Print.IT Reseller - issue 110

PRINTITRESELLER.UK 37 AUTOMATION addition of a ‘time of flight’ sensor to automate the dimensioning of packages is bringing significant productivity gains and process improvements to courier companies. “The courier captures an image of the package, and the mobile computer measures the length, width and depth of the package to facilitate improved loading and accuracy of shipping charges. This can help in optimising operations and allows a business to capture and send dimensioning information further upstream. With Zebra Pay, Zebra’s new enterprise mobile payment solution, you can now use the same mobile device to take the customer’s payment.” Other more specialist options include scanners with an extended scanning range of 70 feet, superfast fixed scanners for production lines and wrist-worn computers that connect to AR/VR headsets/glasses. Opportunities for MSPs The ability of Zebra devices integrated with software from Zebra and thirdparty ISVs to deliver the automation and process improvements demanded by customers means the channel has a big role to play in the specification and delivery of solutions. As Reynolds says: “Most of our sales are through the channel.” For MPS providers, Zebra’s portfolio provides a potentially lucrative new source of revenue from hardware, software, accessories, supplies and servicing, as well as the ability to add value to existing customer relationships and address new business opportunities. This could be something as simple as supplementing an office-based fleet of printers/MFPs with Zebra devices for ID card/label printing or the tracking of files, equipment and other assets, or something as complex as business process redesign in logistics and manufacturing organisations. Either way, Reynolds says that Zebra has several USPs likely to be welcomed by MPS providers. “It is not just our hardware that differentiates us. In the thermal printer market, our advanced thermal printer operating system, Link-OS, complies with the SNMP standard, providing visibility to printer monitoring and management solutions like MPS Monitor. This gives end-users and channel partners the option to have one pane of glass showing the status of all their Zebra devices, or one pane of glass showing the status of Zebra printers and devices from other office print vendors. “Another key feature of our printer line-up are on-printer applications, Printer Emulations (previously known as Virtual Devices), that allow LinkOS-capable printers to use a variety of printer command languages. If an organisation is using non-Zebra printers, they might have numerous label and receipt formats written in that vendor’s printer programming language, which will be different to our programming language. Often, they will choose to stick with that manufacturer just so they can carry on using the same formats. Printer Emulations allow multiple emulations to be downloaded to a single printer enabling customers to print existing formats on a Zebra device.” As MSPs look to expand into new product areas and their customers continue to explore ways to improve efficiency and cut costs, a partnership with Zebra seems like an obvious next step. If you are in any doubt, a visit to the Zebra Experience Centre might be all you need to change your mind. To find out more about partnering with Zebra Technologies or to arrange a visit to the Zebra Experience Centre, please call 0800 328 2424 or visit Add in its own supplies offering, manufactured and distributed from facilities in Preston and Heerenveen in the Netherlands, including its ZipShip portfolio of 600+ labels available off-theshelf in minimum order quantities of one box, plus the option of custom labels to meet specific customer requirements, and it is easy to see why Zebra has confidence in its ability to meet an existing need and more than likely provide a more efficient alternative. As an example of the latter, Reynolds cites growing interest in the option of linerless (backing-free) media that removes a large volume of backing material from the waste stream for a more efficient way of working. “At the moment, we are working on a business case with a large UK retailer that has a team of people whose function is to collect and take away the discarded backing from used labels in their warehouses. Switching to linerless gives that resource back to the business to redeploy in activities that add better value. And without the backing, rolls are a lot smaller and take up less storage space. So, on top of the green message, this is becoming quite an interesting productivity business case. Zebra is really all about building the business case to become more efficient and effective.” Another potential upgrade is the use of RFID chips within labels for improved tracking and locating with a Zebra scanner or mobile computer, for example the ability to streamline stocktaking by scanning all items within range simultaneously, rather than having to scan the barcode of each item individually. “This year we’re really seeing RFID technology grow exponentially, partly due to the cost of chips coming down but more importantly because the capability of the chips is going up. The other thing that’s driving adoption of RFID is the rise of omnichannel, where customers might buy online and select home delivery or choose to pick up items in-store and perhaps return them in-store as well. No longer is it a case of the warehouse holding the stock and the store selling the stock. To be agile, you need visibility and traceability. You need to know where your stock is, and RFID can give you that in almost real-time.” Referencing Zebra’s mobile computer range, Reynolds highlights how the