Why Retailers Need a Better Printer Management Solution

Man frustrated over lack of printer management

A printer going down is one of the most frustrating issues retailers can face. The frustration builds and so does the list of possible issues. Key pain points include unhappy customers when they have to wait for a document or receipt to be printed, a workflow process which gets delayed because of a missing label, a potential legal issue when a food product lacks a “best-before label” and more. Manual processes that waste valuable time and resources due to device downtime, lack of visibility and duplication of efforts across the business must be avoided. Not to mention, an erosion of security and compliance standards, making retailers vulnerable to security breaches should there be firmware versions and devices that require patching. Status quo solutions have not evolved to address today’s modern mobile era, requiring an innovative approach to printer management.  

Consider this hypothetical scenario. A retail organization with many locations needs a solution to optimize the performance of their printers. They have over 10,000 devices across 150 global distribution sites, operating in 25 countries. The human power to maintain this fleet of printers would be costly and inefficient.  

Let’s dive in and see how this massive fleet of printers can be managed using SOTI Connect. 

Why Retailers Need a Better Printer Management Solution Video

Lack of Visibility Costing Retailers Valuable Time and Money 

This organization relies heavily on the printers in their distribution centers (DCs) to keep their business running. If one goes down, a very manual and physical troubleshooting process begins.  

Currently, the trouble shooting process requires a service rep be sent out by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to their DC. One printer at a time, the service rep will have to plug in a USB to capture the required information to diagnose the issue. Once the information is gathered, the service rep leaves the facilities and reviews the data. After reviewing the data and understanding the issue, a service rep is sent back out to resolve the issue. Through all this, the service rep must be accompanied by an employee…and, did we mention, the DCs can be hundreds of thousands of square feet in size? Hope they were wearing comfortable shoes! 

Printers down = wasted time and money  

  • 15 printers down 
  • 1 hour for Service Rep to be dispatched 
  • 25 minutes of capturing data for each printer x 15 printers = 6.25 hours 
  • Retail employee to assist Service Rep = 6.25 hours 
  • Diagnosis and resolution = 2 hours 
  • Retail employee wages = $20/ hour x 6.25 hours  
  • Total = 15.5 hours of downtime including time spent by the employee and a day of wages ($125 USD) for associate assisting the Service Rep

In this example, time and costs continue to go up as more printers’ encounter issues. 

By using SOTI Connect, this retailer has been able to effectively manage and gain visibility into the diverse and numerous IoT-enabled printers throughout their operations. Should printers go down, SOTI Connect helps to quickly diagnose the issue saving time and money.  

Security and Compliance Is Business-Critical 

For retailers, lack of visibility into technology device investments spills over into the security and compliance side of their business. Since retailers cannot see which devices they have, where the devices are, or any device properties, they cannot understand which devices are vulnerable based on firmware levels or what devices require maintenance. Should there be a vulnerability in a firmware version and devices require patching, or changes in compliance standards, service reps would have to be deployed yet again. This whole process is physical, manual and prone to error. Missing devices could result in breaches and open retailers up to numerous threats. 

Not knowing what device is where is a big issue for this or any retailer. A big learning experience we have seen with a large organization was a lost shipment of 15 printers. SOTI recently supported a customer who mistakenly had a shipment of printers to a DC in Florida that were meant for North Carolina. For two weeks, our customer and the printer manufacturer were searching for these printers only to find that they had been installed in the Florida DC and were being used. With visibility into their devices, they would have solved this matter within a couple of days instead of weeks. 

Hours Wasted Physically Counting and Servicing Devices 

Due to the lack of a remote management solution, our hypothetical retailer requires their annual device count and inspection to be physical. Once a year, all their OEMs require service reps go to the DCs and physically count each device. A retailer associate must also accompany the service reps around the expansive DCs.   

On top of this, this retailer requires service reps to gather specific property information from each printer such as the mac address, IP address, site number, hostname, serial number, and firmware version. This is a very time-consuming process.  

To make things more complicated, what if this was a business operating 24/7? Visits from OEM service reps would have to be scheduled during very specific time frames to limit interruptions in the DCs. With over 10,000 devices and a manual process, this leaves a lot of room for error and risk to operations if the schedule is done poorly or any device is missed. 

Time Wasted on Manual Process 

  • Each device count and information gathering = 25 minutes 
  • Number of devices = 10,000 globally 
  • Time of total annual device count and inspection = 4,167 hours 

Without visibility, this retailer cannot understand what investments to make into their fleet of printers or which DCs need them the most.  

By using SOTI Connect, there is constant visibility into every device in every DC. Now OEM service reps visit the DC’s when they need to physically service a device and inspection time is significantly reduced. If firmware updates are required, they can then be done through SOTI Connect without the need for onsite visits, and without risk of missing a device needing an update. 

Bringing Peace of Mind to Retailers  

With all devices being managed within one solution, retailers gain peace of mind. When this retailer wanted to find a solution to manage their fleet of printers, they needed a product that would allow visibility into all their devices. Having visibility into device properties across the globe, their teams can go to sleep knowing they are up-to-date with security and compliance standards.  

Learn more about SOTI Connect and how it can help manage your fleet of printers: