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In today’s highly competitive business world, mobile solutions that include advanced mobile printing technologies are becoming increasingly critical. While paperless workflows definitely have their place in field service; many businesses rely on mobile printing to facilitate responsive customer service, help meet customer compliance needs efficiently, and improve technician productivity. In many industries, delivering on-demand, on-the-go documents is a critical component of building brands and retaining customers. Brother Mobile Solutions equips businesses with state-of-the-art printing solutions in alignment with the needs of the modern world. The company offers a wide range of mobile printing and mobile and desktop labeling solutions to improve performance and efficiency across multiple sectors including field services, public safety, healthcare, retail, route accounting and delivery, transportation, and industrial warehouse. In a conversation with CIO Applications, David Crist, president of Brother Mobile Solutions, provides a sneak peek into what has helped the company grow rapidly and win over the landscape of field services through their mobile printing solutions.
Could you elaborate on the challenges that you are helping field service companies overcome?
One of the most significant challenges that field service CIOs face today is that they are under increased scrutiny by their shareholders and their customers to provide a continuous improvement journey that is unique. Today, there is a need for almost constant attention and change in field service workflows as customer expectations rise.
In addition to the evolving and more sophisticated demands of field service enterprises, many of our customers are challenged by rapid changes in technology and, in industries such as transportation and warehousing, a broad swath of retiring workforce. We understand that product advancements should support and align with the changing needs of our customer, and we work hard to ensure that their challenges—now, and in the future—are the driving force behind our product development roadmap.
How are your offerings enabling businesses to overcome these barriers?
With new, improved mobile printers such as our RJ4200 Series, we offer significant enhancements in performance, ruggedness, connectivity, battery power, and accessories. The MFi-certified RJ4200 printers raise the baron mobile printer features and functionality. Twenty percent smaller than our previous 4” thermal printer models, they are lightweight and comfortable to use and yet feature reinforced parts and molded rubber housing engineered for improved toughness and drop protection.
There is also a USB-powered docking station, NFC capacity for easy device pairing, and AirPrint technology that allows users to print directly from devices without downloading or installing drivers.
The custom-developed, cloud-based Mobile Deploy device management software app, another market first from Brother—included free with all models—enables simple and secure mobile deployment, integration, and upgrades. Brother’s remote configuration ability allows for faster, less costly implementation by eliminating the need to involve operators. Complete printer updates can be performed via a smart device and internet connection.
Where we distinguish ourselves is in our ability to scope out the nature of the project and assess the customer needs accurately
Some of the most important benefits that our solution offers our clients include:
• Reliability: Brother mobile printing solutions are built to withstand the harsh demands of field service work, both indoors and outdoors.
• Enhanced field efficiency: Our simple-to-use mobile thermal printers do not use inks and toners—delivering fast and reliable printing anywhere, anytime. Advanced Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPrint, and MFi features among several others, alongside compatibility with major operating systems, make on-demand printing simpler than ever.
• Increased customer satisfaction: With the ability to print important documents, labels, and receipts immediately and onsite, field service crews can more rapidly resolve problems and move on to the next job—helping increase the overall productivity.
• Improved accuracy: Using Brother mobile printers and labelers, field crews can create on-demand documents and labels directly from laptops, mobile devices, handhelds, and databases— helping minimize unnecessary delays from handwriting mistakes, transcription, or input errors.
Could you please discuss a case study where you have enabled clients to overcome specific hurdles and attain desired outcomes?
We engaged with a leading pest control company, Rollins, which wanted to equip their technicians with iPhones to send and receive data, work orders, instructions, customer histories, route changes, plus more, in real time. As a result, the company sought an iOS compatible thermal printer that could quickly print full-size 8.5x11” documents. Brother was the only company in the space that could print in that format. Rollins collaborated with our R&D team to configure the Pocket Jet mobile printer that addressed several requirements—from software compatibility to performance demands, which included ensuring the printers could withstand the heat and cold extremes involved in frequent outdoor use. The collaboration also enabled Rollins to design a rugged yet streamlined printer carrying case with a de-curling feature and see-through window for checking status.
Rollins chose a 36-month warranty on the printers, and the devices only needed to be serviced for changes in the operating system rather than hardware issues. That speaks volumes about the printers’ durability and reliability, considering the severe wear and tear they are subjected to daily.
The high productivity of Rollins’ technicians because of this mobile technology is a strong validation of the solution’s success.
What gives Brother Mobile Solutions an upper hand over the existing players in the market?
Where we distinguish ourselves is in our ability to scope out the nature of a project that usually entails a significant amount of workflow re-engineering, assess the customer needs accurately, and effectively solve the problem. Unlike businesses in this market that merely offer a one-size-fits-all product and end the relationship when the product ships, we remain deeply involved with our clients throughout the implementation journey, making sure that we support them at all times—and learn a lot ourselves along the way.
As a subsidiary of Brother International, which has been in the technology landscape for over 110 years, we have the infrastructure of a large company that is energized by the entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, flexibility, and nimbleness of a small company. Our customers appreciate that, and the advantage has enabled us to catch up to or stay ahead of market competition.
What is the envisioned roadmap for your company?
Geographically, we are helping other Brother subsidiaries around the world to reach and engage field service customers and partners, collaborating with companies in India, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and others.
From the technology perspective, our focus is to enhance existing platforms while building a new set of next-generation products. We are also moving toward what we call purpose-built products, which is a response to the customer-specific application requirements we are seeing, as opposed to providing them with a generic product—all the more reason for us to be acutely aware of how quickly the field service landscape is changing.