Are you making the most of your printing systems? The answer is probably 'no'. There's likely to be a little-used function of your printer, an ink option you haven't explored, a software feature that could make your job easier.
Manufacturers design their printing hardware, software and consumables to deliver versatility, to help print service providers create a better business. Not every design feature will be used by everyone - but they are all worth exploring.
HP PrintOS is a print production operating system built into all modern HP wide format printers including the Latex, DesignJet and Stitch series. As a free-of-charge software, some users may have underestimated its usefulness. Until, that is, early 2020, when its remote monitoring functions made it an essential tool for businesses working within social distancing guidelines.
As a cloud-based system, PrintOS can be accessed anywhere at any time, via the web or the dedicated mobile app. The Print Beat feature makes it possible to track a job on the print room floor with complete visibility, check job completion, add new jobs to the print queue and monitor media and ink usage - all from a remote location. It's an open, secure, cloud-based platform that gives users ultimate flexibility.
For small print businesses, remote accessibility means more control over unattended printing. Users see where and when consumables levels are low, so know if an ink cartridge or roll of material needs replacing before running the printer overnight. Error notifications are sent straight from the printer to users' phones or computers too. There are other functions to help print shops get work done faster, an essential attribute at all times but especially when market demands are turning on a sixpence. The Media Locator, for example, gives quick access to profiles for new media, which can then be saved and backed up in the Configuration Center. This can save many frustrating hours looking for or regenerating new media profiles and settings if something goes wrong.
Via PrintOS, users can visit the HP Applications Center, which includes the WallArt Suite and Signage Suite - vital design toolboxes for web to print businesses - and new templates for signs promoting social distancing. And, when things don't go according to plan, PrintOS is connected to the advice-packed HP Latex Knowledge Center.
For larger PSPs there are many significant added value propositions. From a single dashboard on Print Beat, a production manager can see the status of any number of machines at any number of sites in near real-time, without having to physically be there. At a glance, they can see the proportion of the fleet that is spent printing, optimising, disconnected or suffering an error. They can also see which print jobs are ongoing, which are completed, and using which substrate. The Configuration Center informs the production manager which printers need to be calibrated, which printheads need to be aligned, or if firmware needs updating. The whole system is designed to optimise day-to-day production.
PrintOS has more tricks up its sleeve to help PSPs look to the future. By seeing which machines are working to capacity, businesses can decide when to expand their fleet. Automated reports on consumables usage give business owners and managers the data they need to quote better, negotiate better prices with suppliers and see where cost efficiencies can be made longer term. Data-driven businesses, rather than reactive ones, can plan better to grow better. There are other software packages on the market, but PrintOS offers a great snapshot without having to make further, typically expensive, investments.
Crucially, HP PrintOS also improves communication across a print business. Every team member can be connected remotely, making it easier to share information and inspiration - essential tools for keeping a business healthy during uncertain times. Furthermore, PrintOS is an invitation to join a virtual global community of HP customers, where users can collaborate with partners and colleagues, discover new opportunities for diversification, share strategies for profit growth and business success, and fuel creativity.
At present, 26,000 users across 11,000 organisations operating 20,000 HP devices are using HP PrintOS. In the current business climate HP PrintOS is proving itself as a highly effective tool to simplify and optimise socially distanced remote printing, but also to keep businesses working together even when they are apart.
For more information, please visit the HP PrintOS website
Authored by Bruce Van Greunen, Technical Consultant LF Production at HP Inc.