By Intermec, Inc.
An important part of the value of automating direct store delivery (DSD) operations comes from having the ability to give customers delivery receipts, order forms and invoices on the spot. Printing documentation at the time of the visit helps ensure accuracy, reduces paperwork and clerical labor in the back office, and accelerates the cash cycle. In some countries, it is a legal requirement that DSD companies to provide and maintain a printed record of each transaction. The actual value companies can attain by mobile printing depends on the printer itself. For example, the media used in thermal printers typically costs 45 to 50 percent less than multi-part forms used in dot matrix printers1, and the total cost of ownership (TCO) for ruggedized mobile printers is 58 percent lower than for non-ruggedized models.
Media cost, reliability, ease of use and compatibility with mobile computers and DSD applications give businesses a lot to think about when selecting a printer to support their operations. The decision is also made challenging because there are more technology and product options than ever. For companies that already use mobile printing in their DSD operations, product choices may have changed considerably since the last replacement cycle. Many first generation DSD automations included a vehicle-mounted dot matrix
printer. Today DSD printers can be worn, carried or remain mounted in the vehicle, and thermal print technology is selected for the majority of new and replacement rollouts.
Dot matrix and direct thermal technology account for nearly all the printers used in DSD operations worldwide. This white paper will compare the two technologies and explain how they differ in the areas that are important to direct store delivery operations, including ease of use, reliability, media support and TCO.