How Manufacturing IT Teams Can Save Money

Manufacturing companies operate 24/7. A single production failure could lead to hours or days of downtime. Even though the manufacturing industry’s revenue in the United States hit roughly $7 trillion in 2023, companies are still struggling with shortages and are implementing layoffs. 

To keep profit margins up and production running, manufacturing companies need to be smart about how they cut costs. One way to save money and prepare for the future is to invest in output management software. 

Output management software is similar to print management software, although output management software also includes features such as application modernization, formatting support, and integration with workflow management tools. 

Here are some of the ways output management software can help manufacturing companies cut costs and shore up their finances. 

 

Break Down Siloed Workflows

To stay competitive, manufacturing companies need to maximize their internal efficiency. Breaking down siloed workflows and becoming more agile will be the key differentiator between successful and unsuccessful manufacturing companies. In fact, a renewed focus on business agility was the top trend listed for 2024 manufacturing industry trends

Manufacturing organizations use many different systems to generate, store, and send supply chain and quality control documentation for production lines and tasks. These systems may not have native ways to communicate and integrate with each other. Although each system offers important services, it doesn’t always work together—and neither do the associated team members. 

Manufacturing IT teams can use an output management solution to help bridge that gap. To break down siloed workflows and unite different systems, your IT team can implement an output management solution that cuts costs on repetitive and unnecessary tasks, improves document visibility, increases collaboration, keeps documents consistent, and streamlines workflows and approvals. 

 

Control Print Volumes

Manufacturing IT teams can save their companies money by using output management systems to control print volumes. One way to do this is to implement printing quotas. 

Obviously, this can save money on printing materials and prolong the life of the printing machinery. However, there are other cost advantages associated with implementing print quotas. Quotas encourage employees to share documents virtually, which increases collaboration, streamlines document workflows, enhances the security of sensitive information, and improves overall efficiency.

By controlling print volumes, IT teams also get complete visibility into print activity and document distribution. This process ensures documents are delivered to the right place, at the right time, and in the right format. IT teams can help prevent errors and duplicate printing, too, which also saves print costs because there isn’t a need to reprint. 

 

Prevent Expensive Downtime 

Downtime is one of the most expensive mistakes that manufacturing companies can make. The costs add up to much more than the missed work. According to a 2022 Siemens report, unplanned downtime now costs Fortune Global 500 companies 11% of their yearly turnover. That downtime amounts to almost $1.5 trillion in losses.

Imagine that a manufacturing company misprints a batch of documents (such as shipping labels). It was a small error—maybe a single number was off, or a barcode was wrong. The mistake shuts down a large portion of the warehouse as employees scramble to figure out which labels are correct and which are wrong. All other processes stop, and shipping is paused. If some mislabeled products have been sent out already, a recall may be necessary. This downtime becomes drastically more expensive than the cost of the mis-shipped products alone. 

Output management software can prevent this expensive downtime. Manufacturing IT teams can keep the supply chain moving by controlling the flow of automated business processes in ERP environments. With the print and document management features of output management software, IT teams can minimize costly errors like barcode misprints or faulty ERP documents and meet data security compliance standards.

 

Protect Against Cybersecurity Risks

Cybersecurity should be top of mind for manufacturing companies’ IT teams. According to an IBM report, manufacturing was once again the top-attacked industry in 2023 for the third year in a row, representing 25.7% of cybersecurity incidents. Any kind of cybersecurity breach can lead to stolen information, lost data, PR and brand damage, and severe system downtime—all of which cost your company money. 

To protect your company and save costs, one of the first steps your IT team can take is to begin using output management software. Output management’s secure release printing features protect sensitive information by implementing access controls and encryption.

 

Avoid Regulatory Issues and Stay Compliant 

Ensuring the security and compliance of documents, especially sensitive or confidential information, is a significant concern for manufacturing enterprises. Compliance with regulations like GDPR or HIPAA can be challenging without proper controls. Additionally, many organizations struggle with effective document archiving, making it challenging to access historical documents when needed. 

To save money, manufacturing companies can invest in output management. Output management software keeps your documentation compliant, which can prevent hefty fines from regulatory bodies. Staying on top of compliance issues also helps future-proof your company against having to make larger and more expensive process changes later down the road. 

How Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Vasion’s Output Management Software

Vasion’s Output Management solution is ready to help manufacturing companies’ IT teams with their cost reduction strategies. By centralizing control, Output Management connects processes from legacy applications to manage all aspects of document distribution, printing, and routing for fewer expensive errors and increased efficiency. Through the unification of print and document processes, manufacturing companies can enjoy better data security while avoiding downtime. 

To see how Output Management from Vasion can help your manufacturing company cut costs, schedule your free demo today

Three Ways to Make Printing More Reliable

General office printing requires reliability and availability, so in-office and remote employees can continue their work. A direct IP printing model works well–it relies on a direct connection from the workstation to the printer without using the Internet. Even if an Internet outage occurs, printing continues.

But you’re not only managing general office printing. Your organization integrates many core business processes with electronic record and resource applications that store, manage, and generate documentation. This is especially prevalent in the healthcare industry with electronic health and medical record systems managing all patient information with physicians and nurses needing access to distribute care accurately. 

Your print servers are heavily tied to these vital business processes, intercepting spooled print jobs from the source application and distributing them to the printer or channel they need to go to. 

Consider an output management software.

Output management software either works with your print servers or replaces them entirely. It sits between the source application and your printers to facilitate communication. This software automates, manages, and distributes output from any source application to multiple channels, either physically or digitally. 

Here are three ways we suggest improving the reliability and efficiency of your output processes using output management software: 

1. Confirmed Delivery of Print Jobs

Printers on their own don’t give you all the information you need about the status of your print jobs. Most of the time, it’ll tell you it received the job, then radio silence. If your batch print job of 50 documents made it to page 35 on the first document before stopping, and it’s not a lack of paper or ink, you aren’t sure how to diagnose the issue. Or worse, you’re unaware of any issue until missing invoices, shipping forms, and contract pages grind everything to a halt. 

Output management software often provides bidirectional communication as part of the print job’s journey. It’s extra assurance and confidence that your print jobs and output processes were delivered where they need to go. These updates could also tell you what page the job failed on and what issue occurred, giving you the chance to address the issue immediately without hours of troubleshooting. 

2. Redundant, Low-footprint Infrastructure

Using a Windows, Linux, or Unix print server offers load-balancing and clustering as long as it’s configured and maintained properly, but often operates as a single point of failure if the servers crash from any kind of software or network issue, printing can’t continue, which, of course, is a detrimental interruption to your processes and workflows. 

Output management software doesn’t have to run on a print server. Some use a service client–a low-footprint client that performs similarly to a print server but is much simpler to spin up and maintain redundant instances, eliminating the single points of failure. Print jobs are spooled and received by a service client, load-balanced to the redundant clients, processed, and distributed simultaneously. With significantly less effort and maintenance, your processes can easily scale with your organization’s demands and speed. 

3. Rules-based Automation 

With the advancements in machine learning and robotic process automation in recent years, automation should be introduced in some form for your document processes. Automation can save employees three hours a day, roughly 30 hours a month, eliminating manual touchpoints such as converting individual files to PDFs for printing or reprinting if print jobs fail.

Setting rules that automatically perform specific actions when certain triggers and conditions are met significantly reduces, if not totally eliminates, manual tasking. One popular case is if a print job fails due to an unavailable printer, it automatically redirects to an available backup printer to complete the job successfully. Compounding with the hundreds of documents and outputs processed daily, this simple redirect rule significantly extends your environment’s value and reliability. 


Vasion’s Output Management solution has the reliability you’re looking for. 

Replace your Windows, Linux, or Unix print servers in your environment with a much more reliable and highly available Output Management solution that ensures any output makes it from your source applications where it needs to go, in the format it needs to be in, and when it needs to be there. The solution is backed by a robust feature set that ensures reliability at every stage:

 

If your organization manages multiple critical output processes for the business to function efficiently and successfully and is trying to do it over various disparate systems, or if you’re just looking for more reliability overall, chat with us about your goals, and we’ll discuss where we can help. 

Schedule a demo today.

PrinterLogic SaaS Is a Truly Serverless Printing Solution

Originally published March 17, 2020. 

The cloud came with a lot of promises. You’d be able to reduce physical infrastructure, manage everything from one place, and enjoy more flexibility and features. Migration to the cloud would free up IT resources and be more cost-effective.

As most IT professionals know, printing was one thing that proved harder to shift.

You can take your print management software and host it in the cloud, obviously. But some of the old problems don’t go away. You’re still stuck with single points of failure, awkward deployment mechanisms, on-prem servers, limited security, and all the other drawbacks of legacy print management solutions.

That’s why PrinterLogic SaaS is unique.

Our industry-leading serverless printing infrastructure realizes the promise of what cloud computing was meant to be. It lets you fully eliminate print servers from your organization while gaining virtually effortless, totally serverless print management from a single pane of glass. You get centralized management of printers and drivers along with powerful reporting—all without having to rely on scripting or GPOs.

Unlike some “cloud-optimized” print management software, PrinterLogic is a true SaaS offering. It’s not some cloud-hosted shortcut that leaves you stuck with server licensing, configuration, and maintenance. Nor does it force you and your users to tunnel through a VPN.

PrinterLogic SaaS also isn’t a hybrid approach that makes you keep servers onsite. Solutions like that involve too many compromises. When we say PrinterLogic eliminates print servers completely and permanently, we mean it.

All the Features (and More), None of the Infrastructure

Okay, so we know that PrinterLogic’s serverless printing eliminates print servers for good. How does serverless print management with PrinterLogic SaaS stack up against the status quo?

Centralized Management 

When you eliminate print servers, you don’t just get rid of physical infrastructure. You eliminate all the licensing, migration, and other headaches that they entail. In its place, you can manage all printing from a single location.

Simple Implementation

 It’s easy to configure PrinterLogic SaaS and additional security features. Best of all, there’s no need to reconstruct your current print environment.

Unlimited Scalability 

Cloud printing adapts to your needs and seamlessly scales with you as you grow—from a single site to multiple offices, across multiple locations.

Convenient for End Users

All end users, regardless of role, can print where and when they need to—with minimal effort and less helpdesk tickets.

Cost-efficient

With cloud printing, print jobs become more deliberate, and you save by removing infrastructure and consolidating vendors and licenses.

Enhanced Security

Protect yourself from data breaches with secure and safe serverless printing. Confidential data doesn’t remain at rest in the cloud and stays encrypted until it’s behind your firewall. 

Hardened Security That’s Easy to Implement and User-Friendly

Considering the overlooked importance of print security, it’s worth highlighting just how secure PrinterLogic SaaS is.

AWS-hosted. PrinterLogic SaaS is AWS-hosted and therefore meets rigorous standards for security and compliance.

Zero-trust Printing

PrinterLogic supports microsegmentation and integrates with native Identity Provider (IdP) integrations to keep your data secure. Features like serverless pull printing and Secure Release Printing are now augmented by simple badge release and offline secure print release in PrinterLogic SaaS.

More Release Options

Along with pull printing and Secure Release, serverless printing offers other release options for serverless secure printing. These include multifactor authentication (MFA) such as CAC/PIV as well as native control panel apps.

IdP integration

Integration with leading cloud-based identity providers (IdPs) such as Okta and Azure AD means users’ credentials are strong and centrally managed with the help of security experts.

Federal Compliance

Ours is the only print management software that’s been certified to meet stringent U.S. government security standards like FIPS 140-2.

Seamless User Adoption

As security isn’t effective unless end users adopt it, we’ve always put a lot of emphasis on usability. PrinterLogic’s serverless pull printing, for example, is super easy for them to make a part of their everyday printing workflow.

Schedule a Risk-Free, Cost-Free Demo

The best way to understand exactly how these benefits play out in the real world is to see our serverless printing infrastructure in action. And the best way to do that is to schedule a demo of PrinterLogic SaaS. It takes just a few seconds to sign up. After that, you can deploy PrinterLogic as a proof of concept in your own environment entirely free of charge for 30 days.

You’ll quickly discover that PrinterLogic is efficient, flexible, secure, scalable and reliable—everything that printing should be, and everything that server-based printing isn’t.

That’s why PrinterLogic SaaS isn’t just print management software in the cloud. It’s better to think of it as what print management looks like on cloud nine.

How to Unify Printing for Multi-Site Manufacturing Companies

After the slowdown from the pandemic, the manufacturing industry is picking up speed again. As companies ramp up production, they’re changing locations. More than 90% of manufacturing companies in North America have moved at least some of their production or supply chain in the past five years. Additionally, the construction industry is seeing a surge in spending for building new manufacturing facilities

As manufacturing companies expand to new sites and adapt to their new locations, they’ll need a streamlined print management system that works in all their buildings. Manufacturing companies are already investing in newer technology, but if they want to keep up with competitors, they will have to include serverless printing. 

  

Common Print Obstacles in Manufacturing 

Every manufacturer struggles with downtime. Total losses due to machine downtime are estimated at US$864 billion annually across Fortune Global 500 industrial companies. 

When printers don’t work or they’re too slow to print labels and other important documents, a company can experience dangerous downtime. Enterprises may struggle with complex and inefficient printing workflows across systems and multiple locations, hindering seamless document management and distribution. Ultimately, a lack of print solutions can hurt uptime, data accuracy, and the ability to track activity across an enterprise.

Another concern is cybersecurity. Ensuring the security of documents, especially sensitive or confidential information, is a worry for enterprises. The average annual cost of cybercrime for energy businesses (including oil and gas) is about $14 million. 

Additionally, according to an IBM report, cybercriminals focused more extortion attempts on manufacturing than any other industry. The printing process is a common vulnerability for data theft and cyberattacks, yet many companies don’t protect their printing systems.  

Beyond cybersecurity, document management and compliance pose additional challenges. Compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can be challenging without proper controls. Additionally, many manufacturing organizations contend with ineffective document archiving, making it challenging to access historical documents when needed. Without effective document control, workflows suffer from slow completion times, improper reviews, and a less collaborative environment. 

Finally, sustainability is another hurdle. The manufacturing industry produces about 1,800 pounds of waste for every person employed. To better care for the planet, governments are instituting new waste management laws and regulations. Staying compliant and more sustainable often requires changes in machinery, software, and processes—including printers and print systems. 

 

 

Benefits of a Streamlined Print Management System 

A streamlined print management system offers many benefits to manufacturing companies, especially companies with multi-site operations. Here are some competitive advantages companies gain when they move to a serverless printing system: 

Increased Productivity and Efficiency 

When manufacturing companies invest in a streamlined print management system, the system allows many kinds of production documents (such as invoices, receipts, supply chain documents, and quality control documentation) to automatically route to their destinations efficiently with rules and routing workflows. Admins can set rules to automatically reformat and resize documents into the required formats for printing, email, and cloud storage folders as needed for standard processes. This process streamlines workflows, which improves employee collaboration and productivity across all locations. 

More Uptime

More uptime means more money, more products, and happier customers. Manufacturing companies must ensure their printing systems have more uptime, which keeps other systems functioning with the documentation they need. A unified, serverless printing system can unite disparate systems and multi-site operations to make sure they’re all connected and functioning correctly. Doing this equals lower operating costs, more uptime, less manual intervention, and faster production. 

Stronger Data Security 

Data security should be a priority for companies, especially for those with several locations, as papers can be forgotten amid the multi-site shuffles. Additionally, having more locations creates a greater possibility of data breaches. Serverless printing solutions help manufacturing companies restrict employees’ ability to print specific documents to maintain security and compliance. 

When connecting back-end applications through output management software, customers can also utilize front-end printing capabilities like secure release and off-network printing for additional security. 

Less Waste and More Sustainability

Data from McKinsey shows that companies that integrate environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) priorities into their growth strategies outperform their peers. If manufacturing companies want to start implementing sustainability initiatives, print management is a great place to start. Streamlined print management solutions help companies avoid unnecessary paper waste. In turn, operational printing efficiency saves the company money, ink, and paper, as well as wear and tear on printers. 

 

Get More Uptime with PrinterLogic

Ensure every document reaches its intended destination and achieve greater control over document access, security, printing costs, and more with PrinterLogic. PrinterLogic delivers brand-agnostic printing to unite disparate systems at all your multi-site operations. To learn how PrinterLogic can support your manufacturing company with more uptime and better data security, schedule a free demo today

Chromebook Printing Got You Down?

Originally published March 14, 2023. 

January 2021 marked the beginning of something special: no more Google Cloud printing. 

Google Cloud Print offered Chromebook users an easy way to print, but let’s be honest, it wasn’t exactly the most robust printing application on the market. 

Why is Chromebook printing important?

Chromebook printing is important because Chromebooks generally offer the same memory, speed, and functionality as other operating systems—without the high price tag. 

Chromebooks are cheap (mostly under $400), the operating system is stable and fast, they have an outstanding battery life, and are utilized heavily in the education industry for distance learning. 

Additionally, it’s easier to put Chromebooks in the hands of students and workers alike because they give them all of the tools needed to perform daily tasks.

Except for printing with a Chromebook, that is. 

Here we are two years after Google Cloud Print’s deprecation. You’re still digging to figure out how to manage Chromebook print environments. Or you might be stocking up on Chromebooks for the first time, wondering what all the fuss is about. 

Either way, don’t let Chromebook printing get you down. 

We’re here to help by providing you with a list of Chromebook printing “don’ts” and an easier path to Chromebook printing once and for all. 

The Don’ts of Printing from a Chromebook

Before you start endlessly researching How to print with Chromebooks or How to print after Google Cloud Print, let’s eliminate the complicated tutorials and jump right into the “don’ts” of Chromebook printing. 

Don’t spend money on Chromebook-compatible printers.

Many quick fixes ask you to buy printers compatible with Chromebooks. Chromebooks can connect to newer printers via WiFi or a USB cable and have the drivers built in to handle most manufacturers. Many network and USB printers can work with your Chromebook right out of the gates. 

Have a lot of older, incompatible printers in your fleet?

Before you start thinking about buying Google-certified printers just to get your Chromebook print environment off and running, some solutions offer extensions that provide you with the compatibility you need to have a fully Chromebook-agnostic print environment. Solutions like these help you save money on time and hardware costs.

Don’t forget to update your systems.

If you haven’t updated your system in a while, it might cause your Chromebook to be uncooperative. Even if you set Chromebooks to update automatically, you still might have to “Restart to Update” to complete the installation. 

Furthermore, don’t forget to keep your printer firmware up-to-date to avoid running into future problems. Updating your printer firmware ensures smoother printing, enhances security, keeps compatibility with new operating systems, and unlocks new features that may not have been available on previous firmware versions. 

Don’t waste time manually connecting Chromebooks to your printers.

Admins assigned to a large fleet of printers with different makes and models simply don’t have the time to manually connect printers to their Chromebooks. Even if you successfully complete the daunting task of manually connecting all your Chromebooks with your printers, you’ll likely still be running infinite circles to ensure your users can always print. 

Some older printers don’t have the internet capability to connect manually via an internet connection. If you have a lot of older printers in your fleet, you could find yourself connecting Chromebooks using a USB cable. This old-school process significantly reduces end user mobility and wastes more of your valuable time. 

Don’t limit user mobility.

It’s easy to throw in the towel and ask your end users to connect to the printer via USB to print. Although it’s a great security measure, it’s not the best in educational settings or professional environments. Students moving from classroom to classroom need to be able to print on the fly. The same goes for hybrid work environments where users move from office to office. 

Any time a user is on your company network, they should be able to print to the nearest printer on the local network. Connecting via USB or limiting a group of users to a specific printer decreases productivity and doesn’t allow you to fully utilize other printers in your environment or equally disperse print job traffic.

Don’t sacrifice security.

It’s common to see admins manage Chromebook print queues using print servers. While they may be effective in terms of management, they pose too much of a risk in today’s print environments. Print spooler vulnerabilities like PrintNightmare turned routine printer installations and driver deployments into full-on marathons so users could print. 

Not to mention, there are situations where end users may use their Chromebooks to print to their home office printers, which aren’t always on a secure network. Printing to unsecured printers not only puts personal information at risk but puts the company’s critical data at risk as well. 

So how do you get the most out of Chromebook printing in your environment without overspending on compatible printers, wasting time on manual updates, and sacrificing security? 

Chromebook Printing for Enterprises and SMBs

Take all the uncertainty out of Chromebook printing with the PrinterLogic Chrome OS Extension. Get broad printer compatibility with driverless printing technology and access your printers’ advanced features on-the-fly to get the best possible output on every print job. The 100% device-agnostic Extension quickly pulls the printers’ settings and configures them for Chromebook users.

No more IT intervention necessary!

Better yet, no internet connection or a cloud-based service is needed to make printing work. 

 

FAQs

What printers work with Chromebooks?

While you’ll see various articles recommending Chromebook-compatible printers, we don’t recommend that as your first step. We’ve built a Chrome extension for Chromebook printing that bypasses the need to purchase new printers just so they “work with Chromebooks”. 

 

How do you print from a Chromebook?

By using our Chrome extension, of course. But if you’re not using that, there are quick steps to print from your Chromebook. Simply hit CTRL + P, select your Destination and preferred Printer. Click Print. Again, the challenge is some available printers may not be compatible with your Chromebook so try out our extension if you have trouble. 

 

Why can’t my Chromebook connect to my printer?

The most common issue is your devices are not connected to the same network. If that’s not the case, consider rebooting the devices involved: printers, Wifi, your Chromebook, etc.

 

Start getting the most out of your Chromebook print environment and provide your end users with the flexibility they need to print on the go. 

Get a free 30-day trial of our Chrome OS Extension today!

5 Ways Print Management Can Save Your School Money

Budget cuts, underfunding, and rising costs are constant challenges for America’s public schools. Because the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is growing 13.5% faster than public education budgets, the education funding gap is only worsening.

Certainly, it’s a complex problem with no clear-cut solutions. But there’s one simple way schools can save money and reduce costs: by making the switch to serverless printing. It’s a move that can save public schools thousands of dollars annually, allowing them to reduce waste and put precious funds toward more important causes.

Wondering how it’s possible? Let’s discuss five ways smarter print management helps schools save big.

1. Reduce Costs by Eliminating Print Servers

Print servers are a massive drain on public school budgets. The hardware alone can cost schools $2,000 to $5,000 per server. That cost doesn’t account for the money spent on continuous maintenance nor the time spent on manual updating for fixes and security patches. Print servers are also highly susceptible to security vulnerabilities and the physical theft of sensitive documents. Even worse, they create a single point of failure for printing. If one server crashes, it limits everyone in the school from continuing to print until the issue is resolved.

Serverless printing resolves these pain points by ditching the costly legacy architecture in favor of a streamlined, secure direct IP print environment. Serverless printing reduces the attack surface, keeps data secure, and puts thousands of dollars back into the school’s budget.

2. Leverage Quota Management to Reduce Print Jobs

Traditional print environments make it extremely difficult to control printing costs. The average American uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year, and without print quotas, teachers and administrators are likely to print whatever they want with little oversight.

In contrast, serverless printing allows schools to restrict print usage to a sensible amount. It forces staff to take a more thoughtful approach to printing activities and act more responsibly, rather than sporadically. Print quotas can be assigned by modes, too, so users limit costly activities such as color printing or collated printing. Quota management is simple and intuitive, allowing administrators to create custom settings quickly and easily.

Print quotas save schools money, and they also help schools become more sustainable and eco-friendly — without making huge changes to internal processes.

3. Avoid Security Breaches with Secure Release/Pull Printing

Unmanaged print servers create massive amounts of waste. In fact, 70% of all office waste comes from paper, and up to 30% of all print jobs are never picked up from the printer. Not only is all that waste bad for the environment, it also creates a serious security risk.

Serverless print management eliminates the security issue by utilizing secure release/pull printing. With this added security layer, users send their print job and the job is held in the print queue until the user arrives to authenticate it at the printer. This approach greatly enhances security and increases the confidentiality of sensitive documents. It also reduces print waste and saves schools more money.

4. Minimize the Need for Costly Printing Materials

When public schools implement print features like quota management and secure release printing, staff members are more judicious with their printing. They think twice before they print personal or unnecessary documents, causing the total number of print jobs to shrink significantly. 

Since the average organization spends $1,200 annually in print materials per employee, this reduction equates to big savings. Schools that print less can also buy fewer print materials, including costly ink and toner. These cost reductions make a big impact over time, giving schools the freedom to use funds for more important aspects of education.

5. Reduce Help Desk Tickets and Reliance on IT

IT costs can be another major drain on public schools’ budgets. IT support isn’t cheap, and as much as 50% of all help desk tickets are printer-related. Print servers also make it difficult for IT professionals to gain visibility and insight into printing activity, making it tough for them to identify areas for cost reduction.

Serverless printers help mitigate this problem by reducing the number of print jobs. By doing so, there is also a lower need for IT staff. Cloud-based solutions also provide greater visibility and insights that empower IT staff to do their job quickly and efficiently, so schools can spend less on IT support and more on direct education needs.

Switch to Serverless Printing and Save Now

Print servers are a burden on public school budgets, staff members, and IT professionals alike. They’re costly, inefficient, clunky, and lack the oversight needed for schools with limited budgets. So, when schools are seeking simple ways to reduce costs and save money, we always recommend eliminating print servers as the first step.

Modern print management solutions make it easy for schools with limited budgets to increase efficiency, collaboration, visibility, and more. They reduce the number of print jobs and help desk tickets related to printing while also making schools more efficient, sustainable, and secure.

If your school is ready to make the switch to serverless printing, get in touch with Vasion today. We’d love to help you discover many benefits that come with the future of print management.

How to Eliminate Your School District’s Print Servers

Did you know that the national gross domestic product (GDP) is growing 13.5% faster than public education budgets? It’s one of many reasons schools face continued funding shortages. As budget cuts continue, K-12 schools are desperate to find ways to make more efficient use of their resources. One of the top ways to save money for years to come is to eliminate print servers in your school district. 

Print servers are clunky, expensive, and difficult to maintain. They’re also a headache for IT teams, which means schools have to add and pay additional IT staff members. As more K-12 schools move away from print servers, both teachers and students are finding benefits far beyond improved finances, such as improved data security, faster printing time, and easier scalability. To help your school district move from print servers to a centralized, serverless print management system, here are the three easy steps you need to take. 

  

 

Deploy Chrome OS Client Extension to Chromebooks or Users From Google Admin Console

The PrinterLogic ChromeOS Client extension enables your ChromeOS workstation to communicate with your instance of PrinterLogic. The client installed on your ChromeOS Device communicates with PrinterLogic on a regular basis. To help eliminate print servers in your school district, start by deploying the ChromeOS Client Extension to Chromebooks or specific Google Chrome users from the Google Admin console. The Chrome extension allows users to easily migrate from Google Cloud Print. From there, you can add printers, change print settings, manage printers, see the print queue, view the release portal, and refresh configurations. 

Integration with Chrome is becoming more important than ever. Chromebooks have become an essential part of school culture, with more than 50 million students and teachers using Chromebooks every day. Moving away from print servers wouldn’t be complete without involving Chromebooks. As more school districts upgrade to centralized, serverless print management systems, they’re enjoying the benefit of easier and faster printing—including from tablets and Chromebooks. Chromebook cloud printing is a quick, simple way for students and teachers to print from anywhere in the school. 

 

 

Manage Printers and Deployment Settings in the PrinterLogic Admin Console 

Once you have the Chrome extension installed, the next step is to manage printers and deployment settings in the PrinterLogic Admin Console. PrinterLogic is flexible and offers a variety of settings, so you can tailor the settings to the needs of your individual school or district. With the PrinterLogic Admin Console, you can manage users, devices, drivers, and more all from one centralized location.

Your printing quotas require careful consideration. Serverless print management software allows admins to easily establish printing quotas, which can be different for teachers, students, and other faculty positions. Quotas prevent people from printing in excess and using paper unnecessarily. Sometimes overprinting is a genuine mistake, like when a teacher meant to print a single page but accidentally printed a whole chapter. Other times, overprinting is the result of carelessness. Either way, print quotas prevent the waste of paper, ink, and electricity. Print quotas can also help manage wear and tear on the physical printers and indicate when parts may need to be replaced. 

The settings also have another use: information. The data that serverless printing software gathers from print jobs offers important insights into who is using paper and when. With that data, school admins can make strategic decisions to adjust quotas, better understand teachers’ and students’ needs, and better allocate resources. The data can show trends over time, by demographic, and by location so schools know exactly how resources are used. By moving away from print servers, IT teams gain full visibility into all user scan activity within the Admin Console. That visibility helps IT teams manage security, improve workflows, track cost-savings, protect budgets, and even inform future purchases, such as buying additional scanners for staff. 

Skip the Server and Print Directly to the Network Printers

After completing the first two steps, you’re free to send print jobs directly to network printers from your ChromeOS device. PrinterLogic is OS-agnostic, so you can print from nearly any device. 

Because the print jobs go directly to network printers instead of to a server, the printing time is faster. Students and teachers will be able to retrieve their print jobs before the bell rings. 

The district IT team will breathe a sigh of relief with network printers, too, because there are no more drivers to install, no more print queue problems, and fewer clunky hardware issues to fix. Without print servers, your school also has a lower risk of data breaches, which your IT team will be happy about. 

Print management solutions and cloudless servers mean your IT team can focus on more meaningful initiatives. According to TechnologyLab, some of the top priorities for forward-looking IT teams in K-12 schools are:

  • Implementing AI-driven adaptive learning platforms to cater to individual student needs.
  • Using AI-powered analytics to assess student performance and tailor teaching strategies accordingly.
  • Integrating virtual assistants and chatbots to enhance student support services.

 

When IT teams don’t have to spend their time fixing outdated print servers, those are the priorities they can invest their efforts in. IT teams can shift their focus to implementing cutting-edge solutions that offer students more opportunities to learn. 

To learn more about how PrinterLogic solution can help your school district move from time- and money-draining print servers to fast, centralized print management networks, schedule a free demo with us today.

Supercharge Your Output Management With Confirmed Delivery: Your Questions Answered

Has this happened to you? You sent a print job to a printer and walked across the office just to be met with an empty tray with no indication of what went wrong. Output Management’s newest solution, Confirmed Delivery, can prevent the frustrating walkback. Using widely supported printer commands, we can get confirmation from the printer itself that direct IP print jobs were successful, preventing the troubleshooting headache.


Why Confirmed Delivery?

Confirmed Delivery gives you real-time status updates of your direct IP print jobs from the printer itself. This gives you better insight into what’s happening with your print jobs without getting up and checking the printer manually. In addition to being notified about any problems the printer has while completing the job, Confirmed Delivery also makes job status reporting with ERPs (like SAP) and print stats with PrinterLogic much more accurate. 

You probably have additional questions, and we’ve got answers. Let’s dive in. 


How do I receive print job status updates?

Many modern printers support the command language, Print Job Language (PJL) developed by HP. Output Management today uses PJL commands to communicate job parameters such as Copies, Paper Tray, and Duplex to the printer. 

When the Output Management Service Client sends a direct IP print job to a printer with Confirmed Delivery enabled, it sends PJL USTATUS headers to the printer. These headers request the printer to reply to the Output Management Service Client with various updates about the job as they happen. These updates include printer status, tray status, printed pages, running out of paper, job cancellation, and print success. 

Output Management will then wait a configurable amount of time for a response from the printer. If you don’t receive a response within that window of time, it could be due to a couple of reasons:

  1. A printer issue that requires user intervention (i.e. the printer ran out of paper). In this case, you’re given a configurable window of time to fix the printer’s issue so the job may automatically resume.
  2. PJL USTATUS is not supported on your printer. In this case, the print job is treated as a regular Output Management job. You’ll receive the standard confirmation that the printer received the job. 


How does this benefit me?

Seamless print redirection

With more accurate job failure reporting, if the printer reports a job failure, that trigger can hook directly into Rules & Routing for quick job redirection to another printer. This helps ensure that business-critical printing isn’t stopped by one printer mishap.

Accurate print stats

If a job is canceled or fails part way through, the printer can report how many pages it has already printed. This greatly improves the accuracy of your print stats, especially if your past-canceled jobs would have otherwise been marked as complete successes.

Better print debugging

With trace or debug level logging enabled on the Output Management Service Client, you can get useful information from your printer about how it’s handling a given job and see the exact response from the printer in the logs.


Now, how do I enable it?

At the time of writing, Confirmed Delivery is enabled similarly to Off-Network Printing.

There are three components to enabling confirmed delivery:

  1. The global toggle that enables the feature
  2. The behavior that printers follow by default
  3. The printer-specific behavior

Confirmed Delivery can be turned on and off at any point at the global level (within the Admin Console). This keeps you in control of your job’s progress and ignores all other settings. By default, every printer follows the global behavior of having Confirmed Delivery enabled or disabled. This is useful when creating new printers and controlling which printers already use Confirmed Delivery.

Additionally, each printer can optionally override the default behavior and use its specific Confirmed Delivery behavior. For example, you could have Confirmed Delivery set to disabled by default but enable it for a specific printer.

The first two components are global settings inside of PrinterLogic. Once logged in, navigate to Tools > Settings > General > Confirmed Delivery. The printer-specific settings are located on the printer’s Port tab.

 


Where can I find out more?

With Output Management Confirmed Delivery, you can rest easy knowing that your output makes it where it needs to be, in the format it needs to be in, and when it needs to be there. Most importantly, you won’t have to walk over to an empty printer tray. If you have additional questions, refer to our FAQ

Schedule a demo today and let’s have a conversation about improving your output processes.

Printing Management Software: Do You Need It?

Originally published July 5, 2023. 

According to printing giant Xerox, 61% of organizations have experienced data losses due to unsecure printing practices. Internal document theft is up. The financial damage caused by data breaches is getting harder to swallow. And companies are taking note.  

These are staggering threats from something as simple as printing a document. The good news is that secure printing solutions can protect your organization, as well as offer some cost-saving benefits.  

So, what are secure printing solutions, and why do you need them? 


What is secure printing?

Secure printing is the process of releasing a print job at a designated printer using one of several authentication methods. Documents are held in a queue until the user is physically present at the printer. Authentication methods vary—from entering an employee PIN to scanning an ID badge or using a mobile application—and can be released only when the user is physically at the printer. 

Secure printing is slightly different than pull printing. Pull printing allows jobs to be released at any pull printing-enabled network printer. Regardless, secure printing and pull printing offer an additional layer of security that protects confidential documents. However, secure printing solutions provide benefits that extend to the remote workforce and help future-proof your print environment. 


How can secure printing solutions benefit you?

1. They help you reduce legacy infrastructure.

Secure printing solutions aren’t exactly “secure” if you can’t reduce legacy infrastructure. In this case, we’re talking about print servers. 

After the PrintNightmare fiasco in 2021, it became clear that print servers needed to be wiped from the picture. Secure printing solutions remove print servers from the equation and don’t hold print jobs in a spooler queue. Instead, print jobs are held at the workstation or the printer and remain on the local network until a user is ready to release it.

In addition to increased security, eliminating legacy infrastructure can save a lot of money. Up-front cost is a common concern when replacing entire systems, but some executives don’t realize that legacy printers require high amounts of electricity and frequently need repairs. Secure printing solutions allow teams to get rid of the expensive, clunky legacy equipment and offer more energy-efficient and long-lasting printing options. 


2. They allow remote workers to print securely.

Remote workers need a way to print securely without having to resort to printing on an unmanaged, off-network home printer. Secure printing solutions can give contractors, remote workers, and roaming employees the ability to print to an in-network printer while working on an outside network. 

This functionality enables out-of-office end users to print freely and release documents at the office at their convenience, putting a stop to using home office printers (which are a huge security liability and impossible for admins to track). Even with remote employees working all around the globe, secure printing also offers visibility.

Furthermore, secure off-network printing capabilities offer employees a flexible way to deliver confidential documents to someone in the office instead of sending personal or customer information to them via email.  


3. They adhere to Zero Trust standards.

Secure printing is a crucial aspect of complying with Zero Trust standards, meaning that anyone who wants to print must provide verification. The additional layer of security keeps confidential information in the hands of those who printed it. That level of authentication is a step in the right direction, but to be considered a Zero Trust-caliber secure printing solution, it also has to integrate with the identity providers (IdPs) used in your environment. 

IdPs provide your company with a double layer of security that end users must go through before they can print. IdPs also restrict users to the necessary applications they need to do their job. Adding secure printing functionality on top of that dramatically reduces the risk of identity and document theft, helping you achieve Zero Trust Printing

 

4. They give users mobile printing capabilities.

Secure printing capabilities can extend to your end users’ mobile devices. If you’re managing a BYOD environment, leveraging phones, tablets, and laptops to print securely is a great way to cut down on costs and boost productivity simultaneously. Users can send print jobs to a designated printer on the company network and release them later without having to hop on specific company computers just to print a few documents.  

However, there’s a caveat to this one. 

Not all secure printing solutions offer 100% compatibility with all printer models and operating systems (this one does). So, make sure to choose a solution that checks all the boxes for the devices and printers in your environment. 

 

5. They future-proof your business.

Theft isn’t going away. But it’s possible to mitigate it. 

Secure printing solutions set you up for success and reduce the chances of information being exploited for personal gain or a competitive advantage. They’re able to meet the demands of a hybrid workforce and offer a consistent end-user experience that doesn’t hamper productivity. They enable printing from an array of mobile devices and are built around maintaining compliance throughout all industries. 

Even better, they take pressure off IT.

With a more modern and free IT team paired with the ability to work with remote and hybrid employees, secure printing solutions pave the way for you to thrive now and in the future. 


Secure Printing Solutions on a Single Platform

One problem with most of the secure printing products on the market is that they require a print server, which means that if your print server goes down, everything ceases to work. 

PrinterLogic eliminates your print servers and removes the single point of failure while providing a centrally managed direct IP printing platform. On top of that, PrinterLogic is 100% device- and OS-agnostic and integrates with all major IdPs. 

PrinterLogic’s version of secure printing, Secure Release Printing, holds print jobs on the user’s workstation and empowers users to release print jobs using one of the following methods:

  • Smartphone App/QR Code
  • Control Panel
  • Web Browser
  • Badge reader

Plus, get access to additional secure printing features like Off-Network Printing, Mobile App Release, and Concurrent IdP Support to extend the security reach of your print environment. 


See firsthand how PrinterLogic leverages secure printing features in the cloud and gives you the protection you need in today’s print environments.
Schedule a demo and see how PrinterLogic can change your printing today.