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The Visible Value Blog

Five ways you could be falling short on printer device management and missing out on business efficiencies

Posted by Gareth Aitken

February 7, 2017 at 3:35 AM

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Mobile, desktop and industrial printers play a central role in work environments, but if they’re not monitored and managed appropriately, they can actually have a detrimental impact on operations meaning down time and wasted labour. Here are the five key areas where taking your eye off the ball can leave your printer fleet underperforming and your people frustrated.

Problems with provisioning

Often, printers are specialised devices that require precision tuning to work at their best. Each device needs provisioning with network and performance settings, security protocols and status reporting. Being able to calibrate the label sensor so the printer knows where a label begins and ends could in itself reduce the number of calls help desks receive. Even setting the right printing darkness can have a ripple effect throughout a business’ supply chain. Illegible labels can lead to higher returned inventory, reduced productivity and increased expenses.

Untimely automation of device management

Having limited IT resources makes the prospect of automating device management attractive, but doing this with devices such as thermal printers can sometimes be tricky. Automatically activating an update in the middle of a warehouse’s busiest time, for instance, can be disastrous. Even if IT gets the timing right, things can still go wrong. An employee may turn off the printer, or it can go into sleep mode, undermining the best of administrators’ intentions.

Not treating printers as part of the IT infrastructure

When IT refreshes servers, networks and storage systems or rolls out new apps, they may need to update their printers’ configuration. If these aren’t treated as part of the IT infrastructure, the business is exposed to the risk and expense of non-uniform upgrades, missed patches and vulnerability to security breaches.

Losing track of devices

Depending on the size of your operation, your fleet could comprise of thousands of printers of different shapes and if you don’t choose printers with the right capabilities, managing printing problems and required maintenance can be a nightmare. Not to mention the problems caused by well-meaning users adjusting a printer’s settings without making anyone aware. Faulty printer applications, too, can cost the business dearly if not quickly resolved. IT is left with the burden of manually installing a patch, again a mind-boggling task when faced with a fleet of thousands of devices typical of a global company. These are some of the challenges printing solutions from Zebra help to overcome.

Security risks

Printers in working environments carry the same security risks as any other network device. If not properly managed, they can be a direct way in to a company’s network and confidential data. Unauthorized access is often too simple, as many times businesses neglect to change their printers’ default passwords, or keep the printer operating system current to respond to ever-changing threats.

If you’ve got visibility, you’ve got the answer

Monitoring, managing and maintaining your printer fleet comes down to one thing – visibility. When you have this, you have control over device configuration, security and scaling. To this end, a new breed of printers has emerged, incorporating an intelligent software platform that eases device integration, connectivity and management.

 

To learn more about best practice management of your printer fleet, click here.

Topics: Link-OS Environment, Software