Print.IT Reseller - issue 110

01732 759725 36 AUTOMATION PrintIT Reseller recently visited the Zebra Technologies Experience Centre to find out why MSPs might want to partner with the provider of end-to-end automation solutions Here, there and everywhere that in 10% of all samples there was a labelling error. For them, that’s not just mission-critical, that’s life-critical. But in any application, a bad label costs money as mistakes will require a manual process to see where and why the error has occurred and how to get the item back into the right process.” End-to-end expertise Zebra was established in the US in 1969 as a manufacturer of barcode scanners and barcode printers, becoming a leader in the field. Its capabilities were transformed in 2014, when it acquired the enterprise business of Motorola Solutions. This added input devices (scanners and mobile computers) and associated software and technologies, notably RFID and asset tracking, to Zebra’s existing output-oriented offering, enabling it to offer complete end-to-end solutions. “We provide the labels and the cards; we provide the printers that can print or encode them; and we provide the mobile computers, barcode readers and antennas that will scan them,” says Reynolds. Over the last ten years, Zebra has continued to build on this capability with a series of acquisitions including those of Temptime, a manufacturer of colour-changing technology for labelling time/temperature-sensitive items, including food and medicine; retail software company Reflexis Systems in 2020; consumer packaged goods and retail AI demand forecasting platform Antuit and machine vision company Adaptive Vision in 2021; and Matrox Imaging in 2022. Today, Zebra is a $5.78 billion global business with 10,000-plus partners in more than 100 countries and is the market leader globally across label printing, mobile computing and scanning. Hardware is still core to Zebra’s revenue. However, when it comes to talking about Zebra products the focus is very much on the application and the business case, as Reynolds explains with reference to the company’s printer offering. “With our printers, we don’t refer to printing so much as asset identification and tracking. Mostly what we are doing is applying labels to assets for those purposes – boxes, pallets, PCB boards, you name it. And we don’t just do printing; our devices can encode data onto magstripes and RFID chips as well.” Zebra’s ability to lead with applications is testament to the depth and breadth of its printer range, which includes label printers, card printers, mobile printers for printing tickets and receipts, even Print Engines for use on production lines in factories and warehouses – all available in a choice of ‘good, better and best’ models. Phil Reynolds, EMEA Desktop Print Product Manager at Zebra Technologies, likes to say that Zebra devices are ‘here, there and everywhere’ – a claim that becomes abundantly clear the moment you step into the Zebra Experience Centre at the company’s Bourne End EMEA HQ. The facility, which opened six years ago for Zebra staff, channel partners and end-users, provides a showcase for the company’s expanding portfolio of products and solutions, including barcode/label/receipt/card/wristband printers (and media), barcode scanners, mobile computers/tablets, wearables, retail software and machine vision solutions. A series of tableaux illustrating applications of the devices and supporting technologies like radio frequency identification (RFID) in healthcare, retail and hospitality, transportation and logistics, manufacturing and field mobility reinforce how ubiquitous Zebra devices have become in an era of digital transformation and process automation. They also show the extent to which Zebra devices, technologies and software all work together to boost efficiency and minimise waste. This includes label technology, another of Zebra’s areas of expertise, which Reynolds highlights as a key component of any solution. “Six years ago, the NHS told us