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Why Do Companies Fax?

on March 28, 2012

In all my years of involvement with the fax server software industry, telephone systems, a plethora of industry sectors, and small to enterprise business in general, I cannot remember one person ever telling me they love to fax.

So why do companies fax?  It’s not because they want to, but more because they have to.  There are several reasons for this.  The type of customers they have, legislation, regulation, the age of the industry and so on.

Healthcare deals in the exchange of patient information.  This exchange is highly regulated, often requires signatures, needs to be electronically secure and may pass through several layers – all of which lends itself to faxing.

Insurance handles an inordinate amount of information, generated by customers, from applications to claim forms, police reports, medical records, and so on.  Much of this information passes from insurance company to doctors, loss assessors, customers, etc.  Once again, faxing is a perfect medium to transfer this sensitive information that, more often than not, requires signatures and heavy scrutiny.

Banking and Finance similarly process huge amounts of information requiring signatures, authorizations for loan applications, purchases, leasing, and more.  Third parties are often involved in the work flow for verification of the information at hand.  These might be employers, processing organizations, call centers, or other banking and finance companies.

Manufacturing, depending on the type, process purchase order forms, invoicing, statements, picking slips, and so on for a huge variety of customers, and must be able to receive/send this information in every way imaginable – including fax.  These could be automotive manufacturers or suppliers to the automotive industry, healthcare suppliers, steel industry or many other types of manufacturers.

Logistics tie into the above very neatly, and once again must be able to send and receive information in just about any way possible due the very nature of their customer base.

Faxing is a necessary evil in most cases, and a VITAL one.

 

What makes faxing painful?

For those organizations that have not graduated from manual faxing to a full blown network fax server software, the answer to this is easy.

COST:

  • Cost of consumables, that include paper and ink for both fax machines and printers required to print the material that needs to be sent.
  • The time it takes to print, retrieve from the printer, walk to the fax machine, dial a number, wait for it to be sent, and then return.
  • Fax machines and the maintenance thereof.
  • Call costs.

Organizations that do run fax servers, have eliminated most of this pain, but also understand that they can gain enormous efficiencies through automation and integration.  Sending a fax from an accounting package, Enterprise Resource Planning system, Customer Relationship Management solution, Electronic Health Record system, Real Estate package and Practice Management solution, should be as easy as clicking a button, or at least close to it.

 

“So what?” you say.

In the same time I haven’t heard people say they love faxing, I have heard countless times people say they LOVE GFI FaxMaker!  That’s a pretty strong statement for a software product that’s core functionality is to do something people grit their teeth and bear.

Why?

  • GFI FaxMaker eases the burden of faxing.
  • It slides in almost seamlessly with a company’s workflow.
  • It increases efficiency through integration with mail servers, printing functions, and other applications.
  • Many normal processes requiring fax can be automated.
  • The makers of many business applications in healthcare, enterprise resource planning, accounting packages, real estate solutions, and more, have realized the value and have integrated with GFI FaxMaker to automate the process.
  • Where integration hasn’t been done, chances are you can still send faxes from applications due to the email to fax functionality and print to fax functionality available.
  • And finally, GFI FaxMaker helps make a business’s work flow easier.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.  You just might be surprised how this solution can make a huge difference for your organization’s communications and business overall!

 

Have a look at what GFI FaxMaker can do for you; download a FREE trial now and give it a spin!

 
Comments
Mike Canberg April 3, 20123:51 pm

One thing I’ve never understood, any perhaps you can illuminate the subject for me, is why faxing persists when the same thing can be accomplished using a printer/scanner? Granted that, especially if the two devices are separate, it can be almost more inconvenient than operating with a fax, but it just seems like one of those technological advances that should have already happened.

 
Scott Hagenus April 4, 20122:27 pm

Mike, I totally understand the question. The explanation can be extremely long with many facets.

I’ll tackle some of it in this reply:
It is more about who businesses do business with. If my customers and my industry demand signatures, and my customers prefer using ink to do this, chances are they are going to want to post or fax me the information I require of them, or they are going to want to receive paper based information in the same method.

Age, location, demographic, industry, type of information, regulations all play a factor.

If my customer base wants to communicate with me by fax, then I need the most efficient method to do so, receiving and sending them electronically at my end gives me the best of every world. I can do all from my applications and desktop, and still deliver and receive my customers communication via fax. No need to print or scan. Anecdotally, I recall company developing an excellent ecommerce site to significantly reduce the order entry and processing burden they had. When the project went live, it did not have the impact on that burden they had anticipated. What they had failed to do was understand that their customer base came from an extremely old industry that was just used to sending orders in via paper – postal or fax. Needless to say, they then invested in a fax server which had an immediate and significant impact to efficiency gains and ROI.

And then there is security, as odd as it sounds, faxing is an extremely secure way of transmitting information. In healthcare, HIPAA dictates that communicating patient information be done in a secure manner. While email systems require changes to encrypt the communication, and that communicating parties understand and abide by this for it to be effective, faxing requires no change at all. I’ll be honest and say I don’t know the number of instances where a phone line has been tapped, fax traffic intercepted, handshakes occurring correctly and confidential information then garnered from that. I think it would be safe to say nowhere near as many times as email leaks. Another reason why faxing persists. There are many other industries that benefit from that same secure communication, Insurance for instance.

Apologies for the length of the reply and hope this helps explain a little more.

jon May 18, 20125:05 pm

How can faxing be more secure than email, when you are talking about converting fax to email using gfi faxmaker? a faxconverted to email is same as email right?

Scott Hagenus May 18, 201211:19 pm

@Jon: Very good question Jon, and glad you brought it up. The answer to this is relatively easy. Faxing uses telecommunications paths and fax protocols. Chances of intercepting and interpreting the fax communication in a meaningful way is somewhat slim in comparison to email. When a fax comes into a company that uses a fax server, the fax server answers the call, locally converts to an electronic document, attaches to an email and hands it off to the companies mail server. Typically this is all done within the “4 walls” of that company, hence the email itself is never leaving the organization’s network. On top of that it is going directly to the person it is intended for if using fax routing. The reverse is somewhat true for sending a fax from email using a fax server. The transfer of information is generally done within the “4 walls” of the company (client to email server, email server to network fax server), hits the fax server and the fax server then converts it to a fax and sends the fax out via the company’s telecommunication path.

Remember too, that the fax itself does not have to be sent or received via email, there are other methods a fax server can accept a document to send as a fax. Examples are via printer drivers or APIs. On receiving, fax servers can drop the faxes to designated folders for retrieval, so you don’t necessarily have to have the fax in the email itself.

That is the beauty of a fax server, the flexibility it allows you.

 
zuhair June 13, 201211:58 am

hi
i want to know that by gfi faxmaker multiple user can recived fax by only one number or one line if yes then how

 
Scott Hagenus June 16, 20126:48 pm

@ zuhair, thanks for the question.

You can assign many users to one number or one line for routing. This means that one fax coming in on one line would go to multiple people.

Another way of routing if you only had one line or one number you could use, would be to use the OCR routing. In this way, any fax coming in on the single line will be converted to text and will be searched for words you specifiy. Individual users would be assigned to those search words and the fax would be sent to that user if the search found a match. OCR routing is not 100% accurate, and therefore a safe guard is in place that when a fax des not meet any OCR matches, GFI FaxMaker will then route the fax to a “Default” routing recipient.

Hope this helps.