times.

Advantages of Dictaphone

(1) The dictator can dictate matters at any time.

(2) It ensures speed and accuracy and saves time.

(3) The typist can type well without knowing short-hand.

(4) It increases accuracy and efficiency.

(5) Telephone dictation can also be recorded in dictaphone.

(6) It is portable, and like a book, can be carried anywhere.

3. Combination of Telephone plus Dictating Machine:

It is a new machine. The conversation of both the parties can be recorded on the dictating machine. By the use of twin cylinders continuous conversation can be recorded and can be used for future reference. It is useful in newspaper offices.

4. Ipsophone:

It is used in Switzerland, it records telephone messages and speaks for its owner and repeats the messages when required. When the telephone rings, the ipsophone will start its work, by speaking its number and asking for messages to be recorded. Thus all the messages and calls are recorded in the machine.

5. Auto Abstract:

It is an electronic machine, mainly used in USA. This machine reads lengthy reports, letters etc. and writes abstracts or precis version of them. The entire article is transcribed by the machine and is understood by electronic brain. The precis form of the article is printed on paper. These types of machines are much useful to company secretaries, managers etc.

6. Typewriter:

This is the most common machine used by every modern commercial office. This is so familiar to everyone, that it need not be explained. The typewriter has superseded the pen. The execution of work through a typewriter is accurate, legible and fast. Typewritten letters are more attractive than handwritten letter. The following are the types of typewriters generally used in firms.

(a) Portable machine

This type of machine is good for personal use. It is extremely light. It is compact and is only three or four inches height. It can be kept in the drawer of a table. During travels, it can be put in a small carrying case. This type of machine is invaluable for professional people, who travel much.

(b) Standard and silent (noiseless) machine

Silent machines are quicker in action than the standard typewriter. Standard machines are usually with Roman type or any other type of specified letter.

The standard machines are further developed as noise proof at action. Such noiseless machines are invaluable as the typist can do the work in the same room where the executive officer is also seated.

But when the ordinary typewriter is at operation, telephonic conversation becomes impossible. In these machines, more copies can be taken out than in portable machines.

(c) Variable type machine

Typewriters which have different variety of style and size of types are so adjusted that according to the requirements, the type of letters can be changed italic type, small type, etc. Big size (bold type) types are used when the correspondence is little and small type is used when the correspondence is lengthy. This is useful particularly in preparing reports where different styles of types can be used to distinguish one set from another.

(d) Electric type machine

This type is now in general use. The expense is more. But there are many advantages. The operator will have less fatigue. In one operation 20 or 25 copies can be obtained against 6 on standard typewriters. The operator need not exert himself much, The typist can type faster.

(e) Automatic electric type machine

It is an American invention. This type of typewriter is used when there is much circular correspondence. The automatic typewriters are controlled by coded instructions punched in paper tape or card recorded magnetically. The typist prepares original record.

This is done on a special machine and holes are cut on paper tape and instead of letters, by the typist. These tapes are played back, through a recorder attached to the typewriter. In a single roll 50 or 60 letters or as many paragraphs can be recorded. By the operation of a push-button the particular letters or paragraphs are preselected and the letters are typed automatically.

At the predetermined point, the machine can be stopped, if any additional paragraphs are to be inserted by the typist. The machine can also stop at any point in the letter; and date, address, amount etc., can be typed out in their proper place. Three or four machines can be operated at the same time by one operator.

This system is good when many circular or standard letters of personal touch are to be sent out. If mistakes are made in the original record, they can be corrected by sticking a slip on the wrong holes and retype to correct them.

7. Stenographic Machine

The common practice is that shorthand typist takes dictation in his note-book and transcribes it in letters. The officer sits along with his stenographer and dictates the letters; the latter after taking them down types in letter pads, making the letters ready for signature.

The new invention of dictation machines has come into use. These types of machines make it possible for the officers to dictate letters at their convenience.

Then the recorded tape is sent to the typist, who fixes the recorded tape on a reproducing machine and types it by hearing the recorded dictation. The speed of the playback can be adjusted to the speed of the typist through controls.

There are many methods of making outward correspondence ready. They are (a) giving dictation to a stenographer (b) dictating directly to a typist, who types out at the same time (c) dictation to a stenographic machine (d) recording a dictation in a dictation machine.

Dictating machines have become very popular nowadays. Replies to correspondence can be made through the machines. The officer gives the dictation through a mouthpiece, which is connected to the machine, and the message is impressed, on a cylinder or disc.

The disc or cylinder is placed on another machine; and through an earphone the dictated portion is reproduced; and the typist types out the letter. The dictated message can be erased and the disc can be reused. The speed can also be regulated according to the speed of the typist.

Merits of Stenographic Machine

1. The executive can dictate or give reply even if the stenographer is absent.

2. When the executive is in the mood to dictate, he can do so even if his steno is absent.

3. The number of clerks can be reduced.

4. Salary to stenographers is paid high and salary to typist is low. Instead of appointing stenographers, typists can be appointed. It is more economical.

5. All stenographers may not be able to take dictation at a high speed. If the stenographic machine is available, the executive can dictate the reply at any speed. When the typist types, the speed of the tape or disc can be regulated.

6. It is usual that visitors may come often and often during the dictation and waste the time of the stenographer. Such waste of time can be avoided.

Demerits of Stenographic Machine

1. Personal contact is neglected.

2. It is very difficult to make correction in Dictaphone.

3. Since tape or disc is used again and again, original records cannot be maintained. I

4. For efficient operation of the machine, the executive must be a good dictator. The stenographic machine is portable and noiseless. The keyboard on the machine is pressed down by the stenographer, when a word is heard. The machine is operated at a good speed by a trained operator. The tapes are passed on to the typist, who is trained to read and type from these tapes. This machine is very useful for recording at meetings, reporting, etc.

8. Duplicating Machine

The type-writers can produce only a few copies of documents. Sometimes, the office requires many copies of certain documents. There are many processes of copying out records. The duplicating machines are used when several copies of documents are required. Duplicating machines produce fewer copies than the printing press. The various types of duplicating machines are as follows: Spirit Duplicating

It is also known as hectograph. The method is very simple. The master copy is prepared on art paper by means of a hectograph carbon paper. A reverse image is obtained on the back of the master copy. The master copy is fitted round the drum on the machine, exposing the carbon image to the outside.

The papers pass first under a pad dampened with spirit. It is then passed against the master copy. The spirit on the paper dissolves a very little of the carbon on the master copy and thus gives an impression on the copying paper. The spirit on the paper dries very quickly, leaving the image on the paper. It can be operated by hand or by electricity.

Stencil Duplicators (Mimeograph)

It is a common method of taking out copies of letters. In this system, a stencil is cut on a typewriter or by hand (if by hand, a type of pencil known as stylus is used.) The typed matter will be within the frame marked in the stencil. Also, when a stencil is cut, the ribbon is so adjusted that the typist will cut the stencil directly with the letters (the ribbon should not be in between the stencil and the letter or the ribbon is removed).

Any error, if happens, can be erased by using correcting fluid. The correcting fluid will dry soon, and after that the correct letter or word can be typed on it. The cut stencil is placed in a duplicating machine. The cylinder of the machine is inked with a special type ink. The machine is rotated till the ink is spread over the rollers.

There may be two trays on each side. The tray on the one side carries papers of the correct size and the tray on the other side receives the printed papers. When machine is switched on, the machine feeds papers automatically, and after that leaves the printed paper on the other tray.

In the latest models, simply switching on the button gives the required number of copies of the letter, as the copies produced are also counted automatically in the machine itself. The stencil is removed and kept for reuse. This type of duplicators is inexpensive and is a good system.

Photostat (Photographic duplicator)

This method can also be used whenever an exact copy of any document is required. In this, photography of the documents is first taken out through camera. No dark room is required for this. The produced copies are soon developed and when dried are ready for use; copies of larger or smaller size than the original document can be taken in any colour.

There are two processes. The contact process and the camera process. In the former case, a box containing a frosted glass screen is used. The light and sensitized papers are placed behind the screen with the document to be copied, placed face downwards on it.

The box is then closed, the light switched on for necessary exposure. Thus the negative copy is produced. From this, the positive can be reproduced in the same way. In the camera process, by use of camera document can be copied by using sensitized paper to produce negative and also to produce positive copies.

J.C. Denyer lays down the different factors, which should be considered in choosing a particular duplicating process:

1. Number of copies needed.

2. Frequency of demand, that is, how often the machine is to be used?

3. Speed of reproduction.

4. Type of copy paper, to be used. Sometimes a good writing surface is required.

5. Economy in operation i.e. the cost of materials and operator.

6. What kind of image is needed? Is it to be in halftone, or a line drawing or text?

7. Change in size, that is, whether it is desired to enlarge or reduce the size of the original document.

8. Number of colour, needed.

9. Durability of the master and image.

10. Is necessary to have variable details on pre-cut forms?

11. Type of appearance that is whether type-written appearance is desired or printed type set appearance is preferred.

9. Addressing Machine

Addressing machine is generally used to print the address on envelopes, labels, wrappers etc. In big concerns frequently letters have to be sent to the same customers.

For example, electric company, Gas Company, insurance company etc., has to send bills, premium notices, etc., monthly to their customers. In such cases, it is a tedious job to write or type out thousands of addresses. The addressing machine overcomes this difficulty. It is a great time saver.

The addresses are stenciled or embossed on metal plates. When addresses are to be written, these stencils, or plates are placed on the machine and allowed to pass through the machine with the help of a lever, envelopes are fed one by one and the required addresses are printed. The speed of the operation and the printing of correct address are remarkable.

10. Letter Opening Machine

It is a machine having a revolving knife edge which will slice a very thin part from one edge of the envelope. The contents of the envelopes should be shaken to the other side, so that contents may not be cut. The opening of the early morning letters becomes easy by this machine; hundreds of envelopes can be opened within minutes.

11. Folding Machine

The letters after being signed, reach the dispatch section which sends them out, by placing or housing them in envelopes. If a large number of letters are there, this machine can be used to fold letters in one or two or three parallel folds with additional cross folds at a greater speed.

12. Envelope Sealing Machine

This is a machine which automatically seals the envelopes. It will dampen the gummed flaps of the envelopes; thus sealing of the envelopes becomes very easy.

13. Stamping Machine

In small concerns, this type of machine is used. Rolls of stamps are purchased from the post office. The stamps are placed in the machine. Water is kept in a part of the machine. The stamps are automatically moistened and affixed on the envelopes as required.

14. Franking Machine

It is a machine, advantageously used in the dispatch department. The machine is licensed by the post office. The payment of postage is made to the post office, in advance for an agreed total of postage. The purchasing company has to be registered in the post office and a number is allotted. After receiving payment, the franking machine is issued.

It has a meter, which reads out the amount of stamps, which the machine can print. It has adjustments within to print the postage stamps required.

When cards and letters are fed into it, the required stamps (along with data, name of the company and registration number) are printed on the post cards, envelopes, wrappers etc. When the credited amount is exhausted, the machine automatically locks itself. Then further an advance remittance is made to the post office to reset the machine for further use.


1. Much time is saved. It is claimed that 2,000 letters can be franked by hand-operated machine while 15,000 letters can be franked by electrical machine.

2. The maintenance of postage account can be avoided.

3. If envelopes are wrongly franked, the amount can be refunded from the post office.

4. The firm need not purchase stamps of different denominations and keep the stocks.

5. The postal department also saves time and stationery, because there is no need to print the stamps.

When using franking machine, the correct amount of franking will be done in order to avoid over stamping and under stamping. Moreover, the post book is avoided; thus there will be no recording of dispatched letters. However, firms using the machine will have to keep in reserve some postage stamps for emergency use.

(15) Dating Machine:

Dates are written on the letters by this machine. It is mostly used in offices where a large number of letters are written every day.