4 Ways Unified Print Management Helps Minimize Production Disruptions in Manufacturing

Time is money, especially in the dynamic, evolving world of manufacturing. The COVID-19 pandemic only heightened the importance of efficiency: unplanned downtime costs at least 50% more now than it did in 2019. Since the average manufacturer has 800 hours of unexpected disruptions yearly, these costs add up quickly. For example, unexpected downtime cost manufacturers 11% of their annual revenue in 2023. 

Luckily, manufacturing organizations can drastically minimize disruptions with a streamlined print management solution. By optimizing printer uptime in four key areas, manufacturers save time, money, and stress. Here, we’ll explain the importance of these four print management features and how manufacturers can implement them today.

Serverless Printing

Serverless printing is the quickest path to reducing operational downtime. Today’s print servers cost up to $20,000 each. When you consider maintenance and print materials, the annual costs become astronomical. 

Fortunately, serverless printing solves the problem by replacing front-end print servers with centralized SaaS print management. This streamlined, unified system helps manufacturers overcome interruptions caused by slow print speeds, failed driver deployments, and helpdesk tickets. 

Instead, manufacturers can deploy printers to users without scripts and GPS. They can improve process efficiencies, optimize document flow, and ensure the right information reaches the right people at the right time. IT teams gain greater visibility into all printer tasks so they can spend less time with on-site maintenance, and users enjoy the convenience of continuous uptime.

2. SAP Connector

SAP printing and document management are expensive and complex to manage. When unforeseen circumstances and disruptions arise, they completely halt the creation of shipping labels, invoices, printer orders, and more. Many IT teams are overwhelmed with the task of manually intervening to create workarounds any time a printer malfunctions. 

Manufacturers can easily overcome this challenge with an SAP Connector—a feature that connects SAP environments to maximize visibility into print tasks across all mission-critical production processes. With a SAP Connector, organizations can streamline printing between SAP systems and offices, warehouses, and production line printers to manage all print queues and devices from a single console.


3. Output Management

Production failures and downtime can cause massive build-ups and a detrimental loss of productivity in manufacturing. Many organizations use disparate systems to generate, store, and send supply chain and quality control documentation, which only complicates the issue when failures arise. If a manufacturer has multiple locations, the problem becomes exponentially worse.

Output Management is the clear solution to these pain points, helping improve operational efficiency, visibility, and scalability. With Output Management, manufacturers can ensure every document reaches the intended destination while also gaining creator control over document access and output costs. By mitigating any printing failures and downtime, manufacturing organizations save thousands of dollars in potential losses. 

Administrators also enhance security and compliance with features like Secure Release and Off-Network printing, which restrict the ability to print specific documents. Ultimately, Output Management acts as the bridge to each printer, enhancing the management of print queues, flow, and more.

4. Rules-based Automation

Single points of failure can be devastating for any manufacturer. If the organization relies on one printer for labels or other critical elements, a system error could completely wipe out productivity and lead to revenue loss—even if it’s only down for a short time. (Case in point: one manufacturer lost $260,000 in just one hour when a production line printer went down.)

Rules-based automation helps manufacturers avoid this pitfall by eliminating any single points of failure. Instead, it reroutes print jobs to another printer if the main system fails. This arrangement eliminates the downtime that comes with print failures, so organizations can maintain productivity and avoid negative financial impacts.

Administrators can also set rules to automatically reformat and resize documents into required formats for printing, email, and cloud storage folders, limiting the need for manual intervention. Users are empowered to handle print jobs independently, and manufacturers can spend less time and fewer resources on helpdesk tickets.


Future-proofing Manufacturing with Unified Print Management Systems

In a world where even just a few minutes of downtime can cost thousands of dollars, manufacturers need their business-critical production processes to keep working—no matter what. A unified print management system makes this possible by mitigating network interruptions and device failure. It optimizes efficiency at a high volume, connecting previously siloed systems to create a consolidated, continuous, and secure system.

Avoid expensive process disruptions and maximize uptime today with PrinterLogic for manufacturing. By managing front- and back-end printing from a single platform, PrinterLogic gives you the tools you need to ensure printers and document processes never hurt your bottom line. Book a demo now to learn more.

How Manufacturing Companies Can Cut Downtime with a Brand-Agnostic Print Solution

More than half (54%) of manufacturing businesses are expecting to spend 10% or more on software in 2024 compared to 2023. If your business is one of these, your manufacturing organization is likely looking for software that helps to save time, cut costs with Output Management, and streamline workflows. 

If you’re investing in new software, print solutions should be at the top of your purchasing list. How do you know which print solution to choose? The printing software market was valued at $1.2 billion in 2021 and is estimated to reach $6.3 billion by 2031, so there are a lot of choices in this large market. As you weigh your options, be sure to choose a print solution that is brand-agnostic. Here’s why.


What Is a Brand-Agnostic Print Solution?  

If you’re wondering what a brand-agnostic print solution is, you first need to understand what “brand-agnostic” means. Being brand-agnostic means that one does not show a preference for a product based on brand. In software terms, brand-agnostic means that a solution can work with several different brands of software. If you’ve ever had an iPhone or a Mac computer, you know that iOS only works with other iOS software. This isn’t the same as Linux, which can be installed onto Windows or Mac computers. 

When print solutions are brand-agnostic, they can collect print jobs in a centralized repository from many different brands of operating systems, software, and platforms. The solution can work with many kinds of printers, print materials, and other related parts of the manufacturing process. 

The API printing of a brand-agnostic print solution can handle the challenges and differences of whatever existing systems you have. Developers can leverage API printing provided by the brand-agnostic print software to seamlessly integrate printing functionality into their applications, regardless of the printer brands or models used. 


6 Advantages of Having a Print Solution That’s Brand-Agnostic

Investing in a brand-agnostic print solution is a smart choice. If you’re looking to upgrade the way your manufacturing company operates, here are some of the ways a brand-agnostic print solution benefits your organization:

  1. They integrate with your existing systems. The major advantage of a brand-agnostic print solution is that it will likely work with whatever printers you already have. This saves your company money because you don’t have to replace your existing hardware. Among all industries, manufacturing industries spent the most on equipment ($15 billion, or 53% of total capital assets), so any way to save costs on more equipment is a smart idea. 
  2. You can future-proof your company with flexible systems. It’s no secret that tech changes fast. If you invest in a brand-agnostic print solution, you’ll have more flexibility to update and upgrade computers, printers, and other pieces because they’ll still work with your print solution. As mentioned in Forbes, organizations with a more tech-agnostic approach gain the power to harness market-leading tools that offer unparalleled excellence in their domain. 
  3. Your IT team will thank you. Brand-agnostic print solutions are easier on your IT team because these solutions easily integrate with your existing operating systems. Your IT support team will be delighted at how easily they can install the solution, connect it with your existing printers, and add new printers, 
  4. Users can learn to use it quickly. Brand-agnostic print solutions are easy and quick for users to navigate. These solutions also empower end-users to find and install their own printers via floor plan maps or lists without relying on IT assistance. It’s also easier for companies that have remote or hybrid employees, as the company can manage workers in different places effortlessly in a cloud environment without relying on local print servers at each location. The faster people learn to use the solution, the less downtime your company will experience. 
  5. Your brand-agnostic print solutions are safer and more secure. Because they’re designed to fit with a wide variety of software and hardware, brand-agnostic print solutions are safer than trying to cobble together disparate solutions that may not have the same Zero Trust protections or other safety measures. Manufacturing print software is especially at risk, as cybercriminals focused more extortion attempts on manufacturing than any other industry.
  6. You’ll get more data. Brand-agnostic print solutions integrate well with disparate systems, allowing your company to collect more data. One of the top trends in manufacturing companies for 2024 is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT, which includes integrated print solutions, will lead to improved asset management and predictive maintenance, more efficient supply chains, and less downtime. 

Systems That PrinterLogic Integrates With

PrinterLogic is a brand-agnostic print solution. Its API printing works well with many other systems. PrinterLogic provides you with cost savings and flexibility by integrating seamlessly with:

  • Okta, the leading independent provider of identity for the enterprise
  • IGEL, a secure enterprise endpoint OS designed for SaaS, DaaS, and VDI environments
  • Citrix, a leading platform with Zero Trust frameworks
  • VMware, a virtualization software that accelerates app operations with network and security virtualization
  • Microsoft, a cloud-based print solution that enables simple, rich, and secure printing experiences


To avoid downtime and help future-proof your company, learn more details about PrinterLogic for manufacturing. Unify your systems and save some money in the process–learn more by booking a demo today

Want to Increase Sustainability in Manufacturing? Output Management Can Help

Sustainability is now a driving force in the manufacturing industry, with nearly 70% of executives implementing extensive sustainability initiatives. Moreover, 90% of manufacturing leaders agree that the industry has a “special responsibility to society” to create a more sustainable future for our planet.

Such sustainability efforts don’t just benefit the environment—they help reduce costs and promote growth, too. In fact, sustainable products grow nearly three times faster than non-sustainable products, and 84% of consumers say poor environmental practices make them less likely to purchase from a brand.

So, how can manufacturing brands accelerate sustainability across their organizations? Output Management is one of the best places to start. Here, we’ll explain how Output Management is helping more manufacturers reduce waste and go green in 2024.

What is Output Management for Manufacturing?

Output Management allows manufacturers to operate at the highest level by centralizing control of print jobs within a single, easy-to-use platform. It connects distributed systems and applications to increase visibility into all print activity and document distribution. As a result, manufacturers can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize waste.

Failures in document management, such as an error in printing barcodes or faulty ERP documents, could lead to a disruption in the manufacturing process. Output Management minimizes these failures while also saving time and money by optimizing business efficiency. 

How Does Output Management Work?

The average manufacturer experiences 800 hours of unplanned downtime annually, which adds up to an overall revenue loss of 11% every year. Printer Output Management reduces these losses and increases efficiency by controlling and optimizing printing processes. Here’s how it works:

  • Serverless printing: With Output Management, manufacturers replace costly front-end print servers with centralized SaaS print management systems. This process minimizes interruptions caused by slow print speeds and reduces unnecessary print jobs that create waste.
  • SAP Connector: With a SAP connector, manufacturers can connect their SAP environment to maximize visibility into the printing of shipping labels, invoices, printing orders, and more.
  • Rules-based automation: Rules and Routing help manufacturers avoid expensive printer failures and minimize redundant printing by automatically rerouting print jobs to specific printers.
  • Document conversions: Output Management streamlines document conversions in manufacturing by allowing users to automatically convert documents to post-script before printing. 

6 Ways Output Management Helps Increase Manufacturing Sustainability

Print delays disrupt manufacturing processes, increase expenses, and create unnecessary paper waste that harms the environment. With Output Management, manufacturing organizations can quickly reduce waste, increase energy efficiency, and promote eco-friendly practices.

Here are just a few of the many ways Output Management increases manufacturing sustainability:

  1. Reduced paper waste: By implementing print job prioritization, double-sided printing defaults, and enforcing print preview practices, Output Management systems encourage more reasonable, efficient use of printers. This implementation reduces paper waste and overall paper usage, which conserves natural resources and reduces deforestation.
  2. Energy efficiency: Output Management systems can schedule print jobs during off-peak hours or employ energy-saving settings. They can also consolidate print jobs into fewer, larger print runs, which helps optimize printer usage and decreases a manufacturer’s overall energy footprint.
  3. Optimized printer fleet: Since Output Management helps manufacturers have greater visibility into printing activity, it allows them to analyze usage patterns and identify opportunities for further consolidation and optimization. IT teams can use insights to eliminate underused printers, helping decrease the cost that comes from maintaining excess hardware.
  4. Reduced need for printer materials: About 1.3 billion inkjet cartridges are used every year, and under 30% of those cartridges are recycled. Output Management can reduce this harmful waste by creating default settings for grayscale printing and draft quality, thereby extending the lifespan of print materials and reducing the frequency of replacement.
  5. Reduced helpdesk tickets: Output Management drastically reduces IT helpdesk tickets by centralizing control, reducing interruptions, and increasing visibility into print jobs. With remote management and diagnostic tools, IT teams can reduce transportation emissions and packaging waste that come from on-site visits.
  6. Sustainable practices: Output Management reporting and feedback systems foster greater conversation about sustainability throughout manufacturing organizations. Leaders can make more informed decisions about printer performance, print material consumption, and printing practices. Likewise, users can adopt more sustainable printing habits, such as using digital signatures and draft-quality print jobs.

Go Green with PrinterLogic Output Management for Manufacturing

Today’s manufacturers must adopt more efficient, sustainable practices to stay competitive and relevant with modern consumers. Output Management is one of the most effective ways to get started, helping to improve security and enhance performance at the same time. 

If your manufacturing organization is ready to create a more sustainable workplace, Vasion can help. Get in touch today to learn more about PrinterLogic for manufacturers—an Output Management system that maximizes device uptime and operational efficiency across your organization. Book a demo today.

How Serverless Printing Streamlines Print Management for Education

Originally published August 12, 2019.

K-12 schools face major challenges when it comes to controlling printing costs. Unmanaged print environments and high volumes of unnecessary printing strain budgets and resources. To add to the problem, most IT departments in the education sphere lack insight into overall printing activity, making it even harder to identify areas for cost reduction.

Though K-12 public schools in the U.S. spend an average of $16,080 per pupil, budgets are stretched incredibly thin. The federal government puts just 12.7% toward education—well below the global standard of 15%. In short, it has never been more vital for schools to maximize efficiency with printing costs and put much-needed funds toward other important aspects of their students’ education.

The Problem: Unmanaged Print Environments in the Education Industry

Providing IT services to a user base that’s in constant motion can be tough. Students move from classroom to classroom throughout the day. During the school year, especially in higher education, every semester can bring a massive shift in where each student and teacher needs to be. On top of that, you have students leaving the system and new ones entering it each year. That constant flux creates an ultra-mobile, ever-changing pool of end users.

In contrast to this mobile user base, the old-school printer model is incredibly static. Essentially, printers were designed to connect to a single desktop workstation through a cable. The mobile revolution is at odds with that model. Today, you have hundreds of free-floating devices interfacing with multiple network printers.

Most enterprise print solutions don’t have this figured out, either—but schools and districts face extra challenges because they’re working with fewer resources. 

Budgets are tighter. IT staffing departments are smaller. They’re dealing with legacy hardware in locations that are scattered all over a town or city. Or larger. In the case of Lamar Consolidated Independent School District (read the case study here), you’re talking about an area spanning 400 square miles.

Let’s dive into some of the most common pain points related to printing in K-12 schools:

  • Limited School Budgets: Without some system for controlling student printing, costs can become unmanageable. Students K-12 will print as much as they are allowed, rather than printing only essential documents.
  • Limited collaboration: Teachers and staff may need to physically share lesson plans, permission slips, etc., or send them via email by manually attaching digital files, which becomes cumbersome the more documents that need sharing.
  • Unorganized document management: Classrooms see lots of paper every day. From student classwork to homework to permission slips, loose documents can be difficult to maintain and organize if schools aren’t on top of it all the time.
  • Inefficient workflows: Teachers and staff may need to manually scan and save documents to a computer, then manually attach them to an email or save them to a specific drive to share with others.
  • Limited access: Staff and administrators across districts may be limited when accessing important documents from remote locations. This distance can make it difficult to collaborate with others, especially when class is remote or teachers are grading from home, etc.
  • No printing oversight: An administration often can’t see who is printing what, when they’re printing it, or how often they’re printing until the printers run out of paper and ink or throw up errors.
  • Printer overload: When too many users print from the same printer, print queues can get lengthy, ink and toner replacements proliferate, and technical issues are more common. That’s not to mention general wear and tear on the printer itself.

Modern print solutions for schools have to be able to meet these extra challenges, along with the challenges of the future. As the U.S. Department of Education stated in a recent brief, “Education’s digital infrastructure is officially considered critical infrastructure, and just as we work to provide a physical infrastructure that is safe, healthy, and supportive of all students, we need to align resources to create a digital infrastructure that is safe, accessible, resilient, sustainable, and future-proof.”

When it comes to print management, school administrations need to:

  • Simplify print management: Even when everything’s in flux, print management has to be a total breeze. Students and faculty need to be able to print easily no matter where they are. And admins should be able to configure those printer assignments as quickly and smoothly as possible.
  • Seamlessly implement next-gen features: Adding a feature like mobile printing or pull printing shouldn’t involve scrapping your existing print solution. It also shouldn’t mean having to fork out a ton of money for something that requires more infrastructure or can’t promise full compatibility with your other print software.
  • Make it easy to monitor print activity: Whether buildings are spread across a campus or an entire district, print solutions for schools have to provide visibility over the whole environment. For cost-saving reasons, admins should be able to tell where print volumes are high or which department is always printing in color.


PrinterLogic Is the Smart Choice for Printing in Education

PrinterLogic’s serverless printing software is a leading choice among enterprise printing solutions, so it might be easy to think it’s best suited for corporate environments. But PrinterLogic’s unique architecture is exactly what makes it so versatile. It’s able to meet all the unique IT challenges of educational environments, making it the perfect print solution for schools.

Migrating to PrinterLogic from a direct-IP or print-server environment is rapid and almost effortless. Once PrinterLogic is installed, your K-12 school can:

  • Eliminate print servers: The huge advantage of serverless printing software is that you can shut down all your print servers. Yet that doesn’t mean compromising on print functionality. At the same time as you’re eliminating this expensive, hard-to-maintain infrastructure, you’re also creating more uptime, more flexibility, and centralized management.
  • Implement mobile printing: PrinterLogic’s Mobile Printing feature lets you roll out print capabilities to all your mobile, Chromebook, and BYOD users regardless of the brand of their devices. There’s no software for them to install, and it works with any network printer (even legacy models).
  • Add secure pull printing: Just like Mobile Printing, PrinterLogic can enhance your print environment with secure pull-printing functionality. This helps to ensure that confidential documents like tests, transcripts, and teacher evaluations aren’t left sitting in the output tray.
  • Monitor print activity everywhere: Print auditing is one of the features that make PrinterLogic a top choice among enterprise print solutions, and it’s just as valuable in educational settings. Use it to keep tabs on the who, what, when, where, and how of printing across the entire school. Or set it up to automatically email print-activity reports to department heads and school administrators.

Along with Lamar CISD, educational organizations like the Fulton County School System (read the case study here) have all switched to PrinterLogic’s serverless printing software. Northwest Area Education Agency opted for PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud), our cloud-based print solution for schools and other enterprise-scale organizations (case study).

In every instance, PrinterLogic saved them time and money by simplifying their print environments. Lamar CISD pegged its savings from PrinterLogic at about $20,000 per year.

Want to see the magic our serverless printing software can work as your K-12 print solution? Then check out
this white paper we wrote on the subject. Or, better still, sign up today to demo our print solution and see exactly how it performs. It’s free for 30 days.

How Schools Can Save Money by Using Enterprise Print Management Systems

Originally published on November 17, 2016

When searching for an effective education printing solution, take a look at enterprise printing solutions. You’d be surprised at how easily they can fit your checklist of requirements. Education printing solutions and enterprise printing solutions require reliability, scalability, security, and ease of use for administrators and end users. They also need all the bells and whistles to integrate with the ever-changing tech industry.  For example, mobile devices are used more than ever in today’s classrooms, implying that mobile print solutions are necessary to enable mobile users to print from anywhere in the school. 

Overall, print management software for schools needs to combat all the difficulties that administrators and students encounter in their print environment. Here are some of the top printing challenges that educational institutions, specifically K-12 schools, face and how enterprise print management systems solve those problems for both teachers and students. 

Printing Challenges that Educational Institutions Face 

Challenge #1: Intensive High-Volume Printing

The average school uses roughly 360,000 sheets of office paper per year—and that’s not including textbooks. To handle such high-volume printing, schools need reliable printers, simple-to-use printing software, and print management training to organize print jobs. Teachers may have to print hundreds of pages for tests and worksheets correlative to the number of students in the class. Conversely, students may also print thick stacks of paper for study materials, note-taking, and research. 

When attempting high-volume print jobs, not only is your printer under pressure to deliver the goods, but a school’s print server is more likely to fail in this type of print environment. Additionally, high-volume printing greatly reduces print speeds for end users across the board, specifically when students attempt to print large jobs simultaneously.

Solution: Adopt a Serverless Printing Infrastructure

Enterprise print management systems, such as Vasion’s PrinterLogic SaaS, help get rid of your print servers by offering a serverless printing infrastructure that allows you to centrally manage printer objects, profiles, drivers, and settings from a single pane of glass. Additionally, print jobs don’t queue in a spooler, eliminating heavy print traffic and long wait times. 

Furthermore, admins have complete oversight of their devices’ status. Through print alerts and SNMP monitoring, IT admins gain immediate insight into everyday errors like empty paper trays or the operational state of every compatible printer in the fleet. All in all, SNMP monitoring assists IT professionals by catching potential issues before they arise.

Challenge #2: Students Are Constantly Moving

Whether they are moving between classrooms or to a different building across campus, one thing is for sure: students are always on the go. That movement presents a printing challenge because students will still need to access a printer with each classroom change.

The homeroom classroom or library isn’t always close enough. Students and teachers need to be able to send print jobs to a nearby printer no matter where they are. Print management solutions for universities and other educational institutions must account for this type of highly mobile, location-shifted printing.

Solution: Self-Installation Portals

PrinterLogic’s Self-Installation Portal empowers end users to be responsible for their own print jobs. Using the portal, students and teachers can locate and install printers with a single click. Admins can also upload customizable floor plan maps for their schools, helping students and teachers locate their nearest printers. 

Perhaps one of the biggest returns of this feature is the cost savings. A school’s IT admins can now be more productive in other areas and step away from irritating print-related issues. 

Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) witnessed the benefits of self-service provisioning firsthand when they migrated to PrinterLogic SaaS. Not only did OCCC give users more control, but the IT department also experienced fewer helpdesk calls.

Challenge #3: Lack of Versatility

Some schools take what they can get with the resources they are given. This might mean buying low-cost computers and printers, regardless of brand, which creates a mixed-OS print environment that can be a chore to manage. Many schools utilize a mixed-OS print environment and require a printing solution compatible with all their devices. 

This especially rings true for mobile devices and Chromebooks, which are regularly used in schools because they are affordable and accessible. Chromebooks are versatile, too, because they come with the ability to run Android, Linux, the web, and Windows programs. However, they aren’t heralded for their printing prowess. 

During the COVID pandemic, Chromebooks surged from a tech novelty to an indispensable classroom tool; however, since Google Print Cloud’s discontinuation at the end of 2020, schools have had to search for an alternative way to print in their Chromebook-centric classrooms. 

Solution: PrinterLogic’s Chrome OS Client Extension 

At the end of 2021, it was estimated that over 40 million students and teachers used Chromebooks in the classroom, signifying that the need to print with these devices is critical moving forward. PrinterLogic’s Chromebook Printing Solution provides schools with a way to harness Chromebook’s true printing capabilities. 

Free of charge with PrinterLogic SaaS’s Core Bundle, Chromebooks can now be a part of your mixed-OS printing environment. Along with eliminating the need for print servers, PrinterLogic’s Chrome OS Client Extension doesn’t rely on the internet to execute print jobs and keeps print jobs local and secure. 

The extension is easy to deploy since PrinterLogic employs the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) that takes printer settings and automatically configures them for Chromebook users throughout the school. This process allows students and teachers to choose their desired options and send their print jobs directly to the nearest printer. 

Even if your school doesn’t use Chromebooks as a primary educational device, PrinterLogic’s enterprise-grade Mobile Printing feature enables students and teachers to print natively from tablets or other mobile devices.

Challenge #4: Excessive Waste and Redundancy

As schools face continued budget cuts, there’s no room for waste. Paper waste stacks up from eager fingers clicking “Print” multiple times when a printer doesn’t immediately spring into action or when a teacher accidentally prints a 300-page book instead of printing a selection of pages. 

Without a way to manage each print job, it’s hard to pinpoint which classrooms are going through paper and toner at a higher-than-normal rate.

Solution: PrinterLogic’s Quota Management Feature

Why constantly think about budgeting and print management when there is a feature specifically designed to do all the work for you? By implementing PrinterLogic’s Quota Management feature into your print environment, your IT admin can oversee print jobs based on two key criteria: price and volume

Once you determine the criteria for print jobs across your school, you can break it down further by limiting the number of print jobs per individual or group. Doing this alone already enhances the economy of your print environment. However, PrinterLogic takes it one step further with a time-delayed printing feature designed to prevent printing the same print job multiple times due to end-user impatience. 

Admins can set the time limit between attempted print jobs in the Admin Console. They can also limit users and groups to a predetermined number of pages for each individual print job. Need to raise (or lower) the allotted page count and print spending? Trusted users can adjust quotas midstream to fit their current financial situation.

Challenge #5: Limited Collaboration

Collaboration on physical documents may be limited. For example, teachers and staff may need to physically share lesson plans, permission slips, or other documents. They may also need to send them via email by manually attaching digital files, which becomes cumbersome as more documents need sharing. Additionally, staff and administrators across districts may be limited in their ability to access important documents from remote locations. This issue can make it difficult to collaborate with others, especially when class is remote or teachers are grading from home.

Solution: Enhance Document Shareability

Staff and teachers can quickly scan paper documents in a print management system and send the files to anyone in the school instead of manually attaching files to emails at their desks. Overall, this quick-scan feature saves time typically spent on tedious, manual tasking, and staff members can easily collaborate faster and more often. The best part of enhanced document shareability? Teachers can take advantage of this feature without compromising data security. 

Challenge #6: Unorganized Document Management

Classrooms see lots of paper every day, ranging from student work and homework to permission slips, packets, and other learning materials. All these loose documents can be difficult to maintain and organize if educators or staff members don’t stay on top of it all the time. With high teacher turnover and frequent substitute teachers, classrooms need organized documents to make sure students are still staying on track with lesson plans. 

The lack of storage space becomes an issue as well, which contributes to the chaos. With limited space and high disorganization, it’s hard for teachers to store and keep track of collected, signed parental permission forms and other documents.

Solution: Transition Away from Physical Documents

Scan paper documents into digital files on a print management system, reducing the need for constant printing, sharing, and storing hard copies while easing the load on physical storage cabinets. Doing this keeps your files organized, too, so teachers can always find lesson plans and assignments on servers without having to hunt for them. 

Print management systems can also help teachers collect student and guardian permission forms and registration papers from any device. Print management solutions come with drag-and-drop eForm builders so teachers can quickly customize forms. PDF-to-web form converters make it easy to work with forms in different formats, and the forms are embeddable to any website. 

Challenge #7: No Printing Oversight 

Administration often can’t see who is printing what, when, and how often until the printer runs out of paper and ink or throws up errors. Without oversight, teachers and students are also free to print as much as they’d like. There aren’t any restrictions in place to help protect against excessive printing. 

Without proper printing oversight, schools are also at risk of data breaches. Around 27% of IT security incidents are related to paper documents. To limit hacking and data breaches from unattended printed paper, oversight is vital. 

Solution: Access Printing Insights

Not only does accessing printing insights help increase security and decrease the risk of data breaches, but oversight can also help improve efficiency. Get full visibility into all user scan activity within a print management system’s admin console to manage security and improve workflows to track cost-savings, project budgets, and even inform future purchases, like additional scanners for staff. 

Printing oversight offers insights into efficiency, too, identifying which printers are used most, who is hitting their quotas fastest, what kinds of documents are printed most frequently, and how to find ways to reduce printed paper. In print management systems, those with oversight access can create quotas. Quotas can be assigned by modes, encouraging users to use color, collated, or other specialty printing scrupulously.

Challenge #8: Printer Overload

When too many users print from the same printer, print queues can get lengthy, ink and toner replacements proliferate, and technical issues are more common. These issues get costly—not to mention the general wear and tear on the printer itself (which can be expensive when it’s time to repair or replace the hardware).

Solution: Be Kind to Your Printer

Print management solutions pace print jobs and materials so the printers don’t get overwhelmed. This software can also monitor ink levels, paper levels, paper jams, and technical problems to help fix issues before they happen. Predictive maintenance is another feature that helps school districts save money before repairs become expensive.

Give Your Print Environment an A+

Despite the numerous challenges listed above, schools have options for tackling printing challenges. Enterprise print management systems, especially Vasion’s PrinterLogic solution, can help solve printing problems. Thanks to its versatility, stability, ease of management, and convenient security features, PrinterLogic is the one print management solution that lives up to these unique demands placed on educational print environments. Delivering all the cost benefits and efficiencies you would expect from enterprise printing solutions makes PrinterLogic one of the best print management solutions for K-12 schools. 

How to Adopt Zero Trust Printing

If someone were to tell you you should be scared of your printers, you’d likely laugh in their face. While clunky, they aren’t exactly an intimidating adversary. What everyone doesn’t know is that printers pose a huge, costly threat to your organization.

Printers connected to your corporate network are a wide attack vector for hackers. Along with being an entryway into your business’s network, hackers are able to attack other applications and launch ransomware through a compromised printer, wreaking havoc on your organization. 

According to this print security report by Quocirca, over two-thirds (68%) of organizations have experienced data losses due to unsecured printing practices in the past 12 months, leading to an average of $770,000 per data breach.

Since the need for printers remains high in the workplace, companies must pivot from traditional security measures towards Zero Trust printing in order to protect company data. 


Understanding Zero Trust

Before jumping off the deep end, it’s important to understand the basics. A Zero Trust Network Architecture (ZTNA) is a completely new approach to traditional network models. The structure as a whole is based on one principle: Never trust, always verify.

Traditional Network: This model inherently trusts anyone inside their network’s perimeter and is protected through a single verification point (typically a basic password based on an employee’s pet). 

Zero Trust Network: A security model in which no device is trusted by default, and users must be continually authenticated, authorized, and validated before being allowed access to applications and data, whether they are inside or outside the organization’s network.

Traditional networks are no longer safe because once any endpoint inside the network is compromised, attackers can move laterally and gain access to anything else on that network. Within a  Zero Trust network, access is limited, which is one of the most critical pieces of an effective Zero Trust strategy since most cyberattacks are internal and, more often than not, accidental.


Strengthening Your Network Security

Remote work is here to stay. While employees enjoy the conveniences of not commuting to an office, IT departments are flailing to put in place the robust back-end infrastructures needed to protect organizations’ data amid the transition. 

As employees use their own home printers for company printing, this poses two potential attack surfaces for hackers:

  1. An unsecured machine connected to a company computer. Connecting a company computer to an unsecured home printer provides a gateway past any VPN or security. Once a hacker moves from the printer to the company drive, they can gain access to the company’s primary network.

  2. Information is stored on the printer’s hard drive. Printer hard drives store previously queued print jobs for a varying degree of time. Hackers are able to break into these hard drives using a back door to view sensitive company information by accessing the employee’s home Wi-Fi.

Organization’s using a traditional network model don’t stand a chance against these threats. However, shifting to a Zero Trust approach means avoiding these types of vulnerabilities altogether by eliminating outdated infrastructure, like print servers, and going serverless. This reduces attack surfaces, strengthens security for remote workers, provides threat detection and prevention, and allows companies more visibility into print activity overall. 


Investing in Print Security 

Now that you understand the time to transition to a Zero Trust printing architecture is now, it’s important to select the right print management solution for your organization. The best possible solution will check these four critical boxes:

✔ Access and identity management

✔ Authentication for all connections and endpoints

✔ Segmentation of data to limit harm from breaches

✔ Simple, secure management features

PrinterLogic inherently checks off every box and possesses the necessary tools for your Zero Trust Printing environment. You can finally address your organization’s needs with a scalable solution that offers round-the-clock network protection and unlocks the true potential of your document and print management processes. 


Ready to see what Zero Trust Printing from PrinterLogic can do for you? Schedule a demo today. 

How to Streamline Back-end Batch Printing

Let’s say you land at your desk first thing on Monday morning when a department head approaches you asking for help on a critical printing process. The department is implementing a new ticketing system to print thousands of tickets for an event. The ticketing system groups the tickets by order number, which could include multiple tickets for multiple people in a single order. 

Obviously, it’s imperative that these tickets are printed in the correct order to avoid confusion during distribution to the paying customers without disrupting productivity. However, the problem is that the ticketing system can’t guarantee this. 

How are you going to achieve this?

The answer: Batch printing to streamline your printing

Batch printing is necessary to streamline the output of bulk documents from ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or EMR (Electronic Medical Records) systems since, more than likely, the way in which they are printed directly impacts your customers, productivity, budgets, and more. 

Printing in large batches happens in any industry. Whether you have lab techs trying to print off patient lab results for the day, manufacturing staff printing bulk shipping labels, or printing tickets for a major event; your goal is to make this experience as seamless as possible. 

This functionality is simple enough, right? Batch printing is a pretty standard capability, especially for enterprises that need to print a lot of documents. 

But where does Output Management enter this conversation? 

Vasion’s Output Management solution connects to your back-end EMR, ERP, or line-of-business applications to facilitate printing. Output Management offers an API Print Service that allows you to deploy the API within your network to connect your back-end applications to printers and handle any specific printing needs using RESTful API calls. 

One instance where this is used is batch printing. The Output Management Batch Printing feature supports requests sent natively from Epic, along with our API Print Service, to handle printing from any number of EMRs or ERPs. Regardless of the source application, Batch Printing follows these four basic steps:

  1. The source application (EMR/ERP) sends a request to the Output Management Service to open a batch with a batch open request. This request contains a unique identifier for the batch and identifiers for all jobs that will be received as part of this batch.
  2. Batch jobs are sent through the Output Management Service. While a batch is open, it is put on standby and will not be printed until it is closed. Of course, your non-batch jobs will still be processed and printed normally.
  3. The batch is closed once the Output Management Service receives a batch close request containing the unique batch identifier.
  4. Then your jobs are printed in the order they need to be in! At this point, the API Print Service makes the request back to communicate the status of the print job, either successful or unsuccessful.


Why Output Management?

Vasion’s Output Management solution is highly reliable and highly available. With support for load balancing, API printing, and ERP/EMR connections, Output Management eliminates single points of failure when printing from your critical line of business applications, ensuring output is received exactly as needed. 

And, you have access to several other great capabilities for your batch jobs like:

  • Bidirectional communication with the printer confirming your batch jobs were 100% successful
  • Converting files to print-ready formats for individual printer preferences
  • Automatically redirecting batch jobs to a backup printer in case of failures
  • Remote facilities printing batch jobs outside the network to secure company printers
  • And many more…


Let’s have a conversation about your printing environment and back-end document processes. Schedule a demo today.