FOR NEARLY 50 YEARS, PRINTRONIX HAS BEEN ADDRESSING GLOBAL CUSTOMER NEEDS FOR MISSION-CRITICAL INDUSTRIAL PRINTING.
US-based Printronix’s purpose is to be a trusted global leader for highly reliable, innovative printing products, solutions, and services to support and improve business-critical applications in industrial environments.
Printronix manufactures a line of heavy-duty impact printers, used across the globe in automotive, retail, food & beverage, pharma distribution, transportation & logistics enterprises, government services and utilities.
“Printronix is a global provider of industrial print solutions, with a direct market presence in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle-East, Africa, China, South-East Asia, Korea, Taiwan and India,” says CEO Werner Heid, explaining that the company’s solutions are designed for mission-critical applications, especially in harsh environments.
Key applications include just-in-time build sheets for production (automotive) and documentation for the last mile (from palette configuration to the truck) in the warehouse environment.
“For example, we have customers all over the world in the pharmaceutical distribution, supplying pharmacies, hospitals and retirement homes. They have short delivery windows and if the paperwork is not ready, the truck cannot leave the warehouse. The whole process is supported by our equipment and if stopped, the entire operation stops. That’s what mission-critical means in our context.”
TAILORED TO CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS
The quality, reliability and robustness of the equipment provided make Printronix stand out in the marketplace, says Mr Heid. “We have a long-standing tenure with leading F500 global customers, with an average customer tenure of 24 years.”
“How have we achieved this? We offer the most reliable printer solutions & service to guarantee maximum product uptime, in line with our brand slogan ‘When Reliability Counts’. We also provide best-in-class lifetime total cost of ownership – our impact printing technology has the lowest total cost of ownership in the entire printing industries.”
“And, last but not least, we have the ability to adapt to customer-specific needs and can provide highly customised solutions. We are very close to our top-end users; we have a very good understanding of their document management needs within their factories or within their warehouses, and we are willing to adapt the equipment to fit better into their production or warehouse application processes.”
Mr Heid admits that continuing to provide reliability and consistency at every touch point of the company in uncertain times when inflation threatens demand, Covid-19 remains an issue, global conflicts hinder supplies and material price pressure increases present a significant challenge, but ones that Printronix has been managing well.
“We have sound relation-ships not only with our customers but also with our suppliers. We are flexible, trying to accommodate their needs and willing to optimise our purchasing practices towards our suppliers’ manufacturing processes although this means carrying higher levels of materials. Any crisis highlights the true value of partnerships.”
As in any industry, environ-mental protection is a key topic in the printing business. Mr Heid affirms that Printronix’s high-performance impact printing solutions are based on a technology which is very sustainable and environmentally friendly in terms of product life and low power consumption.
“Although it is impossible to beat certain limiting factors of the technology, you can always improve certain aspects. Our products last a long time. It is a very different story to replace a machine only every 10 years as opposed to every three years. As for new products, we are focusing on equipment with high life cycles of 300,000 to 1,000,000 pages.”
He explains that the company is also launching a new, cloud-based Fleet Care Industrial Print Management System, a cloud IoT tool enabling customers to do analysis and manage their entire print fleet across the globe to achieve maximum uptime for their equipment and uninterrupted performance.
The tool enables usage balancing, an important factor for efficiency optimisation, as well as proactive maintenance and printer health analytics to reduce consumables waste and unneeded service visits. “The system actually enables customers to stretch the equipment life with better service and maintenance. All this has a direct, positive impact on the environment,” he points out.
Printronix operates in an environment where its customers strive for continuous productivity improvements, in order to support continuous supply chain growth without increasing warehouse production space and costs.
“Some of our customers are telling us that post-pandemic, volumes are up as much as 30%. However, in these highly uncertain times, they shy away from major investments in increased physical capacity. Instead, they are looking for ways to accommodate increased demand with improved efficiency from existing assets. These requirements are the primary driver of Printronix’s future growth and development plans.”
He explains that one solution is the use of colour, instead of black and white printing, allowing the customers to increase warehouse material labelling efficiency. Many warehouses have started to adopt colour, as well as use cloud-based print usage data analytics in warehouses and production to increase productivity and/or reduce human error.
“End-users deploy different industrial print technologies and brands, which have different duty and maintenance cycles, different usage patterns and inconsistent service levels, which makes managing industrial print fleets time-consuming and costly.”
“Our customers desire to simplify their operations by engaging vendors and solutions which provide a broad, brand- & technology-agnostic solutions covering. Our FleetCare solution will be able to satisfy this demand and help them increase productivity with the equipment they already have from different manufacturers.”
MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE FUTURE
Mr Heid affirms that the company is in growth mode. In October 2021, Printronix was acquired by Acacia Research Corporation, a publicly traded corporation that acquires undervalued businesses with a primary focus on mature technology, life sciences, industrial and certain financial services segments, and pursues opportunities for value creation.
The new owner is excited to support Printronix’s growth initiatives, including enabling M&A as an additional tool for growth. “In 2022 we started Year One of a three-year growth strategy, evolving Printronix from the leading impact printing solution provider to the leading all-industrial print solution provider. As such, we are investing in an expansion of our industrial printer solution portfolio.”
In July Printronix announced the launch of the first two models of an industrial-grade laser printer, and over the next nine months is planning to launch an additional six models to complete the portfolio. “We understand what it takes to make our industrial customers successful, and that knowledge is reflected in the new portfolio of products.”
The FleetCare Fleet Management system is also going to be launched shortly, and the company is ready to expand its existing multi-vendor service offering to enable consistent service management regardless of brand and technology.
“Our objective is to become the leading industrial print solution provider for all our customers’ industrial printing needs. Initially, the focus will be on the Americas and EMEA, which will be followed by expansion into key Asian markets,” concludes Mr Heid.