What’s the scourge of every office manager, the marketing department’s nemesis and arguably the most overlooked machine in the office  — that is, until it jams, runs out of ink or just stops working? You got it: the office copier. It’s the hub of office activity on a good day, and the reason work grinds to a halt when it goes down — especially in industries like healthcare and government that rely on reams of paper.

That’s where John Ivins, a digital field service specialist for Canon Inc., and his team come in. They often show up at a moment’s notice to get the copier (and the office) back up and running.

The Equipment

“Copy machines have advanced quite a bit over the last few years,” says Ivins. “Many are now wireless and able to connect to the office cloud computing network. There’s a lot more going on under the hood now than just a basic copy machine.” Employees can access these networked printers from WiFi-enabled devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones.

What Goes Wrong

The first thing that customers do when there’s a problem is call Canon’s customer hotline. If the problem can’t be fixed over the phone, Canon dispatches a field service tech. “Sometimes, the only information we have to go off is that the machine is ‘making a funny noise,'” says Ivins.

The most common problem is a usual suspect: paper jams. These are often caused by deteriorated rollers that don’t properly feed paper into the machine. Ivins and his team carry the parts necessary to replace rollers, as well as parts and tools for other common issues, such as drum unit replacements.

Canon’s newer models contain a computer system, which can usually flag faulty parts and other issues before they cause a problem. This allows technicians to replace parts during routine maintenance. When maintained properly with software and parts updates, the printers last 10-15 years.

The Crew

Each member of the Canon crew spends about 3-4 hours per day on the road, averaging 200-300 miles per week. Ivins, who is based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, services two counties in Maryland.

“Our team lives like firefighters,” says Ivins. “Every day is different, and we never know when the next emergency is going to come up and where we’ll need to travel to next.”

Ivins says that it’s vital to communicate with his team and dispatch using an internal app to ensure that the correct technician shows up for the job. “We factor in who is closest to the customer and can get over there the fastest, as well as who has the most expertise with that particular equipment,” says Ivins.

The Tools

Mobile: Ivins and his colleagues are equipped with Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones to streamline communication.

Tools & Parts: The basics like a screwdriver a multimeter to test electrical components do the trick for most problems, but Canon’s techs need specialty tools to fix retaining rings, explains Ivins.