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Benefits of Mobile Printers


Recently, Codespring has had the pleasure to answer a set of interesting questions about the mobile printing situation in Romania, a study conducted by MarketWatch Magazine.  The result has also been published as an article in the Industry Watch section of the online version. The discussion about the necessity of increased mobility of operational teams and the benefits of mobile printers has gathered different and interesting perspectives.

The author, Mr. Radu Ghitulescu, has interviewed several representatives involved in the mobile printing phenomenon in Romania. Codespring’s representive – Mr. Brem Walter, COO – has presented its opionion from the software developer perspective involved in developing applications for mobile printing. For your reference we have translated the full article.

The original article in Romanian language may be accessed at the following link: http://www.marketwatch.ro/articol/12162/Ce_castiguri_genereaza_imprimantele_mobile/

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Mobility means more than tablets and smartphones. Mobile printers are also part of it, as they prove their utility in increasing diverse fields. Claimed benefits are not only image related, but they can now be quantified in savings or efficiency gains.

For many companies, in diverse industries, mobility is no longer an option but a real business necessity. Being mobile, able to respond to customers’ requests and to take business decisions correctly, rapidly and from wherever you were, is at the time being a clear competitive advantage, that can make a difference on an extremely competitive market.

According to a VDC research („Mobile Worker Trends: Fears of Managing an Increasing Mobile Workforce“), made two years ago, the number of mobile workers worldwide overpassed 1 billion (at the beginning of 2011). The estimated growth rate calculated at that date for the next 3 years was of min. 10% / year.  An estimate that was probably obsolete, considering the explosion of the mobile devices offer during the past 2 years and the high penetration rate of tablets and smartphones in the enterprise environments, sustained through a large scale adoption of the BYOD phenomenon.

Nevertheless, for businesses, mobility does not resume to shiny and catchy smartphones and tablets, it is widely “represented” by other device categories that demonstrate their usefulness in various industries.  Such a category is the mobile printers’ category that shyly makes their presence on the domestic market (to note: Romanian market).

Local market, at the beginning

The mobile printers’ adoption speed on the Romanian market is much slower compared to the global market – where, according to an Aberdeen Group research from 2010, 40% of service companies were decided to invest and use mobile printers.

Even though two years have passed since the quoted study has been published, the local mobile printers market is still at an incipient stage. “The Romanian market, even if technically ready for benefiting the mobile printers’ advantages, shows a still low absorption level” declares Mr. Stelica Magiru, Sales Manager Eurocom.

The embryonic tage of the local market has also been confirmed by Codespring representatives, from a software services suppliers’ perspective (namely as a developer for mobile printers’ applications):

Working mainly for Germany and the USA, we can say that we have assited at the penetration of mobile printers among industrial users from these areas. Romania is visibly undergoing the same process towards the sales force automation, the increasing mobility and equipment of field operational teams. As mobile devices are more and more absorbed in the corporate environment, we will assist a growing demand for mobile printers too”, reckons Mr. Brem Walter, COO Codespring.

Advantages of Mobility

The before mentioned Aberdeen study worth to be mentioned again as it represents the answer of some companies in quite difficult economic times – almost 2 years after the global crisis has begun – and which have acknowledged the fact that any competitive advantage must be valued at the maximum. The study clearly highlights the reasons for which mobile printers are a good choice for the interviewed subjects:

  • 59% have indicated directly measurable operational effectiveness as the main reason for choosing mobile printing solutions;
  • 54% have declared that using mobile printers and integrating them with corporate processes contributes to the significant errors volume reduction;
  • 38% have reported a considerable decrease of redundant activities.

In the opinion of Codespring’s representative, the main benefits that should be followed by the introduction and use of mobile printers with business organizations are:

  • Growing mobility for various processes;
  • Greater territory coverage for field teams;
  • Growing transactions speed due to documentary support at the transaction place;
  • Maximum confort for field operations;
  • Increasing field operators’ responsibility;
  • Higher performance and reliability on the field.

This way, the performance and the efficiency of all field teams may be increased, the routing of agents may be optimized, time may be saved, fix costs may be reduced, while sales volume and value may grow”, explains Mr. Brem Walter.

From his perspective, Mr. Damian Frunza – Key Account Manager Eutron Invest Romania, mobile printers enhance overall effectiveness for the entire organization. “The main benefit of mobile printers is that they improve the efficiency of both processes and deployed operations, but also the employees productivity. Mobile printers allow the implementation of flexible business models, where the time of unproductive operations is heavily reduced, lowering the bureaucracy within organizations, without losing the printed support. From a technical perspective, the wide variety of wireless communications with other devices ensures a lean integration of mobile printers with any mobility solution. From a functional perspective, the printing occurs there where and when it is needed, the data correctness is verified on the spot, and the overall costs are much cheaper than with alternative printing solutions. The time earned in this way may be used by the employees to focus on those productive activities that bring added value to the company”.

Applications

As one can observe from the above lists, the benefits of mobile printers are universally valid, not limited to a certain geographical area, and their use is confirmed by companies from diverse sectors.

Mobile printers have their greatest impact on logistics and distribution companies, where document issuing is permanent, in great numbers and the activity itself is characterized by mobility. In such cases, mobile printers is not a benefit, but a necessity.” Explains Mr. Damian Frunza, Eutron.

Nevertheless, these sectors are not the only ones where mobile printers showcase their utility. “A project that I dearly remember is the one of an insurance brokerage company, with over 50 mobile brokers and whose main need was to print at the clients’ place the customized simulations and offers, based on which the customer could decide the best option for him/her. Eurocom has responded to this request by offering one of the Canon mobile printers. The results were seen in the brokerage company’s turnover by a growth of the cionversion rate of prospects to actual customers.” explains Stelica Magiru.

Codespring’s reptresentative, Mr. Brem Walter adds a few examples of efficient use of mobile printers by sales teams and by quality assurance and control teams:

  • implementation for DATACOLOR – global leader for color management and calibration: mobile printers are used for testing and calibrating operations on the move;
  • implementation for  SEEBURGER – global leader for integrated business solutions: mobile printers are being used for  operational accounts, field reporting, field labeling and so on.;
  • implementation for collections management: mobile printers serve operational accounts, labeling and correcting errors on the spot.

Return on Investment

In the current economic landscape, on a market where the price is an essential criterion, investment depreciation represents an important element for the buying decision making.

In order to have a correct projection of this element, we have called for the Eurocom’s representative expertise:
Mobile printers are not that expensive as many may imagine. (…)From pour direct experience, the return on investment may take between 3 to 6 months, depending on the users’ mobility degree, the business type and – very important (!) – the number of clients visited. Let’s take the example of the classic insurance broker, who makes at leats 2 visits to the same client: the first visit is for setting conditions and the second one is fir handing out the printed documents (contract, policy, receipt). Mobile printers eliminate from the start the second visit, reducing to half the time spent for closing the sale and the travelling costs, helping to grow the number of visited prospects. Certainly each employer is monitoring the monthly gas costs and courier costs for each agent, costs situated between 300 – 400 RON (av. 70-90 EURO). By splitting these costs in two, we can easily have an opinion about the time in which the investment may be returned.” Explains Mr. Stelica Magiru, Sales Manager Eurocom.

In Mr. Damain Frunza’s opinion, Eutron, the return on investment is directly influenced by a series of specific elements:  “The  investment payback time for mobile printers is heavily influenced by certain variables related to the activity profile of each business, the size, the number of employees that will use the mobile printers, their work schedule and so on. In all cases, the time is lesser than 12 months. In logistics or distribution it can be even shorter, as it is the case if public services (utilities payment, fines, etc.) For SFA solutions or labeling solutions, the period may be greater up to 1 year.

Customers’ choice

The pro-mobile printing reasons depicted above, demonstrate the economical effectiveness of mobile printers from various perspectives. Beyond all these, there is a greater benefit – the end users’ level of satisfaction. The fact that those unreadable drafts, handwritten may be replaced by clean, complete , errorless documents for which you do not have to wait min. two days, may represent a real gain of the customers.  And the Aberdeen study confirms it – 85% of the interviewed companies have indicated an increase of their customers’ satisfaction level by using mobile printers. This is definitely a “detail” that must not be neglected in such a competitive environment, where any little advantage must be exploited.

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