Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions
www.colorlabelsolutions.com

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Outbound Print On-Demand Tickets/Wristbands

Outbound Software (www.outboundsoftware.com) is a leading provider of web-based reservation, ticketing, and scheduling solutions that handles the diverse departmental needs that span an organization such as museums, zoos, aquariums, ticketed venues, and outdoor recreation.  Whether the focus is on visitor services such as admissions, group sales, education, development, rentals, special events, tours, workshops, or other areas, Outbound Software’s solution is nimble enough to handle the nuances of the services and the disparate needs of an attraction organization.


on-demand-color-wristband




On October 25th and 26th, Marc Jorrens, Co-Founder and President of Outbound Software invited me to participate in their first annual user conference.  At the conference, I had the opportunity to learn more about Outbound and their customers.  Just recently, Outbound decided to integrate the TM-C3400 into their software; and wanted me to demonstrate and talk about print on-demand color tickets and wristbands.


According to Marc, “I saw an opportunity to differentiate our product by enabling customers to print on-demand; and eliminate preprinted tickets.  Since completing the integration, I have found the small Epson printer produces great color tickets that are instant waterfast and very durable.  The pigment-based ink is great”.

on-demand-color-ticket

During the Outbound event, I spoke to customers with 4 different types of requirements for print on-demand color tickets.  First; promote special events.  Many types of attractions have special events; both large and small.  Producing tickets positions the event in the minds of the attendees as “special” enabling the tickets to act as mementos.  Adding images, graphics, logo’s, etc. signify the importance of this special event; creating more value.

Second, honor sponsors.  With print on-demand color tickets, attractions can honor sponsors; making their sponsorship more valuable.  Many non-profit attractions need sponsors to cover portions of the operating costs.  Therefore, these non-profits need to find ways to increase the value of the sponsorships offered.  By using print on-demand tickets with logo’s and recognition, the sponsor gets more value.

Third, change processes.  Print on-demand enables attractions to change selected processes.  During the Outbound event, I spoke to a controller for a military attraction.  This organization uses wristbands to track approximately 240,000 annual paid attendees.  As wristbands act as “currency”, the organization must track the wristbands precisely.  They hold an inventory of several colors of wristbands (different color per day); take inventory at the beginning and end of each day; and reconcile the inventory with the paid attendance.  This process takes a significant amount of time and effort.  By moving to print on-demand wristbands, they now can keep only a small amount of blank inventory that has no value.  When printed at the point of sale, the serialized and barcoded wristbands become the entrance ticket.   Once attached to the attendee, guards can scan the wristbands easily and quickly completing a reconciliation process.

Fourth: replace Boca/thermal ticket printers.  As the leading provider of ticket printers, Boca has been producing basically the same thermal printers for years.  By moving away from monochrome print and the Boca printer language (Friendly Ghost Language or FGL), users have more flexibility with their ticketing systems.  As I heard one attendee say, “Since I need to purchase new printers, why should I purchase technology from the 80’s for ticketing.  I like the idea of having the capability to produce many types of print; and not just black tickets.”

You may find my other posts on print on-demand wristbands of interest:

VARTECH: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/10/banding-vars.html




If you or your customers use tickets or wristbands somewhere in the operation, consider how print on-demand color enables new procedures and promotions; saving attractions money and enabling greater revenues.

Guy Mikel

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

GP-C831


At the end of November, Epson America will ship the GP-C831 pin-fed, inkjet printer.  Given the pending release of this new product, I thought you might find interest in my personal experience in printing with this new device.

Epson first showed this printer at Label Expo in September.  You may remember my post covering Label Expo: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/09/label-expo-1-epson-family.html.  

In addition, Epson America issued a press release covering the demonstration of this printer at the upcoming Pack Expo tradeshow: http://pos.epson.com/ColorWorks/packexpo/?ref=van_packexpo_2012-10-001.  If you are attending, please let me know.  Let’s meet at the show.

To learn more about the specifications of the GP-C831, check out the new Epson America webpage.  http://pos.epson.com/colorworks/C831.aspx.  



As I said earlier, I decided to test this new printer myself.  I installed the driver and loaded the pin-fed media.

gp-c831

These labels were 9.5” wide (including the pin-feed) by 5.5” long (however, the actual length was 5.625” from perforation to perforation).  In the driver, I selected a default setting for what I thought was the correct size:

gp-c831

Then I set the print resolution; at the normal setting using plain media and the quality setting.

gp-c831



 After confirming the driver configuration, I printed from Adobe:

gp-c831

And the first labels looked great.

gp-c831

Then I decided to print 10 at once; where I learned that I needed to have the exact size from perforation to perforation.  With the difference in the driver setting from the actual size, the labels became misaligned.  Once I realized that I needed a custom label size, I went into the driver and set up a new page size; 9.5” x 5.63”.  When I printed 10, all worked of the labels looked perfectly.

gp-c831

In fact, I printed 10, 8” x 5.5” die-cut labels at the normal setting in 28 seconds.  Seemed pretty fast to me!

After printing the smaller labels, I decided to test larger labels; 9.5” x 11”.  So I changed the page size of the driver;

gp-c831

And printed.  In fact, I printed 10, 8” x 11” die-cut, poly labels at the normal setting in 45 seconds.  Again; pretty good!  And the labels looked great!

gp-c831

And here is a video of the printer running.



These labels should work perfectly to meet the GHS requirements.  You may have seen my earlier posts covering the Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS):







In addition, the GP-C831 may work for other types of applications; including reports, shipping documents, signs; where end users want to add color, but at a significant less cost than using color laser printers.

If you or your customers need labels wider than 4.4”, consider the GP-C831.  Contact me now to discuss how this printer will fit your application requirements.





Sunday, October 14, 2012

Banding VAR's

This past week, I attended BlueStar’s (http://us.bluestarinc.comannual tradeshow, VARTECH. BlueStar is a leading global distributor of solutions-based ADC, Mobility, Point-of-Sale, RFID, Digital Signage, and ID & Security technology. BlueStar works exclusively with Value-Added Resellers (VARS), providing them with complete solutions, business development and marketing support. 

VARTECH 2012 was different than most tradeshows I have attended, as it took place on a cruise ship.  To learn more, check out these articles:  http://vsr.edgl.com/reseller-stories/BlueStar-Cruise-Draws-Hundreds-of-VARs-to-the-High-Seas82615; or http://www.bsminfo.com/doc.mvc/bluestar-makes-trade-show-on-cruise-ship-a-reality-0001.  




As the attendees were a mix of customers and guests, BlueStar needed a means to easily identify these two different groups as the activities were different.  To differentiate the groups, BlueStar decided to print color wristbands.

According to Rodney Shaffer, BlueStar’s Epson Product Manager, “As we printed wristbands for VARTECH last year, we were requested to produce them again for the cruise.  The VARTECH creative team developed the design for a healthcare wristband that we sell, and then I printed the wristbands on Epson’s TM-C3400 color printer. I printed 1,600 attendee and 500 guest wristbands easily and quickly.”   

Print-on-demand-color-wristband

During the cruise, I received many comments about the wristbands as resellers understood the bands were printed with Epson’sTM-C3400.  For example, Peter Wenzel, founder of General Data said, “my wife wore the wristband while using an underwater scooter in saltwater for more than two hours.  When she returned, you could not tell any difference in the colors on the wristband.  I also noticed several people on the bus to the airport going home still wearing the bands after four days!”

In addition, Rodney added, “we had no reports of anyone complaining about the bands irritating their skin.  The bands were very comfortable to wear.”

Personally, I wore the wristbands for 4 days, taking showers, going in the pool and swimming in the ocean.


Between Dips In The Ocean
After all of this water and wear, the band looked the same as when I put on the band.


on-demand-color-wristband

In addition to this event, I have two other posts concerning the use of wristbands printed with the Epson TM-C3400.  Check out these two stories: First Wild River Country:   http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/08/slide-into-on-demand-color-wristbands.html.  And second, Save The Bay: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2011/09/new-solution-on-demand-color-wristbands.html.  

If you or your customers need a means to identify people at events, recommend the TM-C3400 and wristbands.  They work great!

Guy Mikel

Friday, October 5, 2012

Solution Selling

General Data (www.general-data.com) is a team of experts helping companies become more efficient by harnessing the power of labeling, identification, data collection, tracking and service technologies. With General Data, companies are able to maximize their return on investment in systems that reduce errors, streamline workflows, reduce costs, enhance efficiency and productivity, enable better decision-making and increase profitability.

Recently, an internationally known gas detector manufacturing and installation company contacted General Data regarding their Epson TM-C3400.  According to General Data’s Michelle Donnellon, Director of Marketing, “initially the company was just looking for a reputable media and service provider for their printer”.  General Data brought in their local solutions expert, Pennsylvania Territory Manager Paul Belschner, to assist.

According to Paul, “when I first spoke to the company, I learned they had purchased the printer from an online retailer.  They indicated that they wanted to move to on-demand color labels to classify certain products using color during manufacturing and final assembly packaging.  Adding color improved their work processes.”

Paul continues, “Although purchasing a printer online, this company needed the other components of a solution; including labels, ink and most importantly assurance of service.  After some discussions, they decided to purchase labels, ink, warranty service and 3 additional printers.  I’m glad we could provide everything that my now “NEW” customer needed to move to on-demand color labels.”
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To begin using an on-demand color label solution, resellers and/or end users may need to take some or all of the following steps:

·         * Design or Redesign an existing process
·         * Select their software application
·         * Determine the most appropriate hardware
·         * Design/Redesign label formats (or at least test their label formats)
·         * Test/Select the label media
·         * Measure the new process
·         * Establish service or contingency processes

For some companies, this process is simple and easy to do.  For example, Bonanza Press used in-house designers to create new labels that are printed on the production floor using Adobe Reader.  http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2012/01/bonanza-press-www.html.   This solution has enabled them to increase sales.

But for most companies, value added resellers must take the time to sell and deliver the entire on-demand color label solution.  In my work with resellers, I’ve heard that this time requirement costs them money.  Sales representatives of value added resellers may be used to selling “Zebra Printers”; adding very little incremental value.  This type of high volume, low service sales pushes customers to purchase at discounted prices.

To compete effectively, value added resellers like General Data need to sell solutions, including service, media, ink and software; generating more business.  As Martin Grunstein opines in the followings article, “You don’t fight fire with fire, you fight fire with water. Don’t do what your competitor does, do exactly the opposite!  If he or she discounts the price, you reinforce the value added services you provide to show that your offer has more value.”  http://www.martingrunstein.com.au/article13.html

Even better for resellers, on-demand color label solutions help end user customers reduce labor/administration/inventory/labor costs, enable last second design changes, improve processes and even increase sales. 

Although selling or implementing an on-demand color label solution takes time, the payoff is good for both resellers and end users.