We have all been told by various groups around the planet that we are in the ‘Now Generation’, be it the way we consume news, information, products, and even food. We, in New Zealand, are possibly the leaders in wanting our stuff now! And if we can’t get it from one place now, we'll get it from somewhere else instead.
So, what do we do with all this stuff we are accumulating? And is it even possible to do all of it then and there? In some cases, the answer is yes.
Take mobile printing, for example. There has been a proliferation of mobile computing devices in the market in the past seven to 10 years, due to the need for information to be collected and/or presented at the point of contact. One such requirement now is to offer completed transactions at the point of contact, for example: invoice data, sales receipts, label information and, my personal pet peeve, infringement notices. These are all available, right there, wherever you are, in an instant.
Mobile printers offer what we call ‘route completion of the information cycle’.
Take this scenario as an example: Mum’s Bakery has 10 trucks delivering freshly baked savouries to 20 different locations in a given area. Mobile computing devices are loaded with delivery information, either batched or transmitted wirelessly with route quantities and contact information. Mr Driver drops off the designated number of savouries at their destination, cross-references the details with Mr Storeowner, and adds or subtracts the items in his inventory depending upon requirement. At this point we can conclude that the transaction can be finalised and Mr Driver offers a proof-of-receipt docket generated on a mobile receipt printer that can be used to book in the stock immediately, negating the need for an invoice to be generated from head office.
This may all seem to be pretty standard stuff really, but we are only scratching the surface. We can certainly gather information faster than we can deliver it, and presenting it in a document at the point of contact will provide us with a better method to move on to deliver more information faster and more efficiently. We talk of KPIs and ROIs, efficiencies and effectiveness, so why stop halfway through the transaction process when we can clearly complete the task and move on to the next? Mobile printing offers your clients the freedom to do just that.
There are many and varied options for your customers to choose from, from 2-inch to 4-inch devices, rugged to aesthetically-pleasing designs. There is Bluetooth, IRDA, 802.11, USB and Serial Comms, so we can connect to almost any mobile host that can provide an output. There are software packages ready to deploy their custom-written applications, offering printing at the point of contact. There are mobile printers for most, if not all, environments.
Whether we choose to provide a total end-to-end solution for our clients now (in line with the Now Generation) or later, it will be only a matter of time before we see these products as a necessity, rather than a nice-to-have item.