How to Choose the Right Industrial Printer

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Industrial Label Printer for Your Warehouse Operations

No one notices printers on the shop floor when they’re working well and keeping up with throughput. However, when printers are under-performing or they fail, operations come to a standstill.

When to Choose Desktop, Industrial or Mobile Printers

If your printers are failing or you’re due for a printer refresh, it pays to know the strengths and weaknesses of your options in desktop, industrial and/or mobile printers.

Each of these models has a unique design with high-performance capabilities. Thermal label printers are great for creating high-quality bar-code labels, tags, wristbands, receipts and more. The specific type of thermal printer you choose depends on your volume of printing, the operational environment and whether you need mobility. Here are the three main options:

Desktop Printers

Desktop printers are perfect for light-duty labeling in an office, retail store or similar environment. They’re ideal for producing up to 500 labels, tags or receipts per week. Our recommended Zebra desktop printers produce the same quality and support, and the same media as much larger printers, but they’re designed for lower-volume printing with a correspondingly lower price. They can communicate through a wired connection or wireless.

Industrial Printers

Industrial printers are designed for high-volume print applications in demanding environments. Industrial printers are larger and more rugged than desktop printers. These printers reliably print thousands of labels, tags or other media every day. If you’re printing labels in large volumes, and if your printer will operate in a rugged environment with extreme temperatures, dust, debris or other challenges, an industrial label printer is your best option.

The latest Zebra industrial printers are ultra-rugged and print labels as small as 3 mm and handle requirements all the way up to 14” in print width. They also support a wide range of communication options, including serial, Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and more.

Mobile Printers

Mobile printers are not made for high volumes, and they have limited roll capacity and smaller print widths. But, they enable printing on the go, wherever it’s needed—both indoors and outdoors, along with wireless Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity.

A mobile printer, such as Zebra’s QLn Series, can provide high print quality in a compact package that conveniently fits on your hip. It’s perfect for delivery drivers and field service or sales agents, as well as warehouse workers that need access to on-the-spot labeling.

Direct Thermal vs. Thermal Transfer Printers

Once you know the type of label printer you need, you’ll next need to choose between direct thermal (DT) and thermal transfer (TT) printing. This all depends on how long you need the label to last and the material that comprises it.

Direct Thermal Printers

Direct thermal printing is ideal for short-term labeling applications, such as shipping labels. They’re not suited for applications where labels are exposed to heat, long periods of sunlight or abrasion. However, to help with these issues, thermal labels and tags are often top-coated to resist these elements.

In direct thermal printing, heat-sensitive labels are used, and they blacken as they pass under the printhead. There’s no ribbon involved. The process produces sharp print quality with good scannability using only one consumable.

Thermal Transfer Printers

Thermal transfer printers use a ribbon, which is melted onto the label by the printhead. This makes it easy to use specialized non-paper label materials for harsh or outdoor environments.

Thermal transfer labels are more durable, and they have a long shelf life when printed. This makes them ideal for product labels and asset tags. Since thermal transfer uses a ribbon, you can also change color and print in colors other than black.

It costs a bit more to print thermal transfer media, but the benefit is durability and improved readability without ever needing to reprint.

Use the tools you have

While I originally wrote this for Salons and Spas there can be a great deal of cross-over.

One way to grow your business is to segment your database by age, gender, and interest, for example. How do you segment? You send out a survey to your database asking them certain questions that will help you segment them into different lists. Examples include male, female, age groups, parents with kids and special interests. Then, you implement the following marketing strategies. Create salon or spa marketing campaigns for each segment of your database, speaking directly to them and their needs.

1. Male specific spa marketing The women-to-men ratio of spa goers now is “80% women to 20% men.” You can tap into your women database and launch an entire campaign to market to the men in their lives. Your campaign should include an event to introduce their men to your spa or salon and share all the benefits they will gain from your products and treatments. During the event, you can have a speaker educating your guests on how men can be healthier, look younger and de-stress, for example. Choose topics you would like to focus. This will bring forth the importance of visiting the salon or spa and the role your spa or salon can play in helping men obtain or maintain a healthier lifestyle and look their very best. Make an enticing offer the night of the event to get them into the habit of visiting the salon/spa. Create lists in your MailChimp or Constant Contact or whatever platform you use, and send out targeted emails to each list.

2. Teen acne campaign for back to school In the survey, you should ask if they have children. Provide yes, no and age boxes for them to check. Identify the parents with teenagers and send out an acne campaign to sell them on your acne membership. CoachMe Platinum member Beth Pestotnik did this several years ago, and she has more than 100 teenage members who are addressing their acne concerns. You can do the same and generate thousands of dollars each month.

3. Healthy-aging programs Segmenting by age is essential. Marketing by age group is a lot more efficient. Take the 40 + and market all your healthy-aging programs: Bioidentical hormones, weight management, vaginal rejuvenation, CoolSculpting, hair restoration, etc.

Don’t wait! Go ahead. Segment your database and offer solutions to each targeted market, and your salon or spa business will grow exponentially!

Consultant, Naysayer or Idiot (Part 1)

Having worked in this industry for over 32 years I look back and try to see where I have been and what I have gotten from it. In doing so, I compare myself to my peers and stop to think if my parents and grandparents would be proud or even just approve. You see, that has always been important, more important than wealth. To do what is right, what is fair. Applying this has gotten me where I am today but that is not near as far as others unencumbered by these burdens.

You see, I started as a retail sales rep in a small computer store. My manager believed in me, that I cared, that I would always do what was right. And that is how he trained me. He trained me that the first thing I should do is ask “what are you trying to do with this computer?” Then just shut up and listen.

It was an interesting time. I never stayed a sales rep very long, anywhere I worked. I ended up in Service or Management. You see, I didn’t sell much but I did satisfy customers. While my way of selling satisfied customers, it didn’t make money. I was even offered a position with an accounting firm. I had never heard of them and what they were starting sounded a little crazy, so I passed. I cannot help but wonder where I would be had a taken that job with that startup called “Arthur Anderson Consulting”.

So I decided to be a consultant. Let’s charge to help people use computers to satisfy their needs, or solve their problems. That will make money and in the mid-eighties, was pretty unheard of.

I had a pretty good thing going. I would find a small business with a problem that a computer and software might solve. Spend time with the client defining the problem. Find a software and hardware combination that would solve the problem and recommend it. I remember once finding a 69 dollar software program that solved a problem for a client that had already been told ‘Tens of Thousands’ for a solution. He was a pretty smart guy and implemented it himself along with a few phone calls to me.

PRESS RELEASE – SHIPLINK

KCMA™ Corporation, the North American Wheel Loader Division of Hitachi Construction Machinery, Powers Fulfillment Operations with New Multi-Carrier Shipping Software from ShipLink Global™
ShipLink 2017™ Solution integrates KCMA’s powerful SYSPROTM ERP with popular carrier programs like FedEx Ship Manager™ and UPS WorldShip™ to deliver new shipping capabilities and enterprise-class performance.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, April 20, 2017 – ShipLink Global LLC today announced the release of their new ShipLink 2017 hybrid, PC client and cloud-based shipping solution with its successful deployment at 14-year customer, KCMA Corporation’s distribution centers in North America.

The new solution provides KCMA with greater control and efficiency when shipping parts and supplies to their network of more than 160 dealers across the US and Canada – locations that sell and service the company’s wheel loaders and other heavy construction equipment.

According to KCMA Senior Operations Manager, Chris Trogstad, “Construction schedules demand 100% equipment uptime. For KCMA that makes on-time delivery of critical replacement parts and supplies absolutely essential. With ShipLink we’re able to access the full range of available freight and parcel carrier services to meet this demand.”

Unlike most shipping applications, which only offer a limited selection of carrier services, ShipLink 2017 integrates directly with free, carrier-supported programs from FedEx, UPS, DHL, Stamps.com, Purolator and Spee-Dee. As a result, the solution provides users with instant access to 100% of available services, including those required for international shipments and international origins.

Where most shipping applications only operate with limited data, ShipLink 2017 is deeply integrated with ERPs to leverage the full spectrum of available customer, destination, SKU and business rules information. For KCMA and hundreds of other SYSPRO ERP users, the solution provides the ability to ship exactly how they desire. This includes shipping from both Dispatch and Delivery Notes, using multiple carrier accounts, allocating customer and product-specific freight charges, automatically updating order status, and tracking shipments within S/O Query. With ShipLink 2017, SYSPRO ERP users can now ship with greater speed, efficiency and visibility.

To manage enhanced and expanded shipping capabilities, ShipLink 2017 provides a point-and-click administration console that governs hundreds of required customer, carrier and processing details. This unique component allows users to quickly configure the solution without a costly professional service engagement or undue burden on their own IT resources.

“ShipLink essentially delivered a completely custom shipping solution that KCMA installed and brought live the same day. This wasn’t possible with other solutions we explored, and practically unheard of in the enterprise shipping space,” Chris Trogstad added.

For enterprise users and companies with complex fulfillment processes, ShipLink 2017 supports automatic, rules-based order consolidation and pre-manifest pick list labeling. The solution also provides cloud-based utilities to harmonize ISO data, unify carrier codes, manage locations, provision workstations, process end-of-day manifests, and generate consolidated shipping reports. To learn more, visit www.shiplinkglobal.com

About ShipLink Global

ShipLink Global LLC is a leading provider of carrier application integration and shipping solutions for SYSPRO and other tier two ERPs. The company supports deployments which have been operating since 2003 in a diversity of industries, including consumer products, healthcare, industrial manufacturing, aerospace and ecommerce. To learn more, visit www.shiplinkglobal.com

For additional information, contact:
Glenn Stewart
SHIPLINK GLOBAL LLC
6101 Centinela Avenue, Suite 375
Culver City, CA 90230
404.444.9725
gstewart@shiplinkglobal.com

Excel Tips – Separating data

Sometimes the information we need for a mail merge comes in a format that we are not able to use, such as the list below. So we need to prepare the information, to easily handle a mail merge.

Mouse; Mickey; 222-333-4444
Mouse; Minnie; 222-333-4444
Duck; Donald; 222-333-4444
Sam; Yosemite; 222-333-4444
Dog; Pluto; 222-333-4444
Duck; Daffy; 222-333-4444
Coyote; Wile E.; 222-333-4444
Bird; Tweety; 222-333-4444
Cat; Sylvester; 222-333-4444

If this information needs to be quickly placed in an Excel table, it can be done by using the Text to Column command.

1. Copy information and paste in Excel.

2. Under the Data tab, click the Text to Columns command
Excel Tip
a. This will show the selected data to be altered, so ensure the information selected is correct.

3. Once data confirmed, click the Next button
Excel Tip

4. Select the symbol being used to separate the information. In this case it is a semi-colon.
Excel Tip
a. Once selected, you will see the information separate.
b. Confirm and click Next.

5. The next screen will allow you to place data in the cells you want to start with, and what type of format to initially use for the information. Once completed, click Finish
Excel Tip

6. The finished product looks like the following:
Excel Tip
a. From here, information can be inserted into the table, or headers can be added.

SYSPRO 7 Upgrade Methodology – Thorough Testing is Key to a Successful Go Live

SYSPRO V7 has a new Database structure, improved SRS printing capabilities, changes to how Custom Form Fields are managed within the system, and many new features and functionality.

These changes make it imperative that a test system and extensive testing of all programs, forms, reports , custom programs, integrations and 3rd party applications be a critical component of the upgrade.

Thorough testing, issue resolution and sign off is the best way to minimize the Go Live risk, and to enable a smooth go live, with minimal disruption to your users and your business.

CCG has successfully used this methodology to assist many of our customers in upgrading to SYSPRO V7.

  • Thorough audit of your infrastructure, applications, documents and reports to ensure all key components are identified and addressed during upgrade. Experienced PM will assist in developing detailed upgrade plan.
  • Assistance installing TEST SYSRO 7 system and converting your data
  • Assistance in understanding new structure features and actions required to implement (addresses, Custom Form Fields, Server Side Printing)
  • Assistance with 3rd Party applications that access SYSPRO database, to ensure version compatible with SYSPRO V7 is installed and tested
  • Assistance modifying any documents and reports that will be affected by changes in the SYSPRO 7 database structure
  • Training on new features in SYSPRO V7, and review processes to take advantage of new features, and automation and personalisation capabilities
  • In depth training available on SYSPRO V7 Securities, System Administration, Power Tailoring
    Assistance in complete cycle testing of SYSPRO V7, to ensure all working correctly in preparation for go-live
  • Assistance in all go live activities, including final database conversion to SYSPRO 7, and end user support
  • Final review to confirm all is working correctly

Common sense or mutiny?

Do ALL ERP projects actually fail?

Yes all.

If you look at a successful ERP implementation as meeting all of the following three criteria:
• On time
• On budget
• Delivering promised functionality

Successful ERP implementation projects are like rainbow colored Unicorns, found only in marketing literature or in the dreams of children along with dragons and fairy princesses.

It has been my contention for a long time that if prospects had a crystal ball to see the actual time, effort and money that their ERP project was going to take…sales would come to a dead halt. Or the software publishers and the implementation partners would be forced to address the fundamental issues that plague the industry.

My goal is to address theses failures by providing a different mind set and set of solutions to the same old problems.

Guest Blog: What the Marketplace Fairness Act Could Mean for Your Business

The Senate recently passed the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013[MFA] by a vote of 69 to 27, and the bill now awaits debate in the House. If this bill passes it could dramatically change sales tax requirements for many businesses within 180 days after it becomes law. But, of course, the most important question is what it might mean for your business. It’s important to consider:

1. Can your business handle the change?
2. Does your ERP system handle the change?

This post will unpack the MFA and how it could impact your business’ tax requirements. Additionally, we will give insight into whether you need to do some planning so your current infrastructure can handle the change.

MFA overview:

Today, if your business sells into states where you have no physical presence—like a warehouse, storefront, or sales personnel—you don’t have to collect sales tax in those states. The MFA would change this by allowing states to require out-of-state businesses to collect sales tax, even if they don’t have an in-state physical presence.

In other words, if you’re based in New York and currently sell into California without collecting California sales tax, MFA would give California the right to make you collect sales tax on sales made to its residents.

There are two caveats to the authority MFA would grant to states.

• First, in order to enact MFA, states must meet certain simplification requirements to their tax codes, like providing a centralized sales tax administration for both state and local jurisdictions. Currently 22 states have tax codes that would automatically meet these requirements. Learn more about which states would have the easiest time implementing MFA: http://salestaxchanges.com/#map

• Second, in its current version the bill makes an exception for businesses that gross less than $1 million per calendar year in total U.S. remote sales. Learn more about the small seller exception here.

What it would mean for your business

If the bill passes, you may have to start collecting sales tax in states where you currently don’t collect, provided that you don’t qualify for the small seller exception. For some businesses this will mean a significant increase in the amount of states where they have to collect, file, and remit sales tax.

In addition, the bill would not change any of your current sales tax requirements. If you collect and file Illinois sales tax, you will continue to do that, with our without MFA.

What you can do to get ready:

Most ERP systems have inherent or limited ability to manage complex tax situations. In this case, the real overhead is not only setting up but also the ongoing maintenance of tax tables. So either way, check to see if your ERP system integrates with AvaTax. If it does not, start looking at a system like SYSPRO.

AvaTax, the cloud-based tax management solution, is a fully-integrated add-on. With modest set-up required, AvaTax populates the taxability tables and sales tax fields in the order-entry screens. SYSPRO users and their customers both benefit. Users don’t have to learn any new systems and customers get current and accurate sales tax calculations.

While sales tax calculation and remittance may seem to be more complex with this pending legislation, SYSPRO clients have relief and can rest easy knowing their company can easily handle the MFA changes.

Learn more about being ready for sales tax changes during a webinar on June 13.
Register here.

-Will Frei, Sales Tax Specialist- Avalara

WillSince 2011, Will Frei has covered sales tax news for Avalara, writing articles and blogs on best practices, legislation, and sales tax technology.

 

Mid-market ERP Solutions Checklist – Key questions to ask before you buy

Before you commit to any ERP system, you should first answer several questions about what your organization needs and wants to accomplish with its ERP strategy. The answers will help you determine which applications and  what kind of functionality your organization requires from its ERP solution, as well as go a long way toward easing the implementation process.

1) Do your organization’s business leaders support the ERP implementation project? Are they involved in deciding which business processes are included in the ERP package, how to phase in the roll-out and how to measure success with the implementation? For ERP to succeed, executives throughout the organization — especially those heading up the various departments that will use the ERP applications — must be a part of the roll-out.

2) Who are the line-of-business professionals that can be responsible for measuring the business benefits relevant to their department’s ERP modules? Employees beyond the IT department need to own the success of the ERP  deployment.

3) Who will be the ERP project manager? One person — an outside consultant or a current employee — should be in charge of managing the process to choose an ERP solution; coordinating demos and consultations with  vendors; leading a team of representative from each area of the company, including finance, sales, human resources and manufacturing; and coordinating meetings between with key users of the new system.

4) What are the specific business problems you need to solve with ERP? For instance, do you need to shorten product lead times or improve communications with your suppliers? Are there industry regulations to which your company must adhere?

5) What are the goals and metrics that you will use to measure the business benefits of your organization’s new ERP solution? A good starting point for these metrics are the KPIs — such as inventory accuracy, cost reductions  and month-end closing processes — that your company is already tracking.

6) What features and functions do you need from a new ERP solution that will help increase users’ productivity and provide access to the business data users most need?

7) Are there best practices you need to adopt with the ERP implementation?

8) If your organization operates around the world, are there foreign currencies and languages that your ERP solution must support?

9) With which modules will you begin rolling out your ERP package? Mid-market ERP systems are modular enough to allow you to implement them in phases, first rolling out the features that will meet your organization’s most dire needs. Taking the implementation in prioritized steps gives IT managers and ERP users a chance to learn new processes.

10) Is the prospective ERP solution built with SOA capabilities? Called by many the next big thing in enterprise technology, SOA allows for a more agile and flexible IT environment, connecting systems and automating manual business processes — which is exactly what you want your ERP system to do.

11) Which users across your organization will need to be trained on the new system? As with any new system, the success of your ERP implementation will largely depend on end-users’ ability — and willingness — to adopt it.

12) Will the ERP package be able to adapt to changes in your business as your company grows?

7 Signs That Your Company is Ready for an ERP Solution

Because of the benefits that ERP can bring, and the long period during which those benefits may manifest themselves, ERP implementation is always a strategic investment for an organization. Increased productivity, reduced operating expenses, improved information flow and enhanced performance management are some of the benefits that an organization can realize by implementing an appropriate ERP solution. On the other hand, huge unanticipated costs, enormous opportunity costs due to extended project timelines, and minimal ROI are some of the tribulations that an organization can get into without informed selection and well-planned implementation. Thus, the first and foremost thing is to identify whether your organization needs an ERP solution at all. We have listed below some of the business conditions that can help you make the decision. If an organization is experiencing one or more of the following business conditions, it is time to seriously consider implementing an ERP solution or replacing the current one:
1. Fast and uncontrolled growth: Is your organization growing at a very fast pace? Your organization has recently opened multiple operational units/offices in multiple locations. There is significant increase in volumes of production, processes, and work force.

2. Lack of sufficient and accurate information on your company’s performance: You are facing problems in capturing exact figures or are receiving mismatched data on your company’s performance indicators.

3. Consistent mismatch between inventories and production management: There is a lack of coordination between sales order processing and inventory management in your organization.

4. Duplication of effort: The finance and HR departments store and maintain employee details separately. Similar other instances of duplication exist in your company.

5. The right information is not accessible at the right time: You are not able to access accurate data on stock in inventory, month-end sales figures, orders in transit and other required information on time.

6. Little or no ability to forecast and plan: Your organization’s strategic and planning division is not equipped to forecast and often relies on conventional methods for future projections.

7. Your current system is becoming obsolete: The existing enterprise system in your organization is no longer efficiently supporting your day-to-day processes and is negatively impacting the organization’s growth.