The Printer Straight Flush
A VAR saves a casino resort 34% in consumables by installing printers from one manufacturer.
In the casino resort business, the right hand can't know what the left hand is doing. In other words, federal and state governments insist the employees of a hotel associated with a casino cannot access casino information and vice versa. This is possible with sophisticated networking technology, but what do you do if the resort wants its employees to use the same printers across the resort?
Ken Landers, president of LBS Data and Telecommunications Inc. (Eugene, OR), was faced with this challenge when he worked as a consultant for the site evaluations for Quinault Beach Resort and Casino, located on the pacific coast in Ocean Shores, WA. The resort includes a 16,000 square foot casino, four restaurants, and 159 hotel rooms.
In the gaming industry, the state and federal governments monitor money flowing throughout the operation. Certain systems are only accessible by certain people. With everything running on different network platforms, it was challenging to make even a simple thing like printing work without having separate printers for every location. In Quinault Beach Resort, the PMS (property management system) worked on a UNIX network, accounting operated on an NT network, the general services operated on a Novell network, and the Internet access was on NT/2000 - and they all wanted to share the same printers.
"We needed to create an environment that isolated the casino from the hotel, but was supported in one common cable structure that allowed the different departments to use each printer without allowing access to each other's data," Landers said. "This was required to stay in line with the state and federal guidelines."
Save 34% In Consumables With One Manufacturer
The extensive project included surveillance and voice systems, Internet access, POS (point of sale), PMS, and general use computer systems. The hotel and casino had a range of printer needs from invoices to POS receipts. "We had to combine fiber and copper networks and be able to share all print services," Landers said. But it wasn't easy to design. "We needed to integrate voice and data, which allows for the same cable structure to operate all of the equipment, billing, voice data, etc.," he said.
When it came time for Quinault Beach Resort to choose a VAR to complete the project, a deciding factor was the printers themselves. The resort needed printers that could print invoices, POS receipts, and two-sided documents in color and black and white. LBS offered printers from Oki Data Americas, Inc. (Mount Laurel, NJ) that covered all of the resort's needs and kept its cost of ownership to a minimum. "We estimated Quinault Beach Resort would save about 34% in consumables by purchasing Oki Data printers for its entire operation," Landers said. "Staying with one manufacturer also enabled the resort to have one support group to deal with, and the cost of maintenance contracts was reduced." There were several competitors for this job, but they were all pushing combination solutions from various printer manufacturers. "The reason we work with Oki Data is because the cost per page is considerably less than the competition," Landers said. "VARs need to be aware of how much the end user will need to store in consumables because the cost of ownership is always a strong selling point." The cost of the printers alone totaled almost $54,000 for a range of printer models, but the resort only needed to store three different types of consumables because many of the printers used the same replacement toners and paper.
One example of an Oki Data printer that serves multiple functions, and therefore keeps the cost of ownership to a minimum, is the OKIPOS 425. Although these printers were not available at the time of the Quinault Beach Resort implementation, LBS plans to install them in future casino installations. Slip printing, receipt printing, MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) reading, and check validation are among the functions this one printer can handle.
Expert Knowledge A Must
The Quinault Beach Resort project took about one and a half years to complete, and since LBS designed the system with three to five years in mind, it doesn't anticipate any upgrades before then. But since the resort worked with LBS and Oki Data for the majority of the solution, upgrades and maintenance will not be difficult. "End users are tired of dealing with finger pointing when it comes to maintenance. It is very important for a VAR to offer a complete solution," Landers said. "When LBS goes into a possible job, it conducts an analysis of what the end user needs to accomplish each day. I have been in organizations that have six systems running when they could be running off one solution." End users are tired of the runaround of maintenance calls and requests, especially when one problem leads to multiple service calls (and bills) before it gets fixed. "I feel strongly about a VAR learning all aspects of its business so it can become an expert and the only place a customer calls when there's a problem," Landers said.