NUTS AND BOLTS OF BETTER PERFORMANCE: BOSSARD NORTH AMERICA CHOOSES HONEYWELL FORKLIFT PRINTER
The Bossard Group is a global group of companies, still driven and shaped by members of its founding family, now in its seventh generation. Bossard Holding AG has its headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, and is quoted on the Swiss stock exchange. Bossard has close to 1,400 employees who are engaged in the global procurement and sale of every type of fastening element. The company also provides engineering and logistical services associated with these products. Bossard is among the market leaders in Europe, America and Asia-Pacific.
Bossard North America has established and continues to build a strong presence in the North American market. In 2005, the company opened a new warehousing facility in Cedar Falls, Iowa. By 2010, the success of the facility had started to place strain on its mobile printers, an important part of how the company processes orders. Izudin Dizdarevic, IT manager for Bossard North America, explains the problem the company faced and how the Honeywell MP Compact Mobile printers solved it.
“When we opened up this facility five years ago, we started by using a line of printers we had used in Europe,” begins Dizdarevic. “The way we do business and pick our products requires that we use printers on the forklifts to produce labels as the products are picked.” As time passed, the performance of the inherited printers degraded, and Bossard found it problematic to send them back for repair. According to Dizdarevic, it took three months for the company to get printers returned after sending them out to be fixed. This was unacceptable.
As some of the printers were beyond repair and needed replacement, Bossard North America began to explore new printer options. “I tried multiple devices from different vendors, and nothing worked well,” he says. “Then I got in touch with the local Honeywell dealer, and they talked to me about some new printers that they were developing. Initially they provided a demo printer for us, which wasn’t wireless, but we bought an external wireless bridge and hooked it up and it worked fine. Honeywell told me they were working on a wireless model of the printer. When this became available, we got a couple of demo printers and put them into test.”
The printer Bossard tested was a wireless version of the Honeywell MP Compact Mobile printer, a compact, industrial-strength thermal printer that combines powerful standard features with flexible options (such as the wireless connectivity that Bossard required) to meet a broad range of applications. Dizdarevic has been particularly impressed with the MP Compact Mobile printer’s ruggedness and label-producing productivity. “The problem with other printers was that they were not built to print the high volume that we require,” he explains. Those were also wireless, which Bossard IT set up to print on the forklifts.
“They did everything we needed them to but they couldn’t print the high volume of labels the facility required,” he says. “Their little gears and plastic parts wore out quickly, and we had to send them out for repair constantly. The Honeywell printer, in contrast, meets the production demand and works and works and works.”
At the Cedar Falls warehouse, the MP Compact Mobile printers are mounted on the forklift and connected to the Bossard wireless network. When workers go out to pick orders, they scan a barcode, which gives the location of the product in the warehouse. Then they pick the product and request a certain number of labels. The scanner sends the data to a print server in Switzerland, which creates the label and sends it over the network to the printer.
“These printers are so reliable that the label just comes in and prints out,” says Dizdarevic. “In the past, our printers caused a lot of downtime. Also, sometimes people would not be able to get their labels, so they would go to a stationary printer; then people would often misplace the labels or grab the wrong one. You can imagine the cascade of problems that followed.” With the MP Compact Mobile printer, such problems have disappeared. The Bossard workers who have the new Honeywell printers on their trucks are happy. In contrast to those with the older printers, they don’t have to call IT, which slows or disrupts their work routine. “Every time we see workers with the MP Compact Mobile printers on the floor, they say that it is awesome and that they love it,” says Dizdarevic. “They say, ‘I don’t want to switch my truck,’ as now they can keep busy and productive all day. That’s a huge thing for us in IT, because we were spending lots of time fixing printers. Not so much with the Honeywell solution.”
Based on the overwhelming performance of the demo printers, Bossard North America has placed an order for 26 printers for their Cedar Falls facility. “We want everyone to have those wonderful smiling faces,” concludes Dizdarevic.
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