OKI expanding beyond office walls, aiming products at service sectors

Trying to expand beyond the four walls of the office, printer maker OKI Data Americas Inc. released a slew of 28 printers on June 13, aiming many of their products at businesses in sectors like healthcare and retail.

OKI officially presented its new product line at First Look 2013 in New Jersey on June 4, showcasing printers designed for point-of-sale and label-making.

The move to serving retail, healthcare and other businesses with receipts and labels is largely because OKI is trying to reach mid-level clients, says Mario Pallotta, Canadian general manager at OKI.

“Mid-level is the most profitable space. What some manufacturers have done is get into the big box stores. That’s something that’s totally unprofitable,” he says, adding there’s just too much competition there to maintain a healthy business.

Instead, OKI’s plans to switch its target market and to try to be a one-stop shop for sectors outside of the office is a sign of a new strategy.

As part of its new lineup, OKI announced a new printer, the RT322SK, is OKI’s first MAXStick certified printer. It supports MAXStick’s brand of liner-free thermal labels, which can be moved around as needed and can stick to almost any surface without leaving residue behind. Geared towards businesses that need point-of-sale applications, like those in retail, this printer is also aimed at businesses in healthcare, hospitality and quick-service restaurants. Other clients include real estate firms and governments who might need to label files and documents.

(Image: OKI Data Americas - RT322 printer)
(Image: OKI Data Americas – RT322 printer)

The RT322SK is also touted as using newer features like 2D barcode printing. That’s helpful when businesses need to embed more data into their labels for functions like coupon printing, delivery order tickets and return receipts. For example, the RT322SK could print QR codes, something that requires more data-reading ability than a printer that only produces regular barcodes. The RT322SK prints in two colours, comes with a two-year warranty and was available in North America on May 7. Its listed price is about $450.

Aside from the RT322SK, OKI also announced the LD630 and LD640 series, although they reached North America on May 30. Considered versatile cost-effective, these printers are built to print barcode labels and tags. They also come with a two-year warranty, something that might appeal to mid-market businesses in sectors like manufacturing, retail, and healthcare. OKI envisions it as an option for distribution centres, receiving departments, or wherever goods need to be tracked accurately. The LD630 starts at roughly $425 and the LD640 starts at about $470.

The company also introduced thermal transfer label and tag printers for industrial printing, another mark of OKI’s increasing shift outside the cubicle and into warehouses and other places where printers can be used. The LE840 and LE850 series printers are touted as being ready out of the box, meaning staff won’t need much training to use them.

For industrial purposes, they’re also extremely durable, built with a steel body inside a steel cabinet. They also come with a two-year warranty and will be available within North America on June 28. As a bonus, all of the LD360, LD640, LE840 and LE850 series fit neatly onto desktops in confined spaces. Pricing for the LE840 starts at about $1,050 and the LE850 at around $1,330.

What’s important for businesses in these sectors is that they can customize printers to suit their needs and their verticals, Pallotta says.

“In the past, if [a business] needed something like a copier or MFP device, they usually had to go out and purchase something [that] they really probably didn’t need everything it can do, but they needed it,” he says. “Now what we’ve done is made [this type of printer] affordable.”

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Candice So
Candice Sohttp://www.itbusiness.ca
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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