As an industry professional, when you replace thermal printers or design new solutions, you have the opportunity to make your client (e.g., the IT manager, warehouse manager, purchasing manager, etc.) more successful in their position and improve the overall productivity and efficiency of their business.
By asking the right questions, you can ensure that they get a solution that not only meets their requirements, but broadens their vision of what is available to them.
As a printer manufacturer, our job is to make you – our value-added reseller partners – look good by simplifying the replacement process and delivering cutting-edge, durable printers that will function trouble-free for years to come.
To that end, Printronix Auto ID has integrated a series of tools and features into its printers with the goal of simplifying printer replacement.
We call this the Printronix System Architecture (PSA) advantage. In addition to giving you the tools you need to seamlessly replace printers, PSA includes advanced features such as RFID and barcode validation/verification.
With this platform at your disposal and Printronix Auto ID as your guide, you are set to begin the printer replacement process.
And as you’re doing so, there are 10 specific questions that we recommend that you ask when you’re meeting with your client to ensure your success…
1) What is working well with your current printers?
Start off positive. It is as important to know what they like about their current solution as well as what they don’t like.
When choosing the right replacement printers, you don’t want to eliminate one of their favorite features or important functionalities.
2) What pain points are you experiencing?
This is a hero-making question. They know what they don’t like, but they may not know what solutions are available to them. This is your opportunity to shine.
Suggest new solutions. If they are batch printing in the warehouse and experiencing label mix-ups, for example, maybe they would benefit from on-demand/onsite printing with mobile printers or even a mobile PrintCart with a mounted industrial printer?
Or if they are receiving compliance fines, they would probably benefit from a label verification solution.
3) How do you send data to the printer (ethernet, wireless, USB, etc.), and what type of host system are you using?
Connectivity is an important consideration in today’s high-tech environments where multiple devices need to communicate. Depending on how old their solution is, they may want to change their method of communication.
Do they need to connect a keyboard, a network, or standalone computer? Do they need advanced security protocols? Make sure the printer you recommend is compatible with the communication options they need.
4) Do you need any special media handling options like peel, rewind, cutter, etc.?
It sounds like a simple question, but once again, you may be able to offer suggestions that can improve on their operation that they most likely didn’t know were possible or available.
5) What printer brands and models are you currently using?
One of the benefits of Printronix and PSA is that we offer 13 emulation options – the largest in the industry. Replacing other brands with Printronix is seamless. And if you do have problems, we are here to help!
Commonality is another benefit of PSA. If they are using older Printronix printers, they will find it easy to use new models.
If you are familiar with Printronix, you will find the experience of installing and troubleshooting new printers is almost identical across our entire product line.
6) What types of label/tags do you print, and how many labels per day are you printing?
This question not only tells you about their media requirements, but guides you in choosing the right printer. Do they have a high-volume 24/7 application, or do they just print a couple hundred labels a day?
Take a look at the Printronix printer lineup in terms of production volumes and label size. Features may seem comparable between printers, but high-performance printers like the T8000 are built for durability and include features like dual motors.
7) Could your application benefit from newer technologies such as RFID, barcode validation, advanced security protocols, wireless connectivity, etc.? Would they solve some of your pain points?
What sets you apart as a VAR is your knowledge to improve their existing solution and raise the bar to what is possible. Printronix offers several innovative solutions that can help you achieve this goal.
While RFID was once considered a dying technology, it has gained popularity in recent years and is expected to grow to a $40.5 billion market by 2025 with much of the growth in the retail and healthcare. The ability to take inventory in minutes instead of days saves time, money, and errors.
There are also many creative uses for RFID such as one of our customers who manufactures car parts. They needed to be able to track and trace their parts, but the parts were getting painted over by the car manufacturer. The company switched to RFID labels so the parts can now be traced regardless of the paint.
We currently offer the T6000 industrial printer with RFID and will launch a new high-performance desktop with RFID by the end of the year (stay tuned!), as well as another RFID printer a few months later.
Barcode compliance and subsequent fines are a pain point for a growing number of companies. Whether it’s government regulated standards such as the new UDI compliance regulation or other industry-driven regulations, the need for accurate barcodes is critical. Companies are being hit with thousands in fines. Companies are desperate for a solution, and you can be the hero.
Printronix Auto ID offers one of the best and most affordable products to meet this demand. The Online Data Verification (ODV) series consists of an integrated printer and barcode verifier which reads each barcode as it is printed, strikes through rejected barcodes, and reprints a new label.
8) Would a printer management tool help streamline your operations? Do you need to manage multiple printers, upload new software to a fleet of printers, or create detailed reports?
PrintNet Enterprise (PNE) is a free robust printer management tool that can be added to our T6000, T8000, or ODV printers and works in conjunction with PSA. It gives users the ability to manage, configure, and monitor an entire fleet of printers from a single dashboard or location.
By setting up mobile or email alerts, managers can respond and troubleshoot printers instantly via a virtual operations panel. And unlike some management tools, PNE does not charge a monthly fee.
9) What kind of service/support program to you need? Is your application-mission critical? Can your application afford to have a printer down or do you need a pool of printers to swap out when sending a printer in for repairs? Would onsite service make more sense for your application?
As value-added resellers, we understand that you may already offer your own service plans for customers. But for those customers where it doesn’t make sense to service them yourself, Printronix offers a variety of service maintenance contracts including onsite service, return-to-depot extended service, and 24/7 onsite services.
Asking these service-specific questions gives you the perfect opportunity to offer a full-service solution to your clients, making them even more satisfied.
10) Are you happy with the quality of your media?
We understand that many resellers offer their own media, and we are not trying to encroach on this business. But for those companies that do not, we suggest offering Printronix Auto ID Genuine Supplies. Our media specialists will work with you to make sure your customer gets the right media for their individual application. Once you’ve identified the correct media, partners can purchase from our media website, and we will ship directly to you or to your customer.
With these 10 questions and insights, you should know everything you need to ask and all the information you need to gather to do a successful thermal printer replacement project.
Here are several key takeaways:
- Use your questions as an opportunity to show your customer new solutions or applications.
- Explore the pain points your customer is experiencing.
- Understand the nuts and bolts of their connectivity and the type of host system they’re using.
- See if they need any special media handling options.
- Find out what brands and models they’re using, knowing that with Printronix, you can benefit from seamless replacements through our printer language emulation capabilities.
- See if their printer application can benefit from newer technologies like RFID, barcode validation, and more.
- Find out if a printer management tool like PNE could help streamline their operations.
- Inquire about the kind of service/support program your customers would want – and need.
- Lastly, make sure they’re getting the best media for their operation.
Now, go execute your project!