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May 7, 2021

Zebra Printing: Strengths and Opportunities for an Industry Leader

Anyone working in manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, retail, or hospitality has likely heard of Zebra. This is a testament to the technology company’s widespread ecosystem of custom enterprise solutions. However, all organizations, even the best industry leaders, have areas that need to be reassessed or changed. This article will outline Zebra’s strengths and discuss opportunities for improvement. 

Strengths 

Zebra’s extensive lineup of products is big factor in what makes this company so impressive. The company offer multiple solutions for almost all industriesand each product is loaded with a substantial list of functions  

Looking at printers alone, Zebra offers 29 models spanning different printing types like desktop, industrial, mobile, card and badge, and print engines. Zebra Print DNA software is another major strength. It allows remote management to simplify printing setup, maintenance, and troubleshooting. It can emulate other printing languages. It also expands printer visibility with real-time sensing and analyzing and connects to the cloud. 

DataCapture DNA simplifies the scanning game, too. It allows users to scan multiple barcodes with a single trigger pull, have faster, farther, smarter scanning, and pair scanners with mobile devices in one step. These features, plus real-time productivity metrics, multi-code data formatting, and more, shed light on why Zebra says their scanners go beyond the barcode.” 

Opportunities 

Some common user issues addressed in Zebra’s Quick Troubleshooting Guide include trouble calibrating the printer for desired media/ribbon, seeing error messages while trying to activate a software license, confusion on how to install new drivers for printing/adjust print quality/change configuration in settings, and other common issues users face when learning the interface. The fact that Zebra has taken the time to address these common issues in the troubleshooting guide  demonstrates how much they care about their users, but it could be a great opportunity to focus on simplifying the user experience, so these issues don’t occur in the first place.  

Label print quality has also been problematic at times. Some Zebra users have had to deal with their labels printing out too light or faded, having partially missing print, broken bars or lines in barcodes, poor or low barcode ANSI grade, white lines in the print, or streaks in the print. Solid black bars being printed on labels have also been an issue due to damaged or incompatible print drivers.  

There have also been label size/orientation issues depending on what operating system users have. There have been problems with label sizes printing smaller than they are supposed to be on Mac. This could be because paper size defaults need to be set, or a CUPS driver needs to be installed since Zebra is not a driver for Mac. On Windows, labels have printed horizontally which means ConnectEasy may need to be uninstalled and reinstalled.  

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Future 

On their website, Zebra states that their mission is to help organizations be more efficient, effective, and empowered. They write, “As the world gets more and more connected, consumers expect faster service and more customization. To satisfy your customers and gain a competitive advantage, enable the front line of your enterprise with business solutions that drive better, faster and smarter performance. Zebra hardware, software, supplies and services empower you to: 

  • Connect your people, assets and data 
  • Gain new operational visibility 
  • Make better business decisions in real time 
  • Speed up work 
  • Improve accuracy 
  • Transform the customer experience

With a plethora of products to choose from, each equipped with a wide range of capabilities and  features that could benefit employees in multiple industries, Zebra is certainly one of the leading  options for consumers with printing and scanning needs. While there is room for improvement and changes that could enhance overall simplicity and satisfaction for users, Zebra has certainly proved to be one of the most innovative and supportive brands in the space.  

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