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SICK controls worldwide printer infrastructure with AKI
SICK is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sensors and sensor solutions for industrial applications. Founded in 1946 by Dr.-Ing. e. h. Erwin Sick and headquartered in Waldkirch im Breisgau near Freiburg, Germany, the company is a technology and market leader with more than 50 subsidiaries and affiliates as well as numerous representatives around the globe.
- Sector Industry
- Task Flexible barcode printing via software, automatic integration of watermarks and high availability of SAP printing
- Top challenge Output management system to control the SAP printing environment, additional functions such as automatically created watermarks on test prints from SAP systems
- Solution PrinTaurus Commander, PrinTaurus for SAP-Systems (incl. high availability), ResQueue, PortMonitor with barcode and watermark solution
- Top benefits Cost savings through software-based barcode integration on all devices, create printers in all SAP systems in just 10 seconds, simple, central administration of the printer landscape
Approximately 700 printers are in use at SICK worldwide. The printing of delivery and consignment notes in the Logistics & Distribution Center from the SAP system is critical for the company. If delays occur here, goods are left behind, and that can be expensive. Huber, IT Operations Infrastructure remembers: “In the past, there was no feedback on the status of print jobs and the decentralised administration of SAP and Windows made a considerable effort. We had hardly any transparency in the print infrastructure and a lot of staff was needed to fix printer malfunctions.”
A professional output management solution was to provide a remedy. “Software-based barcode printing was the main trigger for modernising our print management environment – and thus the central requirement for the new software,” says Huber. In addition, sample prints from SAP were to be automatically watermarked in order to make them recognisable compared to real shipping documents. Comfort functions for SAP printing for easier troubleshooting, high availability as well as a consistently transparent printer infrastructure were also desired.
After looking at the market, there were various suppliers to choose from – SICK decided on AKI. “The personal contact and the good cooperation during the test phase were very positive. In the end, the convincing ease of use of the product and the prospect of integrating the new solution into the existing infrastructure without any problems were also decisive,” explains Huber.
“Today, SAP printing runs like clockwork: secure, reliable, traceable. And we have a huge time saving in troubleshooting; often with AKI we even recognise in advance where problems might arise,” says Huber. The SAP-certified BC-XOM interface of PrinTaurus for ERP systems makes it possible to analyse the print data streams from SAP and execute corresponding workflows based on their identifiers. This way, watermarks are automatically added to printouts from the test systems during operation. In addition, sequences for barcodes can be graphically integrated into the print data stream – also automatically, which means lower costs for hardware, less wear and tear and fewer failures due to repairs. Business-critical documents are printed from the SAP systems worldwide, which is why the HA component of PrinTaurus ensures high availability: If a print server is no longer available, the system automatically switches to an alternative print server.
Drivers and new devices can now be created very quickly as device types in SAP. “Our administrators benefit from this considerably. Previously, every printer in every SAP system had to be set up manually – and we have about 50 such systems. A huge effort,” explains Huber. “Today, we create a new device in just ten seconds and distribute it to the respective SAP systems with just one mouse click,” Ludwig Huber is pleased to say.
“We are very satisfied with AKI: the intuitive usability, qualified feedback into the SAP system, high availability as well as automatic watermarks and barcodes integrated into the print data stream – all this is convincing,” explains Huber. “AKI’s solution really saves us time and money. We only need ten seconds to get a printer operational in all SAP systems. In addition, we save ourselves the expensive purchase of barcode modules for the output devices. The return on investment was achieved very quickly due to the complete integration into the existing structure and the short training periods.”
- Print barcodes with all printers: more flexibility and no expensive purchase of barcode modules
- Highest printing performance and reliability
- Automatic watermarking on printouts from test systems
- Easy administration under SAP – create or change output devices in all SAP systems in just 10 seconds. In the past, this step took 5 minutes
- Administration of the entire heterogeneous printer landscape with only one central application