At QuickLabel, we stand behind our label printers 100%. We have to – we use them ourselves! We know, personally, how using our Pronto! barcode label printers, integrated with a company-wide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, can make the packaging process much faster, more accurate, and more efficient.
For example, we use 12 of our own Pronto! 482 barcode label printers in our Packaging Department at the Media Manufacturing Plant located at our Rhode Island World Headquarters, where hundreds of our customers’ unique orders for labels, thermal transfer ribbons, and inks are manufactured, labeled, boxed, and shipped on-the-fly every day.
Marc Vadeboncoeur, Senior Programmer/Analyst in our IT Department, explained the Plant’s main label printing challenge: “Every single product must have unique descriptive labels, both on the item itself and on the outside box. So, the need arose to create a fully-integrated automated labeling solution that would produce accurate, top-quality product labels on demand.”
By automatically printing labels with data pulled from our ERP system instead of manually printing labels by having packaging staff enter data by hand, the Pronto! label printer offered the following solutions:
1) Decrease human error in label content
2) Decrease downtime caused by packaging staff having to type label content into software
3) Decrease downtime caused by label format changeovers
How Did QuickLabel Meet These Goals?
Vadeboncoeur single-handedly developed a custom program for the Pronto!s that pulls diverse product information from our internal ERP system. He also wrote a user-friendly “front end” software (also known as a graphical user interface or “GUI”) that allowed packaging staff to begin printing labels for each work order by simply entering the product’s part number. When this information is entered by the user, the Pronto!s automatically receive and print label content from our JD Edwards ERP system database.
“A Labeling System Integrator’s Dream”
“The Pronto! label printer line is a labeling system integrator’s dream,” boasted Vadeboncoeur. “The Pronto! printers join to our corporate network using their built-in Ethernet adapters and seamlessly attach to our IBM Power Systems enterprise server in minutes using the standard TCP/IP networking protocol.”
He continued, “In addition to the quick connectivity to our corporate server, each Pronto! printer comes out-of-the box with a built-in and robust web browser-based administrative interface that makes customizing each printer’s hardware settings fast and painless.”
“The devices are tightly engineered from both a hardware and software perspective, with a strong emphasis on simplicity of integration, ease of operation, and ongoing durability,” he said.
From Vadeboncoeur’s software developer’s perspective, he found that the Pronto! printers were also easy to integrate into existing enterprise systems. “The “protocol” (or “command language”) that is used to direct the printer to generate labels is powerful, simple, and very easy to learn.” Vadeboncoeur continued, “Integrating 12 Pronto! label printers to receive label data from our corporate ERP system was straightforward and accomplished quickly with no limits on the types of labels that we can generate.” (allowing for custom graphics and fonts, etc.)
Vadeboncoeur’s main goal was to create an intuitive experience that would empower packaging staff to quickly and easily print product labels and box labels for the thousands of media items that we sell.
The best part about incorporating this new GUI, according to Scott Kenyon, the Quality Assurance Manager for our Media products, is that there was essentially no training needed. “The GUI is pretty self-explanatory. Since it’s only one screen, there aren’t a lot of places to make errors.”
“Being able to access the ERP system through the GUI eliminated the need for our users to key in label descriptions or do math,” Kenyon continued. He also noted that being able to eliminate such tedious tasks helped to improve label accuracy.
Having an automated label printing system is perfect in an environment where many workers are not necessarily comfortable using computers. “I think the users find it easy to navigate and extremely helpful,” added Kenyon. “They appreciate the fact that the use of this tool helps them eliminate typos.”
Simplicity is key in the Media Plant’s busy environment and the more workers can focus on the job at hand, the better. “The Pronto!s are easy to load and unload, and we’re not spending our time ‘babysitting’ the printers,” Kenyon said. This has resulted in higher throughput in the Packaging Department.
Our Advice to You: the Pronto!s Offer Simplicity
If you’re looking to incorporate a label printer and integrate your own GUI, Marc Vadeboncoeur has one recommendation for you – simplicity.
“From a hardware and networking perspective, the printer must communicate seamlessly with whatever enterprise server is in use. From a software development perspective, instructing the printer exactly ‘what’ to print must be uncomplicated regardless of the programming being used.”
Vadeboncoeur believes the Pronto! is a perfect fit for what we needed to accomplish. “The Pronto! not only meets but exceeds all expectations for simplicity, making it the ideal solution for QuickLabel Systems’ own integrated in-house product labeling needs.”
Want to See Another Successful Pronto! Integration?
For another great example of how the Pronto! has been incorporated into a business with a computerized database, watch this video about the Soup Peddler in Austin, TX. Before integrating the Pronto!, owner David Ansel had to individually create and print labels for each food. Having a Pronto! reduced the amount of labor he was putting into creating labels for each product because he was able to integrate his point of purchase database with the Pronto! label printer and automatically print labels.
Want Your Own Pronto! Label Printer & Custom Software?
Our QuickLabel sales engineers can show you everything you need. Feel free to ask them to bring a Pronto! to your office or factory on the day of your choice at QuickLabel.com/demo.