Managing a Distributed Barcode Label Printing Environment


Now that you’ve decided the benefits of distributed printing work for your company, how do you make sure the printers in these diverse locations are working properly?  And how do you deploy new label designs or updated network configurations without having to travel to each printer location?

Printer manufacturers who encourage distributed printing are offering “printer management tools” that range in capability.   These companies include Zebra Technologies, Datamax and Sato, among others.  They all include the ability to view the printer network (sometimes also in graphical form), configure the printers remotely, monitor status (out of ribbon for example), and upload new label formats.  The more advanced tools, such as Zebra’s ZebraNet™ Bridge Enterprise software, have the capability to manage printers in groups, to remotely change settings and download new firmware.  Some printer management tools also assist with load balancing – making sure one printer is not taking the majority of the workload, for example.  Being able to do this extends the life of the print heads and the printers.

Seagull Scientific is known for their Bartender™ software, which designs labels and cards.  Their Enterprise Automation Edition also includes Enterprise Print Management capability which includes such features as “reprint”, which lets you search for and reprint previous jobs.

There are independent device management developers (Soti and Wavelink are two that are widely used) that provide management for not only printers, but mobile computers, pda’s and some cell phones.  This type of Device Management Software may go as far as disabling mobile devices that leave the premises, in case of theft.

With the proliferation of the internet, it is possible to manage printers and mobile devices that are distributed nation (or even world) wide from a single location.