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The Visible Value Blog

Best-in-class or best forgotten? Are your industrial printers up to the job?

Posted by Richard Hughes-Rowlands

February 3, 2017 at 2:58 AM

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One of the implications of industrial IoT is that businesses have to take a look at legacy technical assets and make an honest judgement about their long-term value. The prospect probably won’t be hugely appealing, but before you can move forward, you need to know where you are.

Much has changed in industrial printing, and if you only chose your devices on technical specifications, they can be a drain both on valuable resources and enterprise productivity.

Here are three aspects of your devices themselves, rather than their management, that can help to make an assessment of their true business value and the return they’re able to deliver on investment.

Do your current printers make integrating with your infrastructure harder than it needs to be?

Every device in your business should be able to talk to your network-based systems and vice versa. Printers shouldn’t eat up valuable IT time, making you adapt to their needs rather than the other way around. When linking them directly to ERP software means a heavy investment into workaround solutions, you have to ask yourself what the payback is.

In some cases, new installations mean maintaining backwards compatibility with legacy

applications, which can lead to unexpected costs as you attempt to create bridge solutions. Simply put, if it’s a struggle to integrate your printers, you need to think about replacing them.

Your printers make life more complex, not simpler

Printers carry out invaluable work, but they need to be working with you, not against you. With some printers, complex interfaces are barriers to fast adoption and increased productivity. The same goes for maintaining a fleet of printers with limited technical support. The capabilities of your printers should accelerate workflows, not stifle them. Device pairing should happen instantly, printer connectivity should be easy, and configuration should be based on whole printer profiles rather than individual settings.

Cheap printers are a false economy

Printers often have to do their work in harsh operating environments, and sometimes they’re simply not up to the task. And even the most careful worker can drop a handheld device. With cheaper printers and ineffectual warranties, you’ll have to pay for repairs, downtime and suffer a higher-than-expected total cost of ownership. Mission-critical mobile, desktop and industrial printers need to be smart, tough and capable enough to handle whatever your production environment entails.

Business and the technology that drives it move fast. When they’re integrated into the wider enterprise network, today’s industrial, mobile and desktop printers are capable of delivering much more than simply speeds and feeds. They can lead to significant improvements in efficiency, and increases in productivity and profitability. But to achieve these improvements, you need the hardware and the software working together to provide the visibility you need. Which is where we can help. To learn more about how we can help you to make more of today’s printer technology, download the whitepaper here.

Topics: Link-OS Environment, Software, Internet of Things, IoT