Barcodes and Label Printers and Print Drivers: Problems and Solutions
Accuracy. Efficiency. Speed: These are the main goals for many businesses, but particularly for those in the transportation/logistics, manufacturing, retail/point-of-sale, healthcare, government, and hospitality industries. One of the ways that companies in these industries keep their operations running smoothly is through the use of barcode and labeling systems.
If you work in one of these industries, chances are you manage or have managed Zebra printers, the industry leader for thermal barcode label/receipt printers, RFID smart label printers, and card and kiosk printers that are used for barcode labeling and specialty printing. Barcodes pack a lot of information into a small space. Even one-minute deviation in their printed form can cause errors. The types of things that can go wrong when printing barcodes include:
- Misaligned labels
- Spacing issues
- Jumbled fonts
- Unclear or smudged barcodes
- Wrong SKU
- Miscellaneous printing errors
Challenges for Users
Although every set of end users and admins have their specific challenges and solutions, more often than not, most have the same need: to deliver the highest quality product or service, securely, and accurately. To accomplish this, we need to diagnose the problem to find the exact solution that fits. Supply chain issues related to print management often have industry-unique symptoms, but the problems causing the issues are typically the same.
In logistics, "staff are overextended and under pressure, compliance is complex, and customers expect service and information instantly", which means that barcode printing errors can result in disgruntled staff, unhappy customers, and lost revenue. In healthcare, the stakes are even higher. When barcodes are used for patient identity management or prescription labeling, having the correct barcode print every time could be a matter between life and death. Likewise, in retail, companies struggle with managing mobile point-of-sale receipt printing and proof of purchase.
Challenges for Admins
While AIDC processes involve the transfer of data to a computer system without human input, there are people involved in the set up and maintenance of these systems. For system administrators who oversee Zebra barcode and label printers, challenges include:
- Specialty print driver issues and general management
- Difficult networking requirements involved with these printers (often in remote or mobile locations)
- Printing from RDP sessions
- Difficult configuration
- Outdated and disjointed user interfaces
- Restrictions in printer names or custom printer names
- Third party software integration with legacy ERPs
Whether it's establishing well-connected warehouses, comprehensive end-to-end strategies, or mastering strategic print management, any admin with any environment can bring better performance to their company with the right plan and tools.
Solution: The Right Print Driver
Zebra printers, while their industries best, are still known for having print driver issues - a Google search on the topic brings up over 1 million hits. Sometimes a quick workaround can be found. However, in most situations, a permanent, stable solution is necessary. Depending on the actual issue with the print driver, there are a few easy workarounds that are consistent, stable, and reliable every time.
In cases where the Zebra print driver is unsuitable out of the box, Seagull Scientific Drivers are a good solution. These drivers work quickly and are cost effective. Seagull Scientific has been developing print drivers for over 20 years (just like Tricerat), and are a good solution to try first, since they are available to download, free, on their website.
Tricerat's software is another solution to stabilize and resolve issues with barcode print management. Specifically, our software shines in highly scaled, hybrid environments that use VDI. Our patented software queries the native print driver for the printer's capabilities, in order to pass that through the virtual channel. This allows the native Zebra print dialogue to be accessed by the user. All of this functionality is delivered through any virtual channel without interruption. Because print driver functions are passed through the virtual channel, Tricerat's solutions are manufacture agnostic, and work with any printer or print driver regardless of make or model (including Seagull Scientific).
Solution: Solved Printer Name Incompatibility
Printer name incompatibility comes up most often with companies that use legacy ERP systems alongside remote desktop environments. With a remote desktop session, the printer name changes every time a user logs into an RDP session.
Oftentimes, legacy ERP systems require a consistent printer name in order to make those printers available for printing. When the printer name doesn't match the job correctly, the ERP system will not see a valid printer and labels will not print, leading to a bottleneck-filled supply chain. Tricerat's software gives system admins the ability to give printers custom names that persist every time a user logs into a remote session, ensuring the barcode prints accurately and to the right SKU, every time.
If you're experiencing issues with Zebra, barcode, or label printing - we can help. With over 20 years experience in the printing industry, we've helped over 10,000 customers streamline their processes and remove roadblocks to productivity. Contact our team now to schedule a demo to see how we can help you build a better IT environment.